How Do I Open Web Browser in Ubuntu Server?


Heather Bennett

If you are running Ubuntu Server and need to open a web browser, you might be wondering how to do it since the server edition does not come with a graphical user interface (GUI) by default. However, there are a few ways to access web browsers on Ubuntu Server, and in this tutorial, we will explore some of those methods.

Method 1: Installing a Desktop Environment

To open a web browser on Ubuntu Server, you can install a desktop environment such as GNOME or XFCE. This will provide you with a GUI that includes a web browser like Firefox or Chromium. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Update the package lists:
  2. sudo apt update
  3. Install the desktop environment:
  4. You can choose between GNOME and XFCE depending on your preferences. To install GNOME, use the following command:

    sudo apt install ubuntu-gnome-desktop

    If you prefer XFCE, use this command instead:

    sudo apt install xubuntu-desktop
  5. Reboot the system:
  6. sudo reboot

    After the reboot, you will have access to a graphical desktop environment.

    Method 2: Using a Text-Based Web Browser

    If installing a desktop environment is not an option or if you prefer to work within the command line interface (CLI), you can use text-based web browsers such as Lynx or Links.

    To install Lynx, use the following command:

    sudo apt install lynx

    Once installed, you can launch Lynx by typing:


    Lynx is a lightweight browser that can display web pages in plain text. It might not provide the same browsing experience as a graphical browser, but it’s perfect for accessing websites and gathering information from the command line.

    Method 3: Remote Desktop Connection

    If you have another computer with a GUI and remote access capabilities, you can connect to your Ubuntu Server remotely and use its web browser. This method allows you to leverage the power of a full-fledged graphical browser without installing any additional software on your server.

    One popular remote desktop protocol is VNC (Virtual Network Computing). Here’s how you can set it up:

    1. Install the necessary packages:
    2. sudo apt install xfce4 xfce4-goodies tightvncserver
    3. Start the VNC server:
    4. vncserver :1
    5. Create a VNC configuration file:
    6. nano ~/.vnc/xstartup

      Add the following lines to the file:

      xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
      startxfce4 &
    7. Make the configuration file executable:
    8. chmod +x ~/.vnc/xstartup
    9. Restart the VNC server:
    10. vncserver -kill :1
      vncserver :1

      Replace “:1” with the display number you want to use.

    11. Connect to the VNC server:
    12. Use a VNC client on your local machine to connect to the VNC server running on your Ubuntu Server. Enter the IP address or hostname of your server, followed by the display number (e.g., “”).

      Once connected, you will have access to a graphical desktop environment and can open a web browser as you would on any other computer.

    These are a few methods you can use to open a web browser on Ubuntu Server. Whether you choose to install a desktop environment, use a text-based browser, or connect remotely, you now have multiple options at your disposal.

    Note: It’s important to remember that running a web browser on a server should be done with caution. Servers are typically meant for hosting websites and services, so using resources for browsing may impact their performance. It’s recommended to only use a web browser on a server when absolutely necessary.

    I hope this tutorial has helped you find a suitable method for opening a web browser on Ubuntu Server. Happy browsing!

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