Which Web Browser is Best for You?

So many to choose from

In 1991 the very first web browser, WorldWideWeb, was released. Since then, many notable web browsers have been brought to life, including Mosaic, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome. The question is, which web browser is the best for you? This article will focus on the pros and cons of the top four most popular browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer (IE), and Safari.

Firefox

A major benefit of Firefox is its many privacy features. Mozilla Corporation was voted the Most Trusted Internet Company for Firefox’s privacy. Firefox’s innovative feature “Do Not Track” guarantees that you will not be tracked by websites. “Do Not Track” lets a website know that you would like to opt out of being tracked by a third-party. Firefox also includes a Private Browsing feature. This means that your browsing history will not be stored. Its Forget Button will also quickly delete your unwanted browsing history. It also includes automatic security updates and anti-malware features to protect you from potential viruses.

Firefox also has an  option to select which features you would like to add to your customizable panel. Get creative with thousands of themes to personalize your browsing experience! You can also sync your bookmarks, history and passwords across multiple devices. Lastly, according to Tom’s Hardware Web Browser Grand Prix XVI results, Firefox outperformed popular browsers in several independent speed tests.[i]

Even though Firefox is one of the recommended browsers for using Learn, there are some compatibility issues with other sites. Some websites won’t properly show content in Firefox and require to be opened in IE. Also, even though Firefox claims to be the fastest, it’s been noted that having several tabs open at once can cause the browser to freeze and slow down other open programs.[ii]

Chrome

Cut down your browsing time by searching and navigating in the same address box (a quick and efficient Chrome feature for your day-to-day browsing). Type less with Chrome’s quick Autofill feature that works across all devices.[iii] The very popular extension blocks those pesky pop-up ads to keep your browsing fast and ad-free. Also check out Adblock Plus, an open-source, ad blocking extension for all web browsers. You can also sign into Chrome with a Google Account to allow Chrome to sync your bookmarks, apps, extensions, history, and tabs across all platforms. Multiple users can also sync their customizations.

Chrome was the very first browser to have Adobe Flash built in as a feature (as opposed to the user having to separately install it). It will also update Adobe Flash automatically as new versions are released. Chrome also comes installed with a PDF reader and will also allow you to copy and paste text from the PDF and print.[iv]

Similar to Firefox, having multiple tabs open will slow down the browser. Chrome’s interface is also not as simplistic as IE’s interface so it might take a while to get used to where all the features are. Navigation through the multiple personalized settings will also take some practice.

Internet Explorer

Windows is a popular operating system on campus and, conveniently, IE already comes installed with all Windows devices. IE is a great starting browser for people with its simplistic and easy to navigate appearance. The browser will also warn the user when an add-on could potentially slow down the browser’s performance.[v] IE has been highly recommended due to its availability and ease of use across many websites that may not be supported by Chrome or Firefox.

Similar to both Chrome and Firefox, memory usage can be a problem. It was stated that IE is the second heaviest memory user among popular tested browsers. This means that its memory usage could potentially slow down other programs/tabs that you may have open on your computer.[vi] IE may also be less secure than other browsers. For example, annoying ad pop-ups could be a persistent issue,although they can be disabled through Internet Options in the Security tab.

Safari

For all you Apple users out there, Safari’s fast JavaScript engine enhances battery life and performance. Similarly, in the same way thatIE is more compatible for Windows users, Safari is specifically Mac compatible. Safari now supports Netflix (if you need a well-deserved break from studying). Compared to Chrome and Firefox, you can browse for up to two hours longer and watch Netflix up to three hours longer with Safari.

Safari is here to protect your privacy. With private browsing windows, Safari will help prevent websites that you are logged into, from tracking your browsing. Third-party cookies will also be blocked. This will stop them from leaving data stored in your browser cache or database. iCloud is a desirable feature that allows you to surf flawlessly across all your Apple devices, and have access to  your passwords, bookmarks, history, and tabs. Everything is protected with Apple’s robust 256-bit AES encryption.[vii]

While Apple users can benefit from Safari being completely Apple based and meant for Apple machines, Windows users won’t benefit from Safari. Also, it is important to note that some web site images/content won’t display for Safari if the website only supports Windows based browsers.[viii] If third-party add-ons are installed, Safari can sometimes quit unexpectedly, respond more slowly, be unable to download flies, and exhibit other unpredictable behaviour.[ix] Safari also lacks many of the customization options that many of the other browsers offer.[x]

Hopefully, after reading this article you will be able to decide on the right browser(s) for your school year! Good luck and happy studying!

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[i] Mozilla. “Designed to protect your privacy.” Mozilla. Web. June 1. 2015. <https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/desktop/trust/>

[ii] “What are the Pros and Cons of Firefox?” What are the Pros and Cons of Firefox? WiseGEEK. Web. June 1. 2015. <http://www.wisegeek.org/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-firefox.htm>

[iii] “Get a fast, free web browser.” Chrome Browser. Google. Web. June 1. 2015. <https://www.google.ca/chrome/browser/desktop/>

[iv] “Google Chrome 36.”  Google Chrome 36 Review & Rating. PC Mag. Web. June 1. 2015. <http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2373853,00.asp>

[v] “The Goods and Bads of Internet Explorer.” The Goods and Bads of Internet Explorer. Worth of Web. Web. June 1. 2015. <http://www.worthofweb.com/blog/the-goods-and-bads-of-internet-explorer/>

[vi] “Microsoft Internet Explorer 11.” Performance – Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 Review & Rating. PC Mag. Web. June 1. 2015. <http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0%2c2817%2c2427058%2c00.asp>

[vii] “The Best way to see the Sites.” Apple (Canada) – Safari- Browse the web in more powerful ways. Apple. Web. June 1. 2015. <http://www.apple.com/ca/safari/>

[viii] “Pros and Cons between Chrome and Safari?” Apple Support Communities.Apple. Web. June 1. 2015. < https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6066119>

[ix] “Unsupported third-party add-ons may cause Safari to unexpectedly quit or have performance issues.” Unsupported third-party add-ons may cause Safari to unexpectedly quit or have performance issues. Apple Support. Web. June 1. 2015. < https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT203353>

[x] “Safari 8.” Safari 8. Safari Review 2015 – TopTen REVIEWS. Web. June 1. 2015. < http://internet-browser-review.toptenreviews.com/safari-review.html>

[xi] [Internet]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://scsystems.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/iStock_Web-Internet.jpg