Today, Google Chrome is the most used browser worldwide. And nobody is able to dethrone this browser. Although it is not for alternatives. Firefox is one of its rivals, occupying the second place in the browser table, followed by Edge, Microsoft’s browser, which has recently changed engines to Chromium to stand up to Google in its own home. However, there are many other alternatives to Chrome to surf the Internet. And some of them as interesting as Waterfox.
Surely the first thing that catches our attention is this name. Waterfox is an open source browser launched in 2011 to try to gain a foothold in the browser war.
Although this browser is based on Firefox, its developers created it because of the need to make some changes regarding the original Mozilla project. For example, this browser works much more efficiently on 64-bit systems , in addition to eliminating features that Mozilla includes in your browser, such as Adobe DRM and Pocket, among others, to offer users a browser as free and light as possible .
Waterfox: a 100% OpenSource web browser full of features
Waterfox has been one of the most faithful browsers has been maintained to the original Mozilla Firefox. This browser is characterized by being compatible with the XUL and XPCOM add-ons , which Firefox removed in version 57 of the browser.
Some of the other features offered by this browser are:
- Encrypted media extensions (EME) are disabled by default.
- Web Runtime is disabled, since it has been deprecated since 2015.
- Pocket removed.
- Removed all Mozilla telemetry.
- It does not collect absolutely any user data.
- Use Bing as the default search engine.
- It is compatible with all 64-bit NPAPI add-ons.
- It allows to install unsigned extensions.
- It has no sponsored listings or any type of advertising.
- You have a secure password manager with login function.
- Thanks to Cookie Prompt we can navigate more privately with tracking protection.
- Synchronize bookmarks, history, tabs, passwords, add-ons and preferences with all other devices.
The appearance, configuration and other elements are the same as those of Firefox, so if we dare to use Waterfox, we will have the same thing we can have in the Mozilla browser, but with all the improvements we have just listed.
Download and use Waterfox
This browser is open source and, in addition, totally free for all users. If we want to try it, we can download the latest version available from the following link . Waterfox is available for Windows, macOS and Linux, in standard and portable format. In addition, we can also download it on Android smartphones to always take it with us on our smartphone.
To facilitate its use, Waterfox allows us to easily import all data from another browser (such as Google Chrome or Firefox) directly to the browser. So, in a few seconds, we can have migrated to this new browser without difficulty.
The interface is very similar to Firefox. Even to Google Chrome. Therefore, if we are familiar with these browsers we will not have any problem to start using Waterfox in our day to day.
Obviously, being based on Firefox, we will not see a completely radical change. The entire browser itself is practically Firefox. But eliminating the bad things from Mozilla’s browser, especially the closed-source parts it includes (such as Pocket or Adobe DRM), in addition to telemetry and data collection.
Even this browser takes advantage of Firefox Sync to synchronize data with the cloud.
Waterfox extensions, your strongest point
Obviously today there cannot be a browser that does not support extensions. And Waterfox was not going to be less.
Mozilla changed some time ago from the classic extensions to the new WebExtension, extensions very similar to those offered by Google in Chrome. However, this change did not please users, as many extensions were lost because they could not work on this new system.
Waterfox decided to continue supporting the classic Firefox extensions. In the following link we can find several repositories from which to access all these classic extensions, download them, install them in the browser, etc.
And, of course, it is also compatible with modern Firefox extensions. An all-in-one for users to decide if they want to use classic or modern extensions.
Two versions for users
Waterfox gives us the possibility to choose between two versions. The first, and the default one, is Waterfox Classic . This is the most faithful version of the original Firefox and is prepared to meet the needs of any Firefox user, both new and veteran.
On the other hand, we also have the possibility to choose Waterfox Current . The Current version is a version that is more advanced in development and, although it is intended only for testing, it allows us to see the developments that its developers are testing. Something similar as the Canary and Nightly editions of Chrome and Firefox.
As we see, the Current version is experimenting with a radical browser change. This version is more similar to the latest versions of Firefox. It has even adopted, in the end, Mozilla’s extension policy, blocking the installation of Legacy extensions and add-ons. We can only use WebExtension in this browser.
What it does maintain are the rest of the improvements and qualities of this browser, such as its policy regarding data collection, privacy improvements and the elimination of closed source components that Mozilla includes in Firefox editions.
In addition, we must bear in mind that, when the Current edition finishes its development, it will replace the Classic. Although some users will not like it, it is something totally necessary to be able to continue growing and being competent in such a close war. And in the long run it sure benefits this browser.
This browser may not be able to beat Chrome or Firefox. But if you are tired of large Internet companies and want a simpler browser that allows us to navigate comfortably and respect our privacy better than any other, then Waterfox is sure to not disappoint you.