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How to set up the NetSurf browser on Linux

NetSurf is a cross-platform web browser. It is designed to be very lightweight and fast. Unlike other modern web browsers, NetSurf won’t weigh you down with pointless extensions and add-ons. If you’re looking for a basic, snappy web browser for your Linux PC, follow along with this guide.

Note: NetSurf is cross-platform, so it works on more than just Linux. If you use a different platform and want to check it out, click here to get started.

Installing NetSurf on Linux

Before we can demonstrate how to set up the NetSurf browser on your Linux PC for basic use, we need to go over how to install it. Why? NetSurf is not the default web browser on very many Linux operating systems.

To start the installation of the NetSurf web browser, open up a terminal window on the Linux desktop. To open up a terminal, press Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the command-line instructions outlined below that correspond with the operating system you currently use.


On Ubuntu Linux, you’ll be able to install NetSurf, provided you have the “Universe” software repository set up. To enable the “Universe” software repository, enter the following add-apt-repository command.

sudo add-apt-repository universe

After adding the “Universe” software repository to your Ubuntu Linux PC, run the update command. Running an update will make the “Universe” software repository accessible to your system.

sudo apt update

Finally, install the NetSurf browser with the Apt command below.

sudo apt install netsurf


If you’re running Debian Linux, you’ll be able to get the NetSurf browser from the “Main” software repository. To start the installation, use the following Apt-get command below in a terminal window.

sudo apt-get install netsurf

Arch Linux

If you’re an Arch Linux user, you’ll be able to install the NetSurf web browser provided you have the “Community” software repository enabled. Ensure that you have “Community” set up in your Pacman.conf file. Then, use the pacman command below to get the latest release of NetSurf up and running on your Arch Linux PC.

sudo pacman -S netsurf


The Fedora operating system distributes the NetSurf web browser to all its users (30, 31, 32, and Rawhide) via the main Fedora repository. To start the installation of NetSurf on your Fedora Linux PC, use the following dnf install command below in a terminal window.

sudo dnf install netsurf


NetSurf is available to all OpenSUSE Linux users (Leap 15.1, 15.2, and Tumbleweed) via the Oss software repository. To install it, do the following.

sudo zypper install netsurf

Set up the NetSurf browser on Linux

NetSurf functions much like any other web browser. However, it’s not one of the mainstream browsers, so we’re going to briefly go over how to use it on your Linux system. Launch the NetSurf browser on your Linux desktop by searching for it in the application menu. Or, by pressing Alt + F2 on the keyboard to open up the quick launcher and write netsurf in the launch box.

Once you’ve gotten the NetSurf browser open, follow the information below to set up your browser.


Need to set up your bookmarks in the NetSurf browser? Click on the “Navigate” menu. Then, find the “Show Bookmarks” menu to access your bookmarks.

Note: Sadly, NetSurf does not support importing bookmarks from other popular web browsers. You will need to manually add all bookmarks to your favorite websites in the NetSurf bookmark menu.

To add new bookmarks, click on the “Add to Bookmarks” button.

Configure your privacy

NetSurf has decent privacy options. To configure them, click on the “Edit” menu, and select the “Preferences” button to access preferences. From there, click on the “Privacy” tab, and customize your privacy settings.

Set up pop-up blocking and ad-blocking

The NetSurf browser supports pop-up blocking and ad-blocking. To turn it on, find the “Edit” menu, and click on the “Preferences” button. From there, click on the “Content” tab.

In the “Content” tab, click on the box next to “Prevent pop-up windows,” and “Hide adverts” to turn on pop-up blocking and ad-blocking in the NetSurf browser.

Enable javascript

For some reason, Javascript is shut off by default in the NetSurf web browser. The reason for this isn’t clear, as it doesn’t say on the NetSurf website. Still, Javascript is necessary to use a lot of websites.

To set up Javascript in NetSurf, click on “Edit” and then “Preferences”. After accessing “Preferences,” click on the “Enable Javascript” button to turn on the Javascript feature.

Set homepage

Want to set your favorite homepage for NetSurf? Here’s how to do it. First, locate the “Edit” button, and click on it. Then, select the “Preferences” button to access the browser settings area.

Inside “Preferences,” click on the “Main” tab. Then, find “Page” and write in your new home page to use in NetSurf.

Other browsers

Looking for something else? Linux has a large selection of web browsers and we have detailed writes ups on how to install them on your system. Click one of the links below for the browser of your choice.

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