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  • Alternative browser recommendations

    Home Forums AskWoody support Questions: Browsers and desktop software Other browsers Alternative browser recommendations

    This topic contains 21 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Elly 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    • #1323745 Reply

      anonymous

      This colossal *faux pas* by Firefox with their add-ons being disabled going on 3 days now has me ready to dump them for good.  Problem is I do not want to use Chrome, IE or Edge. And not a big fan of Opera now that it is Chinese-owned. Any recommendations for a solid browser with good security? I would like to be able to use NoScript or uBlock Origin/uBlock Matrix to block ads and scripts if possible. Thanks.

      Edit: Please refer to lounge rules pertaining to acceptable language

    • #1325023 Reply

      b
      AskWoody Plus

      Edge Dev: How to give the new Microsoft Edge a test run—and why you should

      It’s fast and stable; I’ve used it for weeks without any issues.

      Others switching from Firefox have been impressed.

      Knuckle dragger Cannon fodder Chump Daft glutton Idiot Crazy/Ignorant Toxic drinker Blockhead Unwashed mass Seeker/Sucker "Ancient/Obsolete" (Group ASAP) Win10 v.1909

    • #1325374 Reply

      deuce120
      AskWoody Plus

      If you like Firefox, try Waterfox. Built on the same platform without some of the junk Mozilla adds in. You can also use the same add-ons that you use in Firefox, come from the same familiar site.

      • #1325743 Reply

        Microfix
        Da Boss

        Waterfox also has a portable edition for Win7 onwards available in 32/64 bit which is very handy on a USB stick. 😉

         

        ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

    • #1332499 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

      I always worry that a “fork” of a major browser will never have the resources to keep security bugs patched in a fast, efficient manner.

      So I throw in the towel on privacy issues, in favor of the  presumed security of the major flagships… 🙂

      • #1333715 Reply

        Speccy
        AskWoody Lounger

        One well maintained, well supported and security-focused “fork” you might wish to consider as a rather decent alternative to the “main” Firefox version is Comodo’s IceDragon:
        https://www.comodo.com/home/browsers-toolbars/icedragon-browser.php

        The current version (v64.0.4.15) is a custom-build “fork” of Firefox 64.0.2 with specific, additional enhancements (that, for the most part, are optional and may be left enabled or turned off, depending on your privacy concerns) such as SiteInspector and the Secure DNS Service.

        Chrome users might also resort to Comodo Dragon (based upon Chromium) as a “forked” alternative to the “main” version, when “colossal blunders” happen.

      • #1341451 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        The fork devs don’t have to fix security issues themselves.  The fixes Mozilla provides are open-source too, so all they need to do is apply them.  Backporting the security fixes is a lot less work than having to fix it all from scratch!  Linux distros regularly maintain older versions of various programs than whatever the current version is, keeping them updated with backported fixes.  One example would be the Linux kernel version 4.15, which is already EOL as far as the main kernel team is concerned.  Ubuntu will still be maintaining it until 2023, though.

        It is still a concern that a small project might simply disappear one day if the developer decides to quit (though it can be picked up by someone else, since it’s open source, though they may end up changing the name).  This can also happen to larger projects that fall into disarray when the leader quits, and sometimes they just wither away as everyone seems to lose interest at once and it stops getting updates.  Waterfox is still being maintained now, though, as is Pale Moon, so I will cross that bridge if and when I come to it.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1334665 Reply

      MW
      AskWoody Plus

      I have been using Waterfox as my primary browser ever since Firefox 52 ESR went EOL.  I was using it as a secondary browser prior to that.  I have had zero problems with the browser.  I forget I’m not using Firefox until I see the logo.

      If one runs into an issue with a site giving you grief about using an out of date browser, just change the user agent.

      I am using the user agent verbatim from Firefox.  Again, zero problems on the web.

       

       

      W7 & W8.1 - Group W (since April 2017)
      Mac Sierra & Mojave - Group A
      Mint Cinnamon - Group A

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1350889 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Much agreed.  I won’t use Chrome or Firefox proper to get into a site on principle alone… I’ll willingly spend a lot more time trying to get what I want to work than to do what I’m supposed to do. As I’ve said before, if you ask me to do something I would rather not do, I may say yes or I may say no.  If you try to force me to do something I would rather not do, you’ve just guaranteed I will do all in my power to avoid doing whatever it is you’re trying to make me do.

        Useragent sniffing is generally a bad practice (though there are some rare exceptions), and whitelisting a few browsers while denying access to the rest, even though they may well be operating on an up-to-date engine, is a bad practice within the bad practice of sniffing. For the most part, it’s better to detect features and to serve up the site accordingly, rather than having specific versions for  specific browsers, which necessarily limits the browsers that are allowed to a handful.  If there’s a particularly dangerous bug that affects specific versions of a browser, it may be advisable to blacklist the afflicted browser versions, but otherwise, the web devs/banks should lay off the useragent sniffing and treat their users/customers like adults.

        Chase bank was one of the worst offenders.  I’m not sure if they are or not anymore, but at one point, they even went as far as to specify (on the “access denied” landing page) which operating systems one was allowed to use to access their site– and Linux was not among them.  Do they think that Linux users are more likely to be affected by malware than Windows or MacOS? I believe I’d require a citation on that if the answer was “yes!”

        I don’t know if Chase ever denied access to somone using an otherwise supported browser just for not having “Windows” or “Mac” in their useragent string, but I do know they denied Waterfox access once it got its own useragent (which was how I got to see the “access denied” landing page in the first place).  When Waterfox used the Firefox useragent by default, it worked just fine, as you’d expect, given that it is functionally Firefox from the end the bank sees.

        Waterfox users can still do that now, of course.  It’s a simple matter to reset the useragent string to a Firefox string, though the Waterfox dev has been trying to find a string that will allow Waterfox to be counted while still working with sites that are restrictive in that way.  It can be done with the about:config prefs (in general or for specific sites), but you can also use an addon to make it easier.  You can “be” anything you want, including an iPhone or the Google spider.

        I’ve used “iPhone” before (years ago) to get the HTML5 versions of videos when sites insisted that I had to install Flash.  Refusing to serve up the HTML5 version that they do have, and that works fine for me, because Flash exists for my platform, is just ridiculous.  Humorously, such sites often used a canned message telling me that my technology may be out of date when it failed to start the Flash applet.  Are they sure it’s my tech that is out of date?

        Bank of America is better… it warns that a browser is not supported, but it doesn’t block access.  Seems like someone there understands what “support” actually means, and that it’s not a synonym for “allow.”

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1335821 Reply

      satrow
      AskWoody MVP

      I’ve been using Pale Moon for around 10 years now, stable (40+ days uptime’s not impossible) and lightweight (eg. currently 60+ tabs open at less than 1GB on x86), fast enough for my needs.

      Secondary is Basilisk from the same stable.

      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1343332 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Hmm, that’s an amazingly low memory usage by what I’m used to.

        I use Waterfox, but with my particular set of addons, it uses a lot of RAM (and it is quite possible that my addons are responsible for some of that).  On my desktop PC and my Dell G3, I have 16GB installed, so it’s not a problem, but my Swift only has 4GB (soldered), and the video RAM takes some of that.  I learned that they do have an 8GB model, but they don’t offer it in the US.  (Come on, Acer!  I even put that in a suggestion to their forum for that purpose.  I don’t want another model… all of the higher-line models have more powerful CPUs that are not passively cooled, a feature of the Swift 1 I really like.)

        I’m trying Pale Moon out on the Swift now to see if it works better with its limited RAM.  I first used PM many years ago, so I am well aware of it, but thanks for the reminder about RAM usage.  I prefer Waterfox for its e10s (multiprocess) feature, which makes scrolling just so beautifully smooth, but a minor amount of jank (which I previously saw with PM) is more than okay if it is more thrifty on RAM and does not hit the CPU as hard.  My desktop (i5-2500k at 4.5 GHz) and my G3 (i7-8750H) have power and RAM to spare, but not the Swift.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1348753 Reply

          Speccy
          AskWoody Lounger

          +1 for Pale Moon (I only mentioned Comodo’s forks because IMHO they might be generally well-suited for most users – but yes, Pale Moon also comes to mind). 🙂
          To deal with Firefox’s memory consumption there’s a little, nice utility that has proved its value over the years (and, if you like it, it is well worth donating to the developer):
          https://www.rizonesoft.com/downloads/firemin/

        • #1348810 Reply

          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          x86 software uses ~20% fewer resources than the x64 equivalent, removing ads helps (uBO is low impact), some sites are very heavy (some even continue hogging resources after their tabs/windows are closed and only a browser restart will ‘kill’ them).

    • #1336078 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I am also a Waterfox user and I’m always ready to put in a good word for it. I like that it has a good privacy protection policy, based on the attitude of its developer on this matter.

      I have not had a single serious problem with it in the over two years that I have been using WF in both my Windows 7 PC and in my Mac. It is based on FF, but without the bloat — and without the users’ grief being expressed here. But some Web sites from government, banking and other organizations do not have WF listed among their vetted browsers and tend to disapprove of people using it, in consequence. In that case, I use Chrome, that always seems to be vetted. This is not something I have to do often enough to be a serious issue, being nothing more that an occasional inconvenience.

      Someone here has expressed a concern that forks of other software (FF in this case) may not have enough people working on them to ensure a continuously reliable maintenance. I have no idea of how much care and work goes into maintaining a browser, so I leave that as a potential issue for others to comment.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

    • #1337661 Reply

      Elly
      AskWoody MVP

      I’ve been very comfortable using Pale Moon, so it has become my main browser. Can configure it nicely to my tastes. The number of add-ons has grown, and I’m not left feeling like I’m missing anything. Never had any problems after updating. I like being able to make StartPage my default search… too many browsers are limiting the choices in search engines.

      I do keep multiple browsers available, because it is sometimes useful to check if it is a browser problem or if something else it going on, or to see how different sites display in different browsers. Sometimes, when helping friends or family it is useful to be able to switch to the same browser they are using, if they are trying to problem solve.

      Brave is experimenting with anonymizing users, to advertisers, but providing advertising… so you can ‘pay’ for using it by being served ads, without having to worry about privacy and being tracked. That is an interesting idea for supporting the browser, and more respectful than Chrome and Edge vacuuming of data.

      Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1340213 Reply

        b
        AskWoody Plus

        I like being able to make StartPage my default search… too many browsers are limiting the choices in search engines.

        Which browsers don’t let you choose any search engine as default?

         

        Knuckle dragger Cannon fodder Chump Daft glutton Idiot Crazy/Ignorant Toxic drinker Blockhead Unwashed mass Seeker/Sucker "Ancient/Obsolete" (Group ASAP) Win10 v.1909

        • #1342160 Reply

          Elly
          AskWoody MVP

          Chromium based browsers for the most part. You can add other search engines, but not to use them in the address bar. For that you are limited to the ones provided. A few examples:

          Google Chrome- Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Duck Duck Go
          Comodo Dragon- Yahoo, Google, Bing, AOL, and Ask
          Epic Privacy Browser- Epic Search engine

          I don’t know anything about Edge or Safari. Firefox and its various forks seem to allow greater choice of a default browser.

          Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

          • #1345098 Reply

            b
            AskWoody Plus

            Epic Privacy Browser is a bit different as it’s tied to its own search system: Epic’s Business Model?

            And Apple Safari does seem to have a fixed list of Google, Yahoo, Bing, or DuckDuckGo to select from.

            But the other browsers you mention provide instructions for setting any search engine as their default:

            Google Chrome: Add or remove other search engines
            Comodo Dragon: Manage your Search Engines
            Microsoft Edge: Change the default search engine
            Edge (Chromium): How to change search provider

            Knuckle dragger Cannon fodder Chump Daft glutton Idiot Crazy/Ignorant Toxic drinker Blockhead Unwashed mass Seeker/Sucker "Ancient/Obsolete" (Group ASAP) Win10 v.1909

            • #1368760 Reply

              Elly
              AskWoody MVP

              Thank you, @b. This is something that has caused me some frustration. I reviewed the instructions, and apparently I’d forgotten to do step # 4 (for Chrome), which is replace the search term with ‘%s’, and I would only be able to edit or delete additional engines. Replacing allowed me to set it as a default.

              One of the things I struggle with (being non-techy) is knowing whether something is working the way it should… and I made the assumption that the browsers were deliberately limiting browser choice when I thought I was actually following directions and not getting to set a default… going through, anew, step by step, clarified my error.

              It is one of those things that I’m definitely happier to have cleared up. I’d been using StartPage on those browsers, having set it up to show when a new tab is opened… but having it also in the address bar is comforting.

              Thank you!

              Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

              2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1341364 Reply

      anonymous

      Vivaldi is a fast browser; it seems very up to date to this non-sophisticated user. It renders pages well and is capable of using addons/extensions for no script, https everywhere, and so forth.
      ….
      You said you don’t want Chrome. Keep in mind that Vivaldi is built on the Chrome system; yet its backers say they have removed the Google-favoring stuff that was built in. I tend to view it as very largely free of any kind of Google favoritism. When Firefox has been haywire, Vivaldi was/ is my main browser. Try it for a day; see if you like it; I do.

      • #1342692 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Vivaldi is nice but might not be for everyone.

        I do use it myself but the user interface takes some getting used to, so might not be a drop-in replacement.

        Also on some platforms it’s notably more resource-hungry than some other Chromium-based browsers.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1361586 Reply

      anonymous

      Thanks for the responses, and feel free to continue.

      Seems Waterfox is leading the pack. I will have to look into that. Using a script-blocker like NoScript or uBlock matrix is pretty important for me, not just for security, but for bandwidth as well. I tried using Vivaldi when it came out. It wasn’t bad, but had some issues with scrolling. I was using an adblocker with it, but it didn’t support NoScript at the time, which I was using on Firefox. I browsed the same sites on both browsers, and could not believe how much less bandwidth Firefox used with NoScript. The data usage on Vivaldi without NoScript was nearly TRIPLE that of Firefox! In the era of data caps, reducing bandwith where possible is important.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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