Best free PrinceXML alternative – Headless Chrome

December 27th, 2018 / by api2pdf /


PrinceXML is a popular library for converting HTML to PDF. It is often touted as the “best” HTML to PDF conversion tool currently on the market. However, it comes with an unbelievably hefty price tag of $3800 for installation on a single server. This is game over for most companies.

Free Alternative to PrinceXML – Headless Chrome

Chrome browser released its headless version a couple years ago and it instantly became a hit for developers. Since it uses the Chrome browser engine, it does a great job of converting HTML to PDFs.

Getting started with headless chrome

Headless Chrome is open source and you can use it on as many servers as you’d like, commercially too.


There are two valid criticisms of Headless Chrome that would make PrinceXML more attractive.

  1. Prince is lightweight and faster
  2. Prince has better Print CSS support

The latter might be debatable in 2019 though as browsers catch up.


PrinceXML was a great PDF rendering engine. The only competition was wkhtmltopdf, another open source converter tool. There was no doubt that Prince was better than wkhtmltopdf, but now that Headless Chrome has been released, Prince can no longer justify it’s huge price tag.

Further more, it is unclear if it is even possible to run PrinceXML on AWS Lambda, and if so, how much that would cost. AWS Lambda is a function-as-a-service solution provided by Amazon web services.

API2PDF runs Headless Chrome on AWS Lambda so developers can scale to millions of PDFs at a fraction of the cost. This is by far the best solution out there.

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