If you spend any amount of time looking at websites, you use a browser. For the non-tech-savvy – your browser is the piece of software on your computer that you use to look at websites. Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera are what are termed the ‘big five’, but there are others too.
Why are you bothered?
As a website designer, I commonly come across people that are using out of date browsers (generally an older version of Internet Explorer). What’s wrong with that? Well several things. Older browsers are:
- Less secure
- Take longer to load up initially
- Take longer to load each web page
- Don’t support some of the newer, nicer ways of styling websites – rounded corners with CSS for example.
The main issue for me is speed – I don’t want to be hanging around waiting for a page to load any longer than I have to!
Not sure what browser you’ve got at the moment?
Take a look at http://whatbrowser.org/ and it’ll tell you. It’ll also tell you whether it’s the latest version, and give you the link to update if it’s not. Also links to download alternative browsers to the one you’re using. The tool is provided by Google (who are also responsible for Chrome), but to give them credit, it’s very useful and not noticeably biased towards Chrome.
So what do I recommend?
As a developer, I develop in Firefox, but also use Chrome for more day-to-day stuff. Chrome is best known for it’s speed, so if you’re spending a lot of time browsing and currently using Internet Explorer 7 or 8, I suggest you give it a go – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how ‘light’ it feels.
That said, for all the horrid (& usually true!) things spoken about the older versions of Internet Explorer, the newest versions (9 and 10) are far superior and also well worth a try. Note that IE10 will only run on Windows 7 and 8.
If you want more detail, there’s a nice comparison on PC Mag here.