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The typical mainstream website: Surveillance, Crap, and HTML
The typical mainstream website: Surveillance, Crap, and HTML

Install Librewolf or Ungoogled-Chromium if you need a big browser and you just wanna watch YouTube and Netflix.
Install webbrowser or palememe (note: only install PaleMoon if you use Windows or macOS, and be sure to mitigate it before use) if you want something in the middle.
Links, Netsurf and Kristall for minimalists.
Write your websites in XHTML without JavaScript and use static generation instead of CMSs. And/or use Gemini and Gopher (there's also Spartan).

       Long Version       

The WWW is fraught with all sorts of spooky stuff. Betwixt JavaScript and all its perils, DRM (Digital Right Management, managing your rights to make sure you don't have to many™!), and HTML5 it makes for a mix of complicated stuff. Here's a good XMPP discussion regarding the subject. Let's try and break it down.

A chef developer pouring too much JavaScript on his website salad.
A chef developer pouring too much JavaScript on his website salad.

First off, what should you look for in a browser?
You should seek minimalism to where the browser you use has a few features beyond what you use. If you use Facebook and then you probably need something really big, that's managed by a corporation so it can keep up with the constant moving standard[1]. Or maybe you try to stay away from that stuff, you use pipe-viewer for youtube, you don't even have a facebook, and you try to avoid javascript requiring websites wherever possible. If that's the case, it's more a question of how much of that you need. Do you need full CSS support? Do you even need JavaScript at all? You can definetly go with a smaller browser, the only question is how small. The other thing you should look for is if it has nanonymity-enforcing or helping abilities. This can come in the form of extension support (most of the major browsers have these, but they don't always matter if the browser is just phoning home anyway) for extensions such as uMatrix. Or in a more minimal way, an (ad)blocklist, totally disabling JavaScript, and GreaseMonkey scripts. Most major browsers plus the UXP based ones would fall into both categories, whereas smaller operations such as Falkon or NetSurf might be more in the latter camp.

YouTube is known for restricting and censoring access to videos.
YouTube is known for restricting and censoring access to videos.

But what's so bad about JavaScript anyway? Well it can spy on you[2] for one, and the only way to know is to read the scripts yourselves (impractical) or watch the packet flow everytime you visit an untrusted site (also impractical). It makes webpages harder to access, it implements features that smaller browsers can't hope to keep up with, and it contributes to the unnecessary obsoleting of older computers. You shouldn't need the latest computer with 16gbs of RAM to read, talk, check email (you should be doing that with a client anyway), read the news, check the weather, or talk to your friends (for VOIP Mumble and SIP such as Linphone is recommended).

Okay so JavaScript is bad, what do you do about it? Disable it by default, and only enable it when you really need to. Try to use websites that do not require it, or find other ways of using a service if possible. Such as using ATMs or phone/SIP rather than online banking. Maybe go to a store instead of buying online. Use a weather radio, and curl[zip code here], instead of or WunderMap. There's also other protocols out there such as Gemini and Gopher that allow a more minimal approach to content distribution, as well as plenty of server-side web applications that aren't total cancer (MediaGoblin, GNUSocial, Mastodon, cgit, stagit-xhtml, asmbb, and picochan, just to name a few).

The simple fact is the entire web has become bloated and centralized way past what it was initially intended to be. Soydev web developers, instead of writing static pages, have increasingly chosen to write dynamic JavaScript-laden ones (often using bloated frameworks as well) that put the processing burden on the client (aka your browser & computer). To make matters worse, these aren't standards set by some non-biased and experienced consumer group, it's set by a group of corporations[3] comprising the WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group). Of course, they, with their corporate money, can implement this nonsensical stuff, but an independent developer or two have no hope.

Firefox vs Chrome, two sides of the same WHATWG/HTML5 coin.  Firefox is controlled opposition funded by Google.
Firefox vs Chrome, two sides of the same WHATWG/HTML5 coin. Firefox is controlled opposition funded by Google.
The ideal web is a simple bike, traversing through its nice surroundings.  The actual web is a tank traversing a war zone.
The ideal web is a simple bike, traversing through its nice surroundings. The actual web is a tank traversing a war zone.
Soydevs are taught by others to design things this way.
Soydevs are taught by others to design things this way.
Don't use JavaScript frameworks.
Don't use JavaScript frameworks.

One particularly large source of the aforementioned bloat is Cloudflare (aka Crimeflare), the MITM (Man In The Middle) that "protects" (controls) 19.1%[4] of all websites. Cloudflare (and other DDOS "protection" systems) often block users using Tor or with lesser used or no UA (user agent). This makes Cloudflare et al a single point of failure both in terms of availability and privacy. It is strongly suggested you contact your provider for DDOS protection or simply setup a capable firewall with timeouts.

It should also be noted that out of the big 5 web browsers (Google Chrome, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge) 4 of them are either based on Google's Chromium engine (Edge[5], Opera, and of course Chrome) or are funded by Google (Mozilla)[6][7]. This leaves Safari as the odd one out, but that doesn't make it any better considering the walled garden, information silo, PRISM member[8] and spyware lover that CrApple is. Even if Safari was good (it isn't), it only supports macOS[9].

The web then, versus the web now.
The web then, versus the web now.
Cloudflare, judging your traffic.
Cloudflare, judging your traffic.

The concept of browser fingerprinting, which is often used as an excuse to use a corporate browser in stock configuration, is largely a lost cause and therefore can not practically be taken into consideration when choosing a browser. The argument for fingerprinting is that by using an obscure or lesser-used browser with unusual capabilities (ie has uMatrix, uBlock installed, or is using Netsurf), your fingerprint becomes unique and therefore easy to track. This becomes less of a good thing to base your decision off of when you consider what it would take to make yourself un-fingerprintable (an unachievable misnomer), and how that would make your overall privacy, security and anonymity worse than if you had just used a far more basic browser, devoid of vulnerable features.

The perils of JavaScript, telemetry, corporate (also government) collusion, using your bare IP address, and unsafe networks are far bigger issues. To get rid of these things requires a comparatively unique setup. No, you cannot achieve privacy, security and anonymity by using stock Chrome or just "switching to Firefox", the amount of data harvested from doing so alone is more than enough of a fingerprint. Even the lauded Tor Browser offers 3 "security" settings, which allows the user to decrease the amount of elements (bloat) or poorly implemented website features the browser can load.[10] The "safest" setting disables JavaScript and several other things, due to it being the source of vulnerabilities. Despite that it may worsen fingerprinting, the decrease in attack surface is that important.

It is possible to change the UserAgent in most if not all browsers, which reports the browser engine type, operating system and versions among other things, which can reduce (or worsen) fingerprinting (and can in some cases, depending on which UA is used, bypass Cloudflare's captchas and the like) if changed to a more common one, at the expense of contributing to perceived browser and OS market homogeneity. Some browsers, such as Werefox, do not set a UA for most websites as they believe UAs are for debugging and have been misused for fingerprinting. Fingerprinting is mainly an issue due to the majority of users only using what are essentially 3 browsers.

Okay, so all that sounds terrible. What do we do about it? From the user's perspective: Use a browser not based on Chromium or (Google funded) Firefox. Use (good) alternative websites and protocols (more on that in other articles).
If you ever make a website, do it properly (I suggest you read the Open Letter to Webmasters)! Make it in XHTML, which is like HTML but stricter, has more broad compliance, wasn't made up by corporations, and is overall just better. Also don't use any JavaScript at all (you don't need it). If you need a CMS ("Content Management System") just use a static site generator if the site is too much to handle with manual XHTML. There's tools for this like cat-v's Werc, ikiwiki, zs, HSC, NAMAC which powers this very wiki, or any of the many others of static site generators/markdowns that exist. You can also use CGI ("Common Gateway Interface") if you absolutely need dynamic content, libraries for CGI exist in a plethora of programming languages. Don't use WordPress, and you probably don't need Drupal, Plone or any of these others. If all this sounds too complicated, consider hiring a competent web developer, and telling them what you want.

  1. 1. Commits on whatwg/html - GitHub, ?
  2. 2. The JavaScript Trap by Richard Stallman -, ?
  3. 3. WHATWG - FAQ - What is the WHATWG?, ?
  4. 4. Usage Statistics and Market Share of Cloudflare - w3techs, current
  5. 5. Download the new Microsoft Edge based on Chromium, ?
  6. 6. Why Google Continues to Fund Firefox - Wired, 12/27/2011
  7. 7. Mozilla and Google renew Firefox search agreement - The Verge, 8/15/2020
  8. 8. NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others - The Guardian, by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, 6/7/2013
  9. 9. Apple apparently kills Windows PC support in Safari 6.0, 7/25/2012
  10. 10. SECURITY SETTINGS - Tor Browser Manual, ? http://dsbqrprgkqqifztta6h3w7i2htjhnq7d3qkh3c7gvc35e66rrcv66did.onion/security-settings/index.html

       The Table of Browsers       

Name Spyware Rating Offered Toolkits (Where applicable) Based on Operating System
Abaco Not Rated plan9
Arora Not Rated
Atlas Nyxt Not Rated WebKit, Chromium Mac, Linux, BSD
BadWolf Not Spyware WebKit Linux, BSD
Basilisk Not Rated UXP
Brave High Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux
Dissenter High Brave & Chromium
Dooble Not Rated Chromium Mac, Linux
Edge Not Rated, known to be bad EdgeHTML (Legacy), Chromium (since 2019) Windows, Mac, Linux
EndorphinBrowser Not Rated
Eolie Not Rated WebKit Linux
Falkon Probably not Spyware qtwebengine Windows, Linux, Haiku
Fiber Unreleased
Fifth Not Rated FLTK WebKit Linux
GNOME Web Not Rated WebKit Linux
GNU IceCat Not Spyware Firefox Linux, Android
Google Chrome EXTREMELY HIGH Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Internet Explorer EXTREMELY HIGH Windows
Iridium Low Chromium
K-Melon Not Rated Gecko Windows
K-Melon G Not Rated Goanna Windows
Kristall Not Rated Windows, Linux, BSD
Lariza Not Rated WebKit "POSIX-ish"
Librewolf Low Firefox Linux, Mac
Luakit Not Spyware WebKit Windows (WSL), BSD, Linux
Lynx Not Spyware fork of libwww Windows, Mac, Linux, VMS, DOS386+, OS/2 EMX
Midori Not Rated WebKit (historical), Electron (current)
Minbrowser Not Rated
Floodgap Mosanic-CK Not Rated Motif NCSA Mosaic Linux, Mac
Mozilla Firefox High Netscape Navigator Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS
Netsurf Low GTK3, GTK2, Framebuffer N/A Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, Solaris, Haiku/BeOS, AmigaOS, 9front, Atari TOS, RISC OS
Opera EXTREMELY HIGH Presto (historical), Chromium (current)
Opera Gaming
Orbit Navigator Goanna
Otter Browser Not Spyware qtwebkit
Pale Moon Medium forked from Firefox, UXP Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
Paprika Not Rated
Pocket Browser Not Rated
Qutebrowser Not Spyware qtwebengine
Suckless Surf Not Spyware WebKit2/GTK3
SeaMonkey High Netscape Navigator Windows, Mac, Linux
SecBrowser Deprecated.
Sphere Browser Possible Spyware ?
SRWare Iron EXTREMELY HIGH Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
Superbird Not Rated Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux
Taokaizen Not Rated Chromium Windows, Linux
Tobin Borealis Not Rated UXP
Tor Browser Low Firefox Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, Android, iOS
Trinity Konqueror Not Rated KHTML Linux, BSD
Twibright Links Not Rated N/A Windows, Linux, BSD, DOS, OS/2, VMS,
Ungoogled Chromium Not Spyware Chromium (with patch sets from Iridium & Bromite) Windows, Mac, Linux
Uzbl Unmaintained
Viper Not Rated QT5 QtWebEngine/Chromium Linux, probably Windows and Mac
Vivaldi High Chromium Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
Waterfox Classic High fork of Firefox Windows, Mac, Linux
Waterfox G3 Not Rated fork of Firefox
Webbrowser/WereFox Not Spyware GTK2 Fork of Palemoon Linux, BSD
WebDiscover EXTREMELY HIGH Windows
w3m Not Rated Itself
Xombrero Unmaintained
Yandex Not Rated Chromium Linux, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

       Browser Notes       


One of the few browsers available for plan9. Supposedly very limited.


A WebKit based browser that died, came back, and then died again. Apparently it was forked into EndorphinBrowser.

Atlas Nyxt

A browser that tries new things interface wise, going for an emacs-esqe sort of thing it seems like.


A simple WebKit based browser using GTK. Has enable/disable buttons for JavaScript and Images. Doesn't work well with extremely bloated sites (ie Lowes or Home Depot), but can sometimes work where Librewolf does not.


UXP based, looks like a slightly older version of Firefox. By the Palemoon people. There is a de-branded version called Serpent on the AUR.


Yet another Chromium browser that's still spywareistic. So bad they will pay you to use the it. Has it's own crypto currency, and "shield" thing that's supposed to protect you from trackers. Outclassed by eMatrix, uBlock Origin. Read digdeeper.


An indie browser, with a focus on being multi-platform and having a small footprint.
There is a DilloNG repository where development appears to be slow rather than non-existant.
If you have the money, perhaps consider donating to their project.


A Brave (Chromium) based browser by Gab, which is a social media site and "alternative" to Twitter that uses the Mastodon code base (a story in and of itself), but does not federate and blocks darknets and forces you to use JS and bloated web browsers to signup. Includes the Dissenter comment section, allowing you to post comments on any web page, but only if you use their software. Is, of course, spyware. I suggest choosing real, decentralized alternatives, not falling for fake centralized "alt-tech" memes like Gab and Bitchute.


A fork or continuation or something of the old dooble browser. QT based, so it's Chromium.

Microsoft Edge

It used it's own rendering engine (EdgeHTML, a pared down version of IE[11]), before switching to Chromium[5]. Replaced IE as a browser used by people on Windows to install other browsers. Edge Legacy will be 'uninstalled' by April 2021[12].
  1. 11. What's powering Spartan? Internet Explorer, of course, 1/23/2015
  2. 12. Microsoft details its legacy Edge browser phase-out strategy, 2/5/2021


Fork of Arora.


Looks a lot like GNOME Web. Uses the same engine, but is written in Python. Unclear what other differences there are.


Doesn't accept extensions from any other browser, but has it's own adblocker, GreaseMonkey and the like. Used to be called QupZilla and use QtWebKit.


An obscure experimental KDE browser for which no source or release has ever been given[13]. Apparently it was either directly or indirectly based on Chromium[14]. The project was put on hold in November 2015[15].


Untested. Claims to be able to "Override anything, from CSS to JS to cookies".


Used to be, and sometimes still also called Epiphany. Could be called "Safari, Linux edition". It's a WebKit based browser by the GNOME people.

GNU IceCat

Attacks the JavaScript trap by using an extension called LibreJS, which is more concerned about licensing it seems like (though it can also replace scripts similiar to uBlock), as well as another assortment of free software-focused alternatives like SearXes, a third party request blocker. Onion Button, to enable tor networking. "Reveal hidden HTML", unhides hidden HTML, also, has a tool that fixes some websites with broken form validation Javascript by forcing an HTTP post. And HTTPS Everywhere, which forces HTTPS over HTTP. These can of course be removed or replaced with other extensions and while outside of the normal uMatrix+uBlock Orgin+Decentraleyes setup, these can also be added to GNU Icecat to complete the suite. Previously called IceWeasel.

Google Chrome

Also known as "Noodle Dome", it is the most widly used browser in existence. A spyware platform, not a single a person in their right mind & aware of the facts should be using it.

Internet Explorer

Often used to install a different browser, IE was once the most dominant browser. It was deprecated by Edge. Hey, at least they bothered to make their own engine for it, unlike now, where everything is a Chrome ripoff. IE was also once the default browser on early versions of Mac OS-X. It was also once available on Unix.


Another UXP-based browser (Basilisk). A spiritual successor to the original Iceweasel, which was a de-branding of FF. Related to the Hyperbola project.


Use Ungoogled-Chromium instead.
Better than Chromium, worse than Ungoogled-Chromium. UGC incorporates it's patches along with others, and is rated at a lower spyware level. I don't know of a good reason to use this browser.


An M$ Windows-only Firefox fork. Possibly dead? Archive link to the site.

K-Melon G

Goanna version of K-Melon.


Kristall is a Gemini, Gopher and HTTP client. No JabbaScript, wasm or even CSS support. Pretty minimalist. It appears to be completely unable to read XHTML (however there are patches for this which or may not have been merged upstream).


Yet another WebKit browser using GTK3.


Could be called UnMozilla'd Firefox. Like UGC, it tries to patch out all of the spyware and bad things in FF. Just like UGC, this is an uphill battle, and depends on Mozilla. I applaud their efforts.


WebKit, Vim keys, and Lua.


A very minimal TUI/terminal browser. Also a Gopher client.


A browser that used to be kinda cool but then got bought out and decided to be a meta-web app by using electron[16].


Ooooh it's "smarter" and says stuff like "Protect your privacy", it's "Open Source" heehoohoo hahaha "Min is written entirely with CSS and JavaScript using Electron" HA. FYI Electron is based on Chromium. It's web app: the browser. How many times has "Chromium" been mentioned in this entire page?

Floodgap Mosaic-CK

Based on one of the first web browsers ever, updated to run on modern systems.

Mozilla Firefox

Controlled opposition. Mozilla is pro-censorship. It is spyware. Read digdeeper.


The small amount of spyware can be easily mitigated [Tor/Onion] [I2P/Eepsite], however it could seriously do with a built-in way to change the search engine.
It's an actually independent browser, that uses it's own layout engine. Makes web browsing very fast and minimal, though it lacks support for many things, which in a way is a good thing. However, it's so minimal it can't even display this page properly. I've heard JavaScript on it is best left disabled.
If you have the money, maybe consider donating to Netsurf.


Used to use it's own in-house Presto engine, before being bought out by a Chinese company and then switching to Google's Chromium. Spyware. Definitely one of the worst browsers you could possibly choose.

There are patches (called OpenOpera) for the old Presto engine, licensing around this is unclear.

Opera Gaming


Orbit Navigator

A fork/rebranding of Male Poon, which itself was a fork of PaleMoon. Unclear if this is a serious project or not.


Do you want all the UI of of old Opera, with all the Chromium dependence of modern Opera? Well I have just the browser for you!!


Aka Palememe. Use Webbrowser/Werefox instead unless you are on Windows/Mac. Website, forums and addons page block Tor! They really need an onion and eep address!! Read digdeeper.


Some sort of recipe and grocery list manager that also includes a browser. It's in this list as more of a joke.

Pocket Browser

? I guess it's based on Chromium?


Designed for people who like Vim-keys. Based on qtwebengine (Chromium), and written in Python.

Suckless Surf

A WebKit based browser (think Safari) by the Suckless project.


A lesser known blink/chromium based browser. Has potential, but currently not much is known about it.


Possibly the most anti-Unix Philosophy browser in existence other than Vivaldi, it's not just a web browser, but also an email client, an IRC client, an editor, and an RSS reader. But still based on the Mozilla stuff, it's the closest you can get in the modern day to the original Netscape Navigator. That said, it's spyware plain and simple, just like it's more popular and equally mentally disturbed cousin, Firefox.


Was based on Tor Browser (Firefox). Now it's dying. RIP. TBH though there is WAY TO MANY FF and Chrome based browsers. If you gotta have your Firefox, look at Librewolf.


More Chromium, with spyware?? Just what I wanted!

Sphere Browser

. . .

SRWare Iron

S p y w a r e


More Chromium. Yawn.


"Advanced Chromium". Yet another Chromium based browser.


? "The hotdog web browser". According to the description, it uses it's own layout & rendering engine.

Tobin Borealis

Currently vaporware. Somehow based on UXP and SeaMonkey at the same time. Binary Outcast is some sort of organization by the notoriously maniacal Tobin, who was a former developer and forum moderator for the Palememe ("Palemoon") project, and grand wizard dragon or something for his "New Tobin Paradigm" self-love cult. I defer to digdeeper for a list of all the silly problems with palememe.

Tor Browser

The recommended way of browsing Tor (Tor is just a proxy and can be used from almost any browser). The idea is that everyone will have the same fingerprint. Like Firefox, very bloated.

Trinity Konqueror

Used to be by KDE, but Trinity forked all of KDE3 and continued it. Can create archives of pages (?).
Note: their site is HTTP-only. Archive version: A minimalist browser which I hear very good things about.


Probably the best Chromium based browser. UGC tries to disable all of the spyware inherent in Chromium using a mix of patches from Bromite, Iridium and others. However, this is an inherently up hill battle as changes to Chromium's very large code base continue. As digdeeper says, it doesn't "fully free you from Google's chains".

If you are using Windows (you shouldn't be if you really care about nanonymity), you can set UGC in the chrlauncher config for easier updating (if you are on Windows and are using UGC you should get chrlauncher). Note: it requires administrator mode to actually update.

If you want to access the Google Chrome Store (for extensions and whatnot) you can install an extension.


A webkit based browser that is apparently unmaintained. Reminds me of Suckless Surf in it's description.


A very bloated proprietary browser that is claimed to be "what Opera should have been", as it run by the a team of former Opera employees.[17] However it is based on Chromium, not on the old Presto engine that Opera also switched away from in favor of Chromium.

Waterfox Classic

Not to be confused with Waterfox-G3. And interesting concept that promises privacy but ultimately falls flat.

Waterfox G3

Not to be confused with Waterfox Classic.


Also sometimes called "werefox". An actually good browser that was forked from palememe, and removes silly "features" such as their stupid branding®™, the favorites page (which contained spyware), removes the UA by default, removes any automatic connections, and removes support for the spyware operating systems known as macOS and Windows. Supports XUL extensions (such as those in the palememe store), also legacy Firefox addons.


I guess it's big shtick is having a browser bar at the top of the desktop?


A minimalist (TUI) web browser that is often also used as a library to give web or image related support within an application (ie Ranger).


Digdeeper said this:

digdeeper: >xombrero has been retired and is no longer under development and supported.
digdeeper: xombrero had big potential
digdeeper: it was the ONLY browser out there caring about security / privacy BY DEFAULT
digdeeper: and then it died


Yandex's (which is akin to Google in Russia) web browser. Appears to be geared towards increasing Yandex's share of the browser search engine market.

       The Table of Mobile Browsers       

Bromite and Tor Browser Mobile seem like the best/least spyware.
Bromite Not Rated Chromium Android

       Browser Notes       


Some of the patches are used in UGC. Android only. Supposed to remove the bad Google stuff.


The supposedly spyware-free IceCatMobile (which is maintained by other people?) Since the official IceCat doesn't state that it supports mobile nor having Android binaries: has a lot of unwanted connections to Amazon (AWS and Cloudfront addresses), Mozilla, Google, etc. Also see:

So far even with all the adjustments in "about:configs" I still got a connection to "".


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