How To Install The Epiphany Browser

By | 2007/11/07

So as many of you know I recently got back from the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Boston where we hashed out the details for the upcoming 8.04 release. It was loads of fun, I met a lot of cool people and I’m excited to get a lot of work done between now and then. In the meantime I thought I’d share something with you all that I noticed while I was there. Nobody seemed to use Firefox.

Nearly everyone at the conference was using Epiphany browser on the Gnome desktop. When asked why the two most common responses I got were:

  1. Its faster.
  2. Firefox is non-free.

While both of these are technically true this takes us back to the best part of Free Software, which is choice. If you’d like to try out the Epiphany browser (which I have been using pretty strictly since) follow these steps:

Installing Epiphany Browser

Installing Epiphany can be done a few ways, depending on your preference. I’ll outline a few ways that I can think of off the top of my head.

  1. sudo aptitude install epiphany-browser
  2. Applications > Add / Remove > Search “epiphany” > check-box > Apply

The Epiphany browser is based on the Gecko 1.8 engine and it does appear to render web pages very quickly. It is easy to use, simple, and just does what its supposed to do–render web pages. Nothing fancy other than what you just need. It does support extensions like seahorse for encryption, connections, greasemonkey and more, but it doesn’t feel like you need to rely on any of these (I haven’t even been using any).

I’m interested in your thoughts on Epiphany vs Firefox. Like it? Love it? Hate it? Why do you use one over the other?

52 thoughts on “How To Install The Epiphany Browser

  1. Luke Hoersten

    I use Epiphany on and off for a while. For example when FF2 came out, it was sooo slow on Linux and I went back to my good ol’ Epiphany.

    I like it because the GUI is faster (page rendering should be the same right, because both FF and Epiphany use gecko?). It has some good slim plugins whereas FF’s plugins are slow and bloated. The downsides are that FF has so many plugins you just can’t beat it. All of the web dev plugins etc. And if you use some little obscure web app, they’ve surely made a FF plugin for it if they want anyone to use it.

    If not for plugins, I love Epiphany way more.

  2. nixternal

    Ya, I love Epiphany if and when I am working on Gnome. It is definitely faster and to me is better than FF2. When I am on my typical machines, all KDE, I use Konqueror, and only use Firefox for my banks website just because Konqueror isn’t in their list of allowed browsers.

  3. Lucas

    I’ve been using epiphany for a while as well. Its integration on Linux is much better. It would be great to push for epiphany as default browser …

  4. Tony Yarusso

    I’ve been trying it out, and while I generally like it, it does lack a fair bit of configurability that Firefox offers (either by default or through extensions). For instance, I can’t find any way to configure whether links should open in a new window, new tab, or the current window.

  5. Matt

    I made the move to Epiphany a year or two ago on all my Gnome systems. I find it to be faster, and better integrated into the Desktop (I shun all non GTK application on my Desktops, having a consistent UI across all my apps is a must). I am looking forward to the WebKit backend being more widely available.

  6. Boke

    I use Epiphany cause it’s part of the gnome desktop, and as such it’s well integrated, fast, reliable and simple.

  7. Eric Honaker

    I tried Epiphany on Feisty and didn’t really see the performance boost everyone was talking about. The memory footprint was a little bit smaller, but not very much, and the I couldn’t tell any difference in the page rendering.

    It was an improvement over Konqueror, because the JS menu problems that Konq always gives me weren’t there.

    Firefox isn’t free? What’d I miss?

  8. Jimmy (pak33m)

    Oh gosh, I would love to make Epiphany my default browser but there is one feature holding me back: Tabs at the bottom.

    If it were not for that I would ditch Opera in a minute.

    That is just two cents. If anybody can help I would move right away.

    Jimmy (pak33m)

  9. don

    I’ve tried to use epiphany, but find the implementation slightly buggy. Flash plugins, especially on 64 bit have a tendency to bring down the browser. Also epiphany can be a bit of a hog sometimes. Bookmark import and management is horrible. Frankly while I’d like to use it, I can’t. I have some hope that the webkit backend or firefox 3 integration will address the memory and plugin issues. On the plus side, I love using just the url bar for searches.

  10. Pete

    I’d love for Epiphany to be the default browser for Ubuntu. Users should also be aware that there is an obscure game named “epiphany”, and should remember to use the package named “epiphany-browser”. I choose Epiphany because of the gnomey integration. It just feels more like a regular application, where Firefox seems like it has some special cases.

    I also use Thunderbird for email. Thunderbird seems targetted towards people like me, users with a couple personal mail services. Evolution seems targetted for users in large corporations with specially configured servers.

  11. Andrew Wells

    I use Firefox for my usual browsing because I need the web dev extensions and others. When I need speed, I will use Epiphany.

  12. Mattias Bengtsson

    I use Epiphany since it is the Gnome webbrowser. Firefox just feels out of place in Gnome.
    The epiphany extensions are generally better than the firefox-equivalents too. Epiphany adblock for example is soo much better than the various adblockers in the jungle of extensions for Firefox.

  13. Eduardo de Oliveira Padoan

    You will probably want to install epiphany-extensions too.

  14. Phil Hagelberg

    I am pretty fond of Epiphany and was using it for a long while. I’m back to Firefox now for two reasons: Firefox 3 alpha feels at least as fast as ephy for me and doesn’t suffer from the memory issues that FF2 had, and I’ve become addicted to MozRepl ( for JS development. When Ephy gets Gecko 1.9 and/or webkit I’ll probably switch back for everyday non-development purposes since it does seem more pleasant overall.

  15. cmanon

    FF2 is great for development and a bunch of very useful extensions but is slow. I use Ephy from time to time when I want just to browse the web but as I use different machines with different OSes I can’t live with the google browser sync (