Text Mode Web Browser on Raspberry Pi Linux Terminal

The web browser we usually use, runs in a graphical environment (GUI). On your Raspberry Pi device, you need to start X and the graphical browser. The GUI consumes a significant part of the Raspberry Pi resources. What if you are connecting remotely using secure shell and GUI is not available? The solution is to use Linux text mode browsers on the Raspberry Pi terminal. Here I will present a few text mode browsers.

The text based browser runs in a Linux terminal. It cannot do everything a normal browser can. In the system administration life, you only need to retrieve information, like reading blog posts, manuals, accessing REST APIs etc. To perform these tasks, command line browser works fine and save valuable system resources.

Lynx

Lynx is probably the most famous command line browser in the world. To install it, open a command line window or login on the Raspberry Pi terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install lynx

Once the installation got finished, you can start surfing the web. To open Google search, execute the following command:

lynx http://www.google.com/

To exit, press ‘Q’ or Ctrl-D on the keyboard. Ctrl-R causes the web page to be reloaded from the server and the display is refreshed.

To open different URL, in the above command, replace the Google’s address with the address of the page you would like to read.

Lynx provides a lot of features. You can learn more about Lynx at the Lynx’s Manual Page.

w3m

w3m is another text-based web browser and pager. It is perfect for browsing and reading pages on a terminal or a terminal emulator window. The w3m browser supports tables, cookies and HTTP authentication. JavaScript is not supported.

To install w3m on Raspberry Pi Linux, type the following command:

sudo apt-get install w3m

Using w3m is pretty much the same as using lynx. Open my blog using the following command:

w3h https://vankoo.wordpress.com

Use the arrow keys to navigate. Tab key cycles through the links. When the cursor is positioned on a link, press Enter to navigate to the page, referred by the link. The Q key exits the browser.

You can learn more from the w3m Manual.

ELinks

Elinks supports frames and tables. It also provides text based window-like experience.

pi@raspberry:/opt$ sudo apt-get install elinks
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  elinks-data libfsplib0 libperl5.14 libtre5
Suggested packages:
  elinks-doc tre-agrep
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  elinks elinks-data libfsplib0 libperl5.14 libtre5
0 upgraded, 5 newly installed, 0 to remove and 1 not upgraded.
Need to get 1,247 kB of archives.
After this operation, 3,287 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]?

Once you the installation have finished, start the browser by typing:

elinks

By pressing Esc key, you can access the menu. Navigate the Help menu for documentation.

To exit, use the Q key.

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