Choosing a web browser

One of the most common questions you hear, (if you are a computer geek) is “What is the best browser to use?” This is a loaded question. Every operating system comes with at least one web browser. (Some Linux distros will have more than one, I only mention that so I don’t get any heat from the Linux fans out there)

  • Microsoft Windows – Internet Explorer is pre-loaded as part of the installation. There are some parts of the web where only Internet Explorer will work due to the web developer using Active-X controls. (Side note Active X was a method Microsoft tried to get adopted in the late ’90’s, but never really took off.) One of the bad raps that IE gets other than it’s poor security, is the reluctance to adopt the newer technologies on the internet shuck as HTML 5. If you would like to see how your browser scores click here.
  • OS X – Comes standard with Safari. As a point of interest, Safari is based off of the Web-Kit Engine that was released as open source and other browsers are using web kit as their base engine. It should also be mentioned that the newer versions of Safari allow extensions, with the Apple community behind it. There is a lot of cool stuff with it. By the way, did I mention it will also run on Windows. Want to check it out? You can find it here.

Most of the other browsers we will be talking about have both a Windows and OS X version.

All of these browsers have a common set of features such as:Tabbed browsing

  • Modern web pages with HTML, CSS, SSL, and JavaScript
  • Cookies and cookie management
  • Plugins and Java
  • Ad blocking and/or pop-up blocking
  • Download Managers
  • Integrated Search
  • Favorites/Bookmarks and import

So this should save us a bit of time from writing the same thing over and over. Some are more popular than others and for many different reasons. For the record, I am NOT a browser snob, and I encourage everyone to give all of them a fair shot and use the one that works best for you.

  • Mozilla Firefox – The gorilla in the room. FireFox runs on every platform OS X, Windows, and  Linux. If you would like to try Firefox, you can find the installation here. Firefox is a snappy, customizable browser with add-ons and extensions. There are many users both Windows and Macintosh that swear by Firefox. Firefox will allow you to “skin” the browser, so you can make the outer edges appear however you like. As far as add-ons go, there is an entire community built around developing for Mozilla. These add-ons can do everything from telling you the weather to adding purchases to your Amazon wish list. If you like to tinker with the look and feel of your browser, Firefox may be exactly what you are looking for.Click here to get the latest version of Firefox.
  • Google Chrome – Chrome is pretty much the “new kid on the block”  It is runs off of Apples Webkit engine. Since Chrome is a product by Google, as you can imagine there is very heave integration into all of the Google apps. Chrome provides many of the functions that Firefox employs such as skinning and so forth. If you are a Google fanatic (Using google docs, Google +, and so forth. Click here and give it a try.
  • Opera – The last browser I will discuss is Opera. Opera is the “Old Man” of alternate browsers. Opera started in 1996, and has weathered the storms that go into this VERY competitive market. Opera is a very fast and safe browser. Not quite as customizable as some of the others, but it makes up for some of the customizations with speed. If you wan to give Opera a shot, you can find the download here.

So now you have a few choices to look into, if for nothing else than you got tired of the same look every time, you want to fiddle with add-ons, or just to see if you get better speeds.

If you try one, from this article, please put your thoughts in the comments.

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One thought on “Choosing a web browser

  1. I was a Chrome user on all three platforms, although on my Suse Linux laptop it’s really clunky looking. But I moved to Firefox–or, rather, BACK to Firefox–when I needed a better bookmarking solution, and at that time X-Marks was FoxMarks. I also like the AddThis plug in, which I haven’t seen for Chrome yet, and that’s what I use for grabbing a headline and posting to Facebook or Twitter. There probably is something that works as well, but I’m not looking for something to “fix” what isn’t “broken.” I don’t use a ton of extensions in FF, because I have a bandwidth issue both in speed and cap, so there’s no point in being able to do things quickly in the browser. I’d still end up waiting for the web content to arrive. And I know I’m not going to get the full use out of any browser, for that reason alone. It puts me at a bit of a disadvantage as a tech.
    Love the blog!

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