We come across this question many times with our clients. In this post we break it down to explain why a good web browser is important, compare the differences between today’s most popular browsers, and finish with a recommendation for which one to use.
What is a browser?
A browser, short for web browser, is the program that the computer uses to view web pages and browse the Internet. The most popular browsers are:
- Microsoft Internet Explorer – comes with every Windows PC and is Windows only
- Mozilla Firefox – downloadable to any Mac or PC
- Google Chrome – downloadable to any Mac or PC
- Apple Safari – comes with every Mac, downloadable to any Mac or PC
All the browsers above share the following essential features
- Ability to accept a URL (more commonly called a web address) such as www.genesiscomp.net and open the web page
- Bookmark or favorite (exact term used depends on the browser) a web page for quick access later on
- Start a search engine query with a dedicated search box/area built into the browser’s interface
- Save usernames/passwords for websites with login pages, if the site allows it (a bank for example, does not allow the password to be saved for security purposes)
- Have a privacy mode that prohibits saving browsing history for that session
If they have so much in common, what sets the browsers apart?
There are three key features that set the browsers apart:
- Speed – Two browsers loading the same web page on the same computer can load at different speeds due to efficiency (or inefficiency) in how the computer runs the web browser and how the web browser processes code from the web site. In other words, two different cars may have wheels and an engine but one may run better than the other.
- Security – Web browsers, like any program, have potential security holes in their code or the way they process information from the web.
- Extras – additional functionality can come from extras known as plugins (Firefox), extensions (Chrome/Safari) and add-ons (Internet Explorer). This could be something as simple as a toolbar that displays the latest headlines, or as complex as actively blocking advertisements from displaying on the webpage.
Ok, so which one should I use?
Without going into technical comparisons (there are many websites that do that), we will simply say Google Chrome is our browser of choice. It is one of the fastest browsers across the board and has our favorite extensions Ad Block and HTTPS Everywhere for security and privacy (malicious ads, especially pop ups, are frequently the sources of viruses). it has a simple layout that is easy to learn and use. There are advanced features in Chrome that will benefit Gmail users, Android users, and anyone who has Chrome on a mobile device. Download Google Chrome and see for yourself.
Do you have additional questions? Feel free to comment below!