I currently use Ubuntu 14.04 as primary OS and Windows XP as secondary OS.

I am using Mozilla Firefox & sometimes Chromium web browsers. Now I want a web browser that consumes less (minimum) [online] data for viewing pages. (I want to use that as a secondary browser)

  • Flash not required
  • 'Extra' plugins (eg. downloader, pdf viewer, adobe plugins) not required
  • Add-ons/extensions not required
  • Only for simple surfing, so the browser consumes minimum data for viewing/surfing webpages. (may compress data)

In brief If I want to surf fully supported, then I will use Firefox/Chrome.
But I want above mentioned web-browser (no advance facilities but only simple formatting) that can view pages with the best possible effort and which consumes as little data as possible.

  • 2
    What do you mean with "minimum data"? Is it main memory used or is it bandwidth used or is it avoiding cookies and similar data? Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 13:11
  • "may compress data": Mobile data, and Chrome for Android does that
    – Ming-Tang
    Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 17:39
  • @OlafDietsche Not Memory(RAM) used but online data usage as mentioned in question
    – Pandya
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 12:59

5 Answers 5


You could hardmode it and use w3m or lynx. I hear emacs has a browser now too, but I'm not sure if it's usable.

Lynx' advantages:

  • Intuitive, text-only browsing
  • No Flash
  • No plugins
  • No images
  • No JavaScript
  • You get warned about IFRAME's and redirections.

w3m is close in functionality but navigation keys are a bit different, and it can display images via imlib2.


You can try Opera. It has a feature called Opera Turbo which basically takes the requested page, compresses it using Opera's servers and sends it back to your computer which minimizes bandwidth and loading times. Aside from that, Opera is pretty much your standard browser. They seem to mainly focus on speed and low bandwidth consumption making for a great alternative browser


  • Minimizes bandwidth usage by compressing data through Opera's servers
  • Plugin (extensions) and theme support
  • Private browsing and other security options (such as do not track)
  • Developer tools and console
  • Pretty much every feature you would expect from a modern web browser (bookmarks, syncing, easy to navigate menus etc)
  • Cross platform (including mobile versions)
  • And many more!

Here is a video preview of the browser.

  • 1
    I can't help but wonder what the security implications are of having everything I do routed through Opera's servers... Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 11:17
  • 1
    @NiettheDarkAbsol They'll have access to absolutely everything you do online, barring HTTPS. Like your ISP does (although in this case it'll be in addition to what your ISP sees).
    – bye
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 13:58
  • You might want to take a look at their privacy policy and their privacy policy on the Opera Turbo.
    – aman207
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 16:11
  • I also recommend Opera. It tends to use the least amount of RAM, and feels the most responsive and fastest, especially when going back a page. It's quite full featured too. I only switched to Chrome because it failed to render a few sites properly that I needed. No, Opera Turbo or their VPN is not secure. If you are worried, use HTTPS, TOR, or don't use that. Your ISP and government also sees plain text traffic.
    – Chloe
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 15:44

You could try the RequestPolicy Continued addon for Firefox. It is an extension that prevents pages from loading resources from external sites.

For example this page loads resources from ajax.googleapis.com, gravatar.com, sstatic.net and imgur.com, which are blocked by RequestPolicy before they are loaded (unless you explicitely allow them). This has privacy advantages and makes pages load faster, using less bandwidth. Combine this with an ad blocker like AdblockPlus for maximum efficiency.

Edit, 6 years after: RequestPolicy Continued is now mostly abandoned, you can achieve similar results with Ublock Origin in Hard Mode

  • 2
    Does this addon conflict with similar ones, such as Ghostery, which have a comparable approach – or does it act fine as "companion" to them?
    – Izzy
    Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 17:15
  • @lzzy, I use Ghostery and RequestPolicy together without issue.
    – Dave C
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 17:28

Here is a nice summary of the situation:

Using a local(!) plugin to reduce image size and quality requires you to first download the large version. Thus you can not reduce bandwidth usage this way.

The only way to use less bandwidth is if:

  1. Someone else downloads it all, then reduces the size and you download the smaller images. (Some networks do this when you tether a mobile phone to your desktop)
  2. If the site offering the images also offers smaller images.
  3. You turn off image loading in a graphical browser, or
  4. You use a text only browser such as lynx, links or w3m.
  5. (See nodisc's answer)

If you want to go with the first point, you can either set up a proxy yourself, or for free you can use Turbo with Opera as aman207 mentioned, and there is also Google's Data Compression Proxy but only available for Android so far:

Google's proxy is faster than Opera Mobile's Turbo feature, while saving almost the same amount of data. For example, the savings for AnandTech.com were 48.9%, while Opera Mobile Turbo's data savings were 50%. The savings for apple.com were 60.3%, while Opera Mobile Turbo's data savings were 57%. Chrome's major advantage is that the proxy doesn't slow down browsing, unlike Opera Mobile.

enter image description here

Google says that "this feature has been shown to reduce data usage by 50% and speed up page load times on cellular networks. When the Data Compression Proxy feature is enabled, Chrome mobile opens a dedicated SPDY connection between your phone and one of the optimization servers running in Google's datacenters and relays all HTTP requests over this connection. (...) The browser-to-proxy connection runs over SSL, meaning that your browsing session is encrypted between your device and Google's servers." HTTPS connections and pages loaded in the incognito mode don't use the proxy. DNS lookups are performed by the proxy, while the images are converted to WebP and the resulting images are up to 80% smaller. "The proxy also performs intelligent compression and minification of HTML, JavaScript and CSS resources, which removes unnecessary whitespace, comments, and other metadata which are not essential to render the page. These optimizations, combined with mandatory gzip compression for all resources, can result in substantial bandwidth savings."

enter image description here

If you are willing to pay for a data compression proxy, you might want to have a look at

  • Toonel (pretty old though)
  • Fastun: web accelerating service for Firefox and Opera

Some more details for Fastun:

  • Compress HTTP traffic using the GZIP algorithm
  • Optimize web pages code (HTTP/CSS), thus reducing their size
  • Compress images in PNG, GIF and JPEG formats with a feature of quality choice

In order to use fasTun you have to register for an account. You can either register for free or premium account.

I guess there might be other such services.

  • Google data compression proxy is now deprecated. Unfortunaty to desktop environent, there is no replacement
    – Xwtek
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 13:01


You can control what type of additional requests are made for each website. By default only css and images are loaded (and you can turn that off as well).

enter image description here

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