Can You Use Web Browser on Ubuntu Server?


Larry Thompson

Ubuntu Server is a popular choice for hosting websites and running various server applications. However, one common question that arises is whether it is possible to use a web browser on Ubuntu Server. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and discuss the different methods you can use to access the web browser on your Ubuntu Server.

Accessing a Web Browser on Ubuntu Server

By default, Ubuntu Server does not come with a graphical user interface (GUI) installed. This means that you won’t find a web browser like Chrome or Firefox pre-installed. However, this does not mean that you cannot use a web browser on your server.

If you need to access websites or perform tasks that require a web browser, there are several options available:

1. Command Line Web Browsers

If you are comfortable with the command line interface (CLI), you can use text-based web browsers like Lynx or Links. These browsers allow you to browse websites and interact with them using only text-based commands.

To install Lynx, open the terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt-get install lynx

To install Links, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install links

Once installed, you can launch these browsers by opening the terminal and typing their respective commands (i.e., ‘lynx’ or ‘links’). You can then navigate through websites using keyboard shortcuts and interact with links and forms.

2. X11 Forwarding

If you prefer a graphical web browser like Chrome or Firefox, but still want to access your Ubuntu Server remotely, you can use X11 forwarding. X11 forwarding allows you to run GUI applications on your server and display them on your local machine.

To use X11 forwarding, you need an X server installed on your local machine. If you are using Windows, you can install an X server like Xming or Cygwin/X. On Linux, most distributions come with an X server pre-installed.

Once you have an X server installed, you can connect to your Ubuntu Server using SSH with X11 forwarding enabled. To do this, open a terminal and run the following command:

ssh -X username@server_ip_address

Replace ‘username’ with your username on the server and ‘server_ip_address’ with the IP address of your Ubuntu Server.

After successfully connecting to the server, you can install a graphical web browser like Firefox by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install firefox

You can then launch Firefox by typing ‘firefox’ in the terminal. The browser window will appear on your local machine.

3. Using a Remote Desktop Environment

If you want a more traditional desktop experience on your Ubuntu Server and have access to a GUI environment, you can set up a remote desktop environment such as Xfce or MATE.

To install Xfce, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install xfce4 xfce4-goodies xorg dbus-x11 x11-xserver-utils

To install MATE, use this command:

sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-core xorg dbus-x11 x11-xserver-utils

After installing either Xfce or MATE, you can connect to your Ubuntu Server using a remote desktop client like VNC Viewer. Set up the VNC server on your server and install the VNC Viewer on your local machine. Then, connect to the server using the VNC Viewer, and you will have access to a full desktop environment where you can use a web browser like Chrome or Firefox.


While Ubuntu Server does not come with a web browser pre-installed, it is still possible to use one through various methods. Whether you prefer a command line browser, X11 forwarding, or setting up a remote desktop environment, there are options available to suit your needs. Choose the method that best fits your requirements and enjoy browsing the web on your Ubuntu Server.

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