How to view only text from a website
Textise (http://www.textise.net) allows most web pages to be converted into neat text and can be accessed via its home page, a Firefox add-on or a bookmarklet. It's also used by many sites for their "text only" links- see the showcase page at http://textise.wordpress.com/showcase/.
As the developer of Textise, I'm concerned about the phrase "not working so well lately" that appears in another answer!
Textise is up and running (faster than ever) and, as far as I know, experiencing no issues. Please get in touch if you're having problems, via the contact form at textise.wordpress.com. Thanks.
Well, you could use w3m or lynx , or install an extension of some sort. I'd also suggest taking a look at qtweb, which allows easy disabling of all the things i mention later.
You can manually disable things from your browser - Instructions below for FF and chrome - I don't use IE, but i can check if its your browser of choice.
You can disable load images automatically (which will prevent images from loading) - this is under options -> content on firefox or privacy -> content on chrome
And switch all mimetypes to 'always ask' - this is under the applications tab on firefox and i believe handlers under chrome
I would add screenshots, but that would somewhat defeat the purpose of this question ;)
As of 2017, firefox also has reader mode - which seems to give you a text only webpage - however its a little crochety (and dosen't quite work right here), and I'm not sure if it saves any bandwidth. Ironically my internet connection is too fast to really tell.
You can disable image loading in all of the popular web browsers. Opera also has an option to show only cached images.
Ad-blockers are also available as plug-ins/extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. I've only linked to a few popular ones, but others are also available. Opera has a built-in ad-blocking feature.
If you have really limited bandwidth, you might want to consider trying Opera's Turbo mode, whereby a web page is downloaded and rendered on Opera's servers, then an optimized version is sent to your browser. The Kindle Fire's Silk web browser has a feature similar to Opera's Turbo mode.
Many websites have mobile-optimized versions which you can access by replacing www with m or mobile. In addition to being optimized for smaller screens, they are also often optimized for lower-bandwidth connections. For example: m.wikipedia.org.