Running 12.04 with VirtualBox and I set it for 128MB of RAM. I cannot use more than 128MB of RAM.

Since the browsers I know like Firefox, Google Chrome and Chromium seem to eat more RAM, could somebody suggest me browsers which consumes low RAM?

  • Thats going to be painful...
    – TheXed
    Oct 4 '12 at 12:49
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    Why do you only have 128 MB of RAM for that virtual machine? Do you have lots of them in parallel? Oct 4 '12 at 12:56
  • @queueoverflow yes i have 3
    – rɑːdʒɑ
    Oct 4 '12 at 13:16
  • Would it be less painful to remote from your VMs to your main system and access a full featured browser there; or would the remoting software be too resource intensive as well? Oct 4 '12 at 13:29
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    I thought that the minimal installation did not affect the final size of the installation, but only the installation CD. Ubuntu is not designed for such low RAM; even Lubuntu is too heavy for your RAM. So, I strongly recommend that you choose a distro that is designed for just 128Mb RAM. Examples would include Bodhi, which is based on Ubuntu, and Puppy. This does not specifically answer your question, but is something to seriously consider. Oct 9 '12 at 9:23

what i know and close to what you want is midori , midori is a web browser that aims to be lightweight and fast.. go to ubuntu software center type midori and install it.

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  • Midori , ok how much RAM it can take ???
    – rɑːdʒɑ
    Oct 4 '12 at 12:39
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    @August "How much RAM will it use" questions like that are unrealistic to answer beyond "oh, a few MB." It depends on how much you're doing in the software, what websites you go to, what plugins you need to run, etc. The best way to know is to try it, which is not hard.
    – Phil
    Oct 4 '12 at 14:19
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    Midori isn't really significantly smaller than other browsers like Firefox or Chrome. Any browser that can successfully render modern pages is going to use huge amounts of memory on them. Oct 4 '12 at 15:56
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    @BrendanLong It might not be significantly smaller. But the point is that one can use Midori to fit within 128 MiB if not too many pages are loaded simultaneously. Loading one page in firefox already exceeds 128 MiB and the system starts to swap; and that's what makes the difference. Not 120 MiB or 130 MiB, but swapping or not. From my experience: Firefox is unusable on 128 MiB, Midori definitely is.
    – Marco
    Oct 8 '12 at 10:27
  • I've tested Midori and Firefox on Ubuntu 12.10 with the same 8 tabs open (Wikipedia, Streak.com, Google Finance etc.) and Firefox consumed less RAM (293MB) than Midori (310MB). On the other hand, as @Marco said, Midori itself takes only 15MB to start (no web page open). Dec 30 '12 at 7:28

Text based web browser!

Definitely text based web browsers have limitations but running a more capable GUI web browser will also have limitations.

The main plus for a text based browser is that it will give you good speed/productivity in loading pages, scrolling pages, etc. The main minus for text based browser is you can't see images and many advanced websites won't display properly (or at all).

Here's some quick information about text based web browsers:

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    yeah lynx and elinks
    – rɑːdʒɑ
    Oct 4 '12 at 13:45
  • Text based browsing provides indeed the lowest memory consumption that you you'll be able to get. But you can't test layouting and other graphical stuff with those. It all depends on what's the actual usecase.
    – cauon
    Oct 4 '12 at 13:53
  • If you wanna visit any pages with ssl though, make sure to compile lynx with the --with-ssl option. If I recall correctly that should be ./configure --with-ssl
    – Bob
    Oct 4 '12 at 21:37
  • Text based browsers are great as a secondary browser. But many pages simply don't work (which is often due to bugs in the pages). Depending on what pages you are browsing it might work, but often it is impossible to access the content. So in practice text browsers are of limited use as primary browser.
    – Marco
    Oct 8 '12 at 10:33
  • @Marco, I agree with your statement and that is why I prominently highlighted this fact in my answer: "The main minus for text based browser is you can't see images and many advanced websites won't display properly (or at all)". Oct 8 '12 at 14:23

There's yet another great option. Opera. Get that and turn on what it calls "Turbo boost". What this setting does is reduce the size of webpages from %30-%80 (hence load times and memory consumption) by processing reduced quality images that are slightly blurrier. You can also turn on an additional setting called "Load plugins only on demand" which is another setting that greatly reduces memory consumption by not running plugins on pages like Youtube except on your terms (you click a play button to allow it when you're ready).

If you're having trouble finding these options then google them. Opera has its own 'user's manual' kind of page explaining its settings and options and where to find them.

  • Wanted to mention Opera is a web browser just so you know what you're looking for.
    – Mitchell
    Oct 11 '12 at 2:42

If midori still needs to much memory, you may test dillo.

  • could you provide me simple information RAM consumption ?
    – rɑːdʒɑ
    Oct 4 '12 at 14:16
  • Should be under 20MB (uses 6MB with the standard page shown after installation). Dillo is graphical but does not fully support html4
    – FSMaxB
    Oct 4 '12 at 15:37
  • Oh ok ,currently moving with Links2
    – rɑːdʒɑ
    Oct 4 '12 at 15:38

Assuming you're interested on a graphical browser, you can try the Dillo browser, which is available on the dillo package (screenshots).

I don't think it supports JavaScript or plug-ins, I think it supports CSS and HTML 4 which should be fine for simple websites.


You might be interested in Links2. It is available in ubuntu and has as ow a footprint as possible. You really should check out the man-page before using it. Especially important is the flag -g, if you forget to add it when starting up, it will start in textmode.

Is it a bit too much hardcore and not standards compliant enough? Try netsurf-gtk.

Are you a vi-fanatic, and/or like fidgeting around in source and/or configs, check out surf, uzbl and dwb (no specific ordering).

And if you grew tired of those, you are able to open up an terminal and issue the command apt-cache showpkg www-browser and look under "Reverse Provides:" which will show all browsers in the repositories.


It makes very little difference which browser you use. They all need to display the same websites, and handle multiple tabs and caching, and the "bigger" browsers are also the most heavily optimized.

My recommendation:

  • Pick a browser you like (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.)
  • Make sure you're on the newest version
  • Don't install any addons
  • If you find the browser is running slowly, try one of the other major browsers

A good browser to try first is definitely Firefox, since it's heavily optimized for this case, and the newest versions are pretty impressive. I don't recommend minor browsers like Midori since they tend to be less optimized and buggier.

You have to keep in mind that some websites just aren't going to work well on that amount of memory, no matter which browser you use. Things like Facebook, Google+, Google Reader, etc. are all entire applications running in a very high level language, but again -- newer major browsers have more heavily optimized JavaScript engines.


I suggest checking out K-Meleon. It's designed to run with little memory.


Might try K-Meleon? Apparently it only needs 32MB of RAM, might be a bit slow though. Don't know how the latest release fairs.


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