How Do Web Browsers Make Money?

We use web browsers every day in order to use the Internet. Either to make a research, have fun or watch some videos. And yet every day we may discover a new web browser again. Why everyone is making a web browser these days? Is it even profitable? The answer is YES! Web browsers are a high-profit business that makes a lot of money. Let’s see how it happens!

But before then we get directly to the point, we should start from the basics. Let’s detail the technical side (don’t worry we will not go through some hard geek jargon, just the essentials) and then see the financial side of web browsers.

I-The Technical side of web browsers

1.What’s a web browser?

A web browser, an Internet browser or even what we commonly call simply a “browser” is any software that make it available for you to access the Internet. To explore all kind of content that is available in the World Wide Web: images, videos, news, written articles, blogs, books..etc or even to do some shopping through Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress or whatever else.

To access to that particular article, you had to open your browser before to reach it. (Unless you are reading it through facebook app or another one.)

The most popular web browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera and the most trolled one and famous lord: Internet Explorer.

Here is a geographical statistic of the most used web browser per zone for the last July 2015:

Browsers utilization map

Map Legend

Credits: StatCounter.

But there is a way more than only these actual browsers.

2.Most of web browsers that exist

Mozilla FirefoxMozilla Firefox:

Made by the Mozilla Foundation. Totally open source and the biggest rival of Google Chrome. One of the rarest browsers nowadays that don’t consume all the RAM of your computer (unlike Chrome, Opera..etc).


Google Chrome:Google Chrome

The browser made by the giant of Tech: Google. Chrome was publicly released in December 2008 and has by now the biggest amount of users through the world.


Internet Explorer:

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge

The browser that many grew up with and now everyone is making fun of it. Internet Explorer is the browser made by Microsoft  and which has been stopped by July 2015 (exactly the  29th of July, the date of the release of Windows 10) which came with a new browser “Microsoft edge”. I feel that it’s the same…




Has great features and performs decently when we compare it to the other big names, but strangely it is not used a lot, the number of users is too small.




The official browser that came with all apple products, either in the IOS or the Mac OS. Has some great features two, and it has made it name between the big references as browsers too.


UUC BrowserC Browser:

A web browser that is yet not popular at all may be, but it has some great features and came with some options that would need add-ons to work for many other browsers but in this one they are available from the start. (like a video downloader…)

Torch:Torch Browser

A web browser that is based on Google Chrome. You can use apps from the Chrome web store and you can even download torrents directly in this browser!


MxNitro:MxNitro Browser

A browser that is between the fastest browsers that exist. It even declare itself as the actual fastest browser. It also comes with a bunch of features like the availability to see what each page look like concerning all the results of a search query in search engines, you get even the ability to navigate through them without going directly to the link, just from the preview that you get.

Fluid:fluid browser

For OS users too, it makes you able to turn every website that you use/like to make it as a simple app that will open a web browser directly and only for the concerned website you chose before.

Prism:Mozilla prism browser

Exactly like Fluid, except this one is available for everyone and it’s from Mozilla Labs.



Maelstrom Browser -BitTorrent

This is a web browser from Bittorrent. It’s still in beta, and it’s a project where they intend to build a “truly neutral, content-friendly network”. This browser is working with the same technology that we can find in the “torrents”. By using it you are not simply a user of the Internet, but you are definitely a part of it! Which makes it almost impossible to suffer from any kind of prohibited websites, since there will be no central authority. And also it affects the speed and makes it better.

Cosmos:Cosmos browser

This is an upcoming browser destined for people from developed countries. It will be able to work without The internet. You type the link of the website that you want to visit, and you will get the text content of that website via SMS directly to your phone. This browser is still in development.



Built on Firefox and completely open source. Principally destined to Linux users.




Exactly like Swiftweasel in many aspects, the only difference is that it’s not open source.




Dolphin:Dolphin Browser

A browser that comes with many features such voice search and one tap sharing. It’s still available only for Android and IOS.




Another browser from the Mozilla foundation, this one is the core that will next help to make the Mozilla Firefox that we have now.

Adblock Plus browser:adblock plus browser

This a browser made by the company ABP -AdBlock Plus-. The browser is going to be against all ads that you may find in any website and will turn them off. The project is still in the Beta phase.



This is a scripted browser, without a graphical interface, and made for automation navigation. Too hard …


SRWare browserSRWare:

This is a web browser based on the Google Chrome code source. But it’s optimized for privacy and security.



And the list still goes on….

All of this just to prove to you how much there are too much web browsers out there. They can’t be all made just for charity purposes, if a web browser can’t generate at least an income for its own survival it will be a project that engage money without generating income back. A project that make losses for the company. In the 21th century, there is no company at all that thinks that way.

Let me show you how the browsers are not a waste of money. In fact, they can be a real gold mine!

II-The Financial side of web browsers

1.How Web browsers make money?

The principal source of revenue for any web browser that you might think of come through royalties, which are  principally of advertisement (for projects like the Adblock plus browser I will discuss it toward the end).

But how exactly through Advertisement?

Every web browser came with a default search engine. Do you think they chose this specific search engine to be their default one just because they love it? Well, I am sorry to disappoint you but it’s almost never the case.

Web browsers cut deals with search engines in order to in exchange of money the search engines will have a chance to be used by one of the users of the web browser. That way both the web browsers and the search engines make money.

So every search engine that came by default in the web browser already installed is a search engine that already cut a deal with the browser’s company.

Let’s analyze the web browser Mozilla Firefox:

Firefox came with the search engines that are: Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Amazon, and eBay.  Amazon and eBay are for looking for products in these two marketplaces. All the rest are search engines who are looking for users in orders to make money through the search queries (remember how search engines make money).

The actual default search engine of Firefox is Yahoo. It was google for many years before. Back in 2011, Firefox made $104 million through royalties collected from the search box (advertisement from search engines and affiliate marketing through Amazon and eBay). It represented 97% of the revenue of that year, and the biggest part of it (86% $85 million) was paid from the default search engine at that time: Google.

note: The 3% left came from social contribution and donation since Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization, and also from the fees they collect from the app Marketplace.

Of course these huge numbers that Google paid are not too much money considering the revenue that Google used to make through it.

According to the last financial report that Mozilla released. In 2013, the browser brought to Mozilla $314 million. 97% again was as royalties. And  $ 275 million came from the default search engine, back at that time.

For the actual and following years, Mozilla’s browser defined the new default search engine as Yahoo! Many consider that having a deal with Yahoo! would be a loss for Mozilla but no matter what the search engine that will pay is, they are always making more and more money through this way. (compare the numbers of 2011 and 2013 when in both case the deal was with Google. There is an increase of  323.5%!)

That’s how most of web browsers make money.

Now, how Google may make money through its browser when it’s itself a search engine?

Google didn’t engage charges to create and advertise the browser “Google Chrome” just to have its own browser and improve the brand presence. No at all! Try to start thinking that way, every company that is owning, or making  a web browser  it’s only in order to make money from it. A LOT OF MONEY.

Google make money through Chrome by “Saving” money. Instead of spending  $275 million to be the default search engine in Mozilla Firefox like back in 2013, they will simply save that money. Just imagine how much  they saved when they didn’t pay as much to be the default search engine for any web browser.

Also, Google has it’s very known Advertising program “Adsense”. This program is very interested in the users of google data. Through Google Chrome, Google collects some information about the users in order to serve them better-adequated ads. The more the users are satisfied and comfortable with the Ads, the more they will tolerate them and the more Google will make money through them.

Finally, how is a browser that is definitely against all kind of Ads is going to be able to make money?

The browser that ABP is making can’t rely on any royalties from search engines. (Unless they start tolerating some Ads from the most trusted networks, but that would be like a hit in the back for their actual users and fans) So what is it left? Affiliate Marketing. Since it’s the only way to make money without having to bother users with annoying ads. And at the long term that’s the only way a company totally against advertisement can start making money.

They can’t rely on contributions forever. Unless they realize the same success as Wikipedia… The internet is such a wonderful and powerful place. Who knows…?

That’s it! I mentioned all the ways that web browsers make money with. No matter if it’s a browser owned by a non-profit organization (Mozilla Firefox), or of a huge tech company (Google Chrome) or even of an organization that it’s against Advertisement (ABP browser). I hope that you liked it and that I explained it well.

If there is any question or information that you see untold or treated and you want to talk about, just feel free to say it in the comments below.

Financial reports of Google for 2014 and 2015  and Mozilla for 2011 and 2013