Lynx is a text-based web browser and the oldest browser under active development.
The Lynx browser is a text-based browser that has been around for more than 2 decades. Originally designed for use on Unix-like systems, there are also versions of Lynx available for Windows and Mac OS systems.
The Lynx web browser was initially developed in 1992 by students at the University of Kansas as a text-only browser to distribute information University-wide on the University of Kansas server, and for browsing Gopher. Support for HTTP, the communication protocol used by the World Wide Web, was added in 1993 when version 2.0 of the Lynx browser was released. Support for FTP to access file transfer servers and NNTP to access Usenet was added to subsequent versions of Lynx.
Lynx is particularly well-suited to loading web pages quickly over a slow Internet connection and offers greater user privacy than graphical web browsers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are text-based browsers still used?
Text-based browsers like Lynx are useful for a variety of purposes.
- First, text-based browsers offer a greater degree of user privacy than graphical browsers. Lynx is highly configurable, scripts are not supported, and users can set preferences that prevent tracking cookies that might otherwise violate a user’s privacy wishes.
- Second, using a text-based browser like Lynx is one way to get a sense for how search engines and other computer programs see the content of a webpage. Web designers can use this information to better design websites for accessibility tools like screen readers, and internet marketers can use this information to better optimize websites for search engine indexing.
- Third, text-only browsers like Lynx can improve the Internet experience of users accessing the web over a slow Internet connection. Since Lynx does not load any media content or scripts, webpages loaded in Lynx load much more quickly than they do in a graphical browser.
How do I use Lynx?
Installing Lynx isn’t as easy as installing most applications. Thankfully, there are quite a few help files and documents available from the Lynx website to help you get set up.
Once you have Lynx installed on your computer, you may still be perplexed about how to get started using Lynx. This is because Lynx uses a command-line interface rather than the sort of graphical interface you’re used to seeing while using on a modern computer. In order to access Lynx you’ll have to open a command line prompt and type in:
This will launch the Lynx browser within the command line interface.
To learn more about Lynx operation, and to find common commands which you can use to better navigate the web, head to the Help Page offered at the Lynx website. The Lynx Help for Beginners document may be particularly useful to new Lynx users.