Text web browsers are so called because they only display the text on web pages. Images, video and other multimedia files are completely ignored. Analysing how text based browsers “see” a web page is a great way to understand how it looks to a search engine bot – the automatic program sent by search engines to gather contents from web sites and web pages.
One of the first text web browsers was Lynx and it is still probably the best text-based browser in the market. It was released in 1992 and is currently in version 2.8.6 and available on different platforms including Windows, Macintosh and Unix/Linux operating systems. The Lynx browser is under the GPL license and is free to download and install.
You don’t need to regress and install text web browsers on your computer (unless, of course, you have a lot of free time or you’re the “nerdy” sort). Decent text browser simulators are available on the web – yes, for free!
Free text only web browser and Gopher client distributed by the Internet Software Consortium.
Developed by Thomas Dickey; currently in version 2.8.6 and available for Windows, Mac and Unix/Linux operating systems.
Requires Perl to be installed on the system. It is 100% text based and combines an editor, browser and email client.
Developed by Karl Dahlke; currently in version 1.5.17 and available for Win, Mac and Unix/Linux.
Text-based web browser and a test formatting tool.
Developed by Akinori Ito; currently in version 0.5.2 and is cross-platform.
ASCII-Web-Browser for Amiga
Developed by P. Marquardt; currently in version 1.29 and runs only on Amiga based computers.
Text browser with tabs. Supports mouse and displays colored text.
Developed by Petr Baudis and Jonas Fonseca; currently in version 0.11.5 and available for computers running Linux.
Written entirely in Emacs Lisp.
Developed by William M. Perry (now, Magnus Henoch); currently in version The Git version and only for Linux.
Developed by Twibright Labs; currently in version 2.2 for Windows and Linux computers.
Shareware browser and a DOS PPP dial-up access program. It also sends and receives email, usenet messages and can work as a FTP and Telnet client.
Developed by Net-tamer, Inc.; currently in version 1.12.1 for Windows only.
Web browser for blind and visually-impaired people and serves well as a screen reader.
Developed by Alasdair King; currently in Windows only version 3.7.6
Lynx Viewer from Delorie software
Developed by DJ Delorie. Requires you upload a file (can be empty) called delorie.gif or delorie.htm in your web site root directory to prove web site ownership. Provides correct 80 character width view.
seo-browser.com from Anduro Marketing and Ian McAnerin
Enter your web page URL and let the sparks fly!
Lynx viewer from Yellowpipe Internet Services
Similar to one above. You can also add it to your right-mouse click and then can check any web page; refer RightLynx for details.
Google Webmasters Tools
A set of utilities set up by the world’s best search engine, Google. The Webmasters Tools web site has a neat feature that allows you to view a page on your web site the way Googlebot sees it. This tool was a great help to me recently when by blog was hacked cleverly by miscreants. If you haven’t used this site, get a free Google account, add your site and access lots of smart site analyses.
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