In the world of internet browsers you have lots of choices. There are a lot of opinions about which one is the best and which one you should use. This article will give you the highlights and downsides of each browser so that you can make an educated decision to which browsers are right for you.
What browsers are out there?
Currently there are 4 major browsers that make up over 98% of the North American market. (statcounter, June 2010)
1) Internet Explorer 54% Current version: 8
2) Firefox 30% Current version 3.6
3) Safari 8% Current version: 4
4) Chrome 6 % Current version: 5
If you are not using the most current version of any of these browsers you should upgrade to decrease your security risks and ensure that you have the most current features.
Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer has been the most used browser in the world since 1999 when it started to outpace Netscape Navigator as the standard. Since then it has stayed the mainstream leader.
One of the primary benefits with Internet Explorer 8 is its seamless integration into Windows 7. New tabs are automatically shown as separate windows in your taskbar when hovering over the Internet Explorer icon. The other benefit of Internet Explorer 8 is that most web designers have to develop with this browser in mind. This means almost everything supports Internet Explorer 8 and those that do not will probably shortly.
The primary disadvantage of Internet Explorer is that it is considered slower are more resource intensive than other browsers on the market. The other drawback to Internet Explorer is its security. Though it is considered just as secure as other browsers it is more frequently the target of attacks. This means you have to update it more often to keep your version secure.
Firefox 3.6 (4.0 released June 14, 2010)
Firefox is owned and run by the Mozilla Foundation which is a non-profit organization located in California. Firefox has had a host of innovative features which has contributed to its dominance as the “alternative to Internet Explorer” in the market place.
The advantage of Firefox is the speed at which they adapt to the marketplace. They are quick to come out with new features and many of them users are automatically added to your version as soon as they come out. There are also lots of Firefox plug-ins to enhance the internet experience.
The disadvantage to Firefox is that it is still not fully supported by all webware and select websites. Their support is increasing as their market share climbs and most web designers try to accommodate for Firefox.
Safari’s popularity is mostly due to it being standard on all apple computers, though its PC version has gained some popularity.
Safari’s claim to fame is the way it looks, and the way it makes web pages look. The text will look a smoother; the forms will look nice and clear and even the buttons look better. It is also one of the fastest browsers available.
The main disadvantage to Safari is its limited support. Older websites and webware are notorious for having issues with Safari and if you are not web savvy this could be frustrating.
Chrome is one of Google’s many products. It has been increasing market share steadily since its launch in 2008.
Chrome is the fastest and lightest weight browser out there. What this means for you is that web pages will run faster and it doesn’t take a powerhouse computer to run it. In fact, it uses less memory than its competitors. One thing that unique to Chrome is that if one website crashes it doesn’t crash all of the other websites you have open.
The disadvantage to Chrome is similar to Safari, it just isn’t supported by everything. It also has a very limited number of plug-ins.
All four browsers have their place in the market. Some may love the look of Safari, the support of Internet Explorer, the innovation of Firefox, or the speed of Chrome. There is no bad choice. However, there is a choice – so give another one a shot and see what you think!