6.2. Browsers

FreeBSD does not come with a pre-installed web browser. Instead, the www category of the Ports Collection contains many browsers which can be installed as a package or compiled from the Ports Collection.

The KDE and GNOME desktop environments include their own HTML browser. Refer to Section 5.7, “Desktop Environments” for more information on how to set up these complete desktops.

Some lightweight browsers include www/dillo2, www/links, and www/w3m.

This section demonstrates how to install the following popular web browsers and indicates if the application is resource-heavy, takes time to compile from ports, or has any major dependencies.

Application NameResources NeededInstallation from PortsNotes
FirefoxmediumheavyFreeBSD, Linux®, and localized versions are available
OperalightlightFreeBSD and Linux® versions are available
KonquerormediumheavyRequires KDE libraries
ChromiummediumheavyRequires Gtk+

6.2.1. Firefox

Firefox is an open source browser that is fully ported to FreeBSD. It features a standards-compliant HTML display engine, tabbed browsing, popup blocking, extensions, improved security, and more. Firefox is based on the Mozilla codebase.

To install the package of the latest release version of Firefox, type:

# pkg install firefox

To instead install Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) version, use:

# pkg install firefox-esr

Localized versions are available in www/firefox-i18n and www/firefox-esr-i18n.

The Ports Collection can instead be used to compile the desired version of Firefox from source code. This example builds www/firefox, where firefox can be replaced with the ESR or localized version to install.

# cd /usr/ports/www/firefox
# make install clean Firefox and Java™ Plugin

The installation of Firefox does not include Java™ support. However, java/icedtea-web provides a free software web browser plugin for running Java applets. It can be installed as a package by running:

# pkg install icedtea-web

Alternatively, to compile from the Ports Collection:

# cd /usr/ports/java/icedtea-web
# make install clean

Keep the default configuration options when compiling the port.

Once installed, start firefox, enter about:plugins in the location bar and press Enter. A page listing the installed plugins will be displayed. The Java plugin should be listed.

If the browser is unable to find the plugin, each user will have to run the following command and relaunch the browser:

% ln -s /usr/local/lib/IcedTeaPlugin.so \
  $HOME/.mozilla/plugins/ Firefox and Adobe® Flash® Plugin

A native Adobe® Flash® plugin is not available for FreeBSD. However, a software wrapper for running the Linux® version of the plugin is available. This wrapper also provides support for other browser plugins such as RealPlayer®.

To install and enable this plugin, perform these steps:

  1. Install www/nspluginwrapper from the port. Due to licensing restrictions, a package is not available. This port requires emulators/linux_base-c6.

  2. Install www/linux-c6-flashplugin11 from the port. Due to licensing restrictions, a package is not available.

  3. Before the plugin is first used, each user must run:

    % nspluginwrapper -v -a -i

    When the plugin port has been updated and reinstalled, each user must run:

    % nspluginwrapper -v -a -u

    Start the browser, enter about:plugins in the location bar and press Enter. A list of all the currently available plugins will be shown. Firefox and Swfdec Flash® Plugin

Swfdec is a decoder and renderer for Flash® animations. Swfdec-Mozilla is a plugin for Firefox browsers that uses the Swfdec library for playing SWF files.

To install the package:

# pkg install swfdec-plugin

If the package is not available, compile and install it from the Ports Collection:

# cd /usr/ports/www/swfdec-plugin
# make install clean

Restart the browser to activate this plugin.

6.2.2. Opera

Opera is a full-featured and standards-compliant browser which is still lightweight and fast. It comes with a built-in mail and news reader, an IRC client, an RSS/Atom feeds reader, and more. It is available as a native FreeBSD version and as a version that runs under Linux® emulation.

This command installs the package of the FreeBSD version of Opera. Replace opera with linux-opera to instead install the Linux® version.

# pkg install opera

Alternately, install either version through the Ports Collection. This example compiles the native version:

# cd /usr/ports/www/opera
# make install clean

To install the Linux® version, substitute linux-opera in place of opera.

To install Adobe® Flash® plugin support, first compile the www/linux-c6-flashplugin11 port. Licensing restrictions prevent making a package available. Then install www/opera-linuxplugins. This example compiles both applications from ports:

# cd /usr/ports/www/linux-c6-flashplugin11
# make install clean
# cd /usr/ports/www/opera-linuxplugins
# make install clean

Once installed, check the presence of the plugin by starting the browser, entering opera:plugins in the location bar and pressing Enter. A list should appear with all the currently available plugins.

To add the Java plugin, follow the instructions in Section, “Firefox and Java™ Plugin”.

6.2.3. Konqueror

Konqueror is more than a web browser as it is also a file manager and a multimedia viewer. It is included in the x11/kde4-baseapps package or port.

Konqueror supports WebKit as well as its own KHTML. WebKit is a rendering engine used by many modern browsers including Chromium. To use WebKit with Konqueror on FreeBSD, install the www/kwebkitpart package or port. This example installs the package:

# pkg install kwebkitpart

To install from the Ports Colloction:

# cd /usr/ports/www/kwebkitpart
# make install clean

To enable WebKit within Konqueror, click Settings, Configure Konqueror. In the General settings page, click the drop-down menu next to Default web browser engine and change KHTML to WebKit.

Konqueror also supports Flash®. A How To guide for getting Flash® support on Konqueror is available at http://freebsd.kde.org/howtos/konqueror-flash.php.

6.2.4. Chromium

Chromium is an open source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable web browsing experience. Chromium features tabbed browsing, popup blocking, extensions, and much more. Chromium is the open source project upon which the Google Chrome web browser is based.

Chromium can be installed as a package by typing:

# pkg install chromium

Alternatively, Chromium can be compiled from source using the Ports Collection:

# cd /usr/ports/www/chromium
# make install clean


The executable for Chromium is /usr/local/bin/chrome, not /usr/local/bin/chromium. Chromium and Java™ Plugin

The installation of Chromium does not include Java™ support. To install Java™ plugin support, follow the instructions in Section, “Firefox and Java™ Plugin”.

Once Java™ support is installed, start Chromium and enter about:plugins in the address bar. IcedTea-Web should be listed as one of the installed plugins.

If Chromium does not display the IcedTea-Web plugin, run the following commands and restart the web browser:

# mkdir -p /usr/local/share/chromium/plugins
# ln -s /usr/local/lib/IcedTeaPlugin.so \
  /usr/local/share/chromium/plugins/ Chromium and Adobe® Flash® Plugin

Configuring Chromium and Adobe® Flash® is similar to the instructions in Section, “Firefox and Adobe® Flash® Plugin”. No additional configuration should be necessary, since Chromium is able to use some plugins from other browsers.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at http://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.