Linux Administrator

Browsing the Net in your Terminal (Text Based Browsers)

Usually, we need a web browser to browse the web, however, these days, you can even browse the web in your terminal! With text based browsers, you can access web browsers in your terminal. This is particularly useful when using SSH. In this tutorial, we will see the different programs used to achieve this.

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Text Based Browsers

Method #1: ELINKS

Elinks is a WWW browser in text mode that can also render tables and frames. For more information about elinks, you can visit On Ubuntu 20.04, it offers a graphical interface, and so you get text boxes where you can input your url. You can then navigate through the page using the up/down/left/right arrows. When you get to the search bar, do not forget to press the enter button before starting to type your search query! If you don’t press the enter tab, then other windows pop-up! And the last piece of information you need is on how to exit elinks. In order to exit the window, press the “q” button.

To install elinks:

sudo apt-get install elinks

To start elinks:


Method #2: W3M

W3M, like its neighbours, is a text based web browser. The W3M website mentions a few siblings: w3m-mee, and emacs-w3m ( Once again, to quit, you press the “q” button. Usage is a bit tricky. Move around with the tab key as well as the up/down/left/right arrow keys, and press enter when you want to settle on a choice. When you land on the search bar, and press enter, you can then enter text. You’d then use the tab key to move to the search button, and press enter to do a search of the text entered in the search bar.

In this case, to install it, type:

sudo apt-get install w3m

To start w3m:

w3m [options] [URL or filename]
For example: w3m

Method #3: BROWSH

Another terminal based browser is browsh. The difference between browsh and the remaining text based browsers is that it also renders HTML5, CSS3, JS, video and WebGL. It was created with SSH in mind; in fact, it was created to be accessed via SSH. It’s available for Linux static, Debian/Ubuntu, Redhat/Fedora, Arch AUR, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Mac OSX, and Windows. More information an be found at

It has to be downloaded from You get a .deb file which can easily be installed!

To install it:


sudo apt install ./browsh_1.6.4_linux_amd64.deb

rm ./browsh_1.6.4_linux_amd64.deb


Method #4: LYNX

Lynx is by far the oldest text based web browser. Lynx is by far the only text based web browser that I found to be a bit more complicated to use. You do have several keys that you have to memorize:

* type h for help
* type o for options
* type p for print
* type g to open url input bar
* type m for main screen
* type q for quit

You can move up, and down using the up/down arrow keys. Here, you don’t have to press enter when you get to the search bar.

To install it, type:

sudo apt-get install lynx

Then type:


Then, proceed to typing “g” if you would like to open a URL.

With programs such as SSH, terminal based web browsing has become more popular. In fact, there are a number of programs out there that allow you to browse the web within your terminal, these include elinks, w3m, lynx and browsh.


What is a text based browser?

With text based web browsers, you can access web browsers in your terminal.

What text based browsers are available?

There are few available for linux, the most commonly used are: elinks, w3m, browsh, and lynx.

Which text based browser is the best?

Browsh. The difference between browsh and the remaining text based browsers is that Browsh also renders HTML5, CSS3, JS, video and WebGL.

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About the author


Kalyani Rajalingham

I'm from Sri Lanka (live in Canada), and am a Linux and code lover.

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