Monday 07 July, 2014

Web Browsers – A Comparison of the Big 4

Which web browser is the best? There is absolutely no clear answer to this question. Ask on any online forum and you’ll end up with a thread of endless arguments over which is the best. Each browser is different and offers different functions, perks and downsides. Here is a quick rundown of the major four. I don’t go into great detail here, but please use this summary to choose one, and then read more about it or try it before you decide.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is the old standby that beat out Netscape in the 90s and since then has ruled the roost. It continually adds new state-of-the-art features, such as the ability to define or translate text by simply clicking it. One of the reasons for IE’s enduring popularity is that it has intuitive menus and handy tools that make it easy to use. It’s perfect for those who are not particularly high-tech.

Even though it’s somewhat standard, there are many problems with Internet Explorer. The most serious problem is that it’s the least secure of the big four. It takes Microsoft forever to fix bugs and weaknesses, which makes you more vulnerable to malware attacks if you use it. It also has compatibility issues with certain websites.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is simple and fast. Many consider it the most powerful of the major web browsers. The simplicity is one of its strong points, but if you’re coming to Google Chrome from Internet Explorer, the lack of clear menus and icons may make it tricky. Google Chrome has built-in Flash and PDF support and one of its coolest features is that you can integrate your preferences across all of the devices where you use it.

Like IE, Chrome has some compatibility issues. With its simplicity, it doesn’t have as many add-ons as other browsers. It also tends to hog memory when you have too many windows open. I recommend Google Chrome for users who want something a bit more advanced than IE but not too advanced.


Firefox is popular among techies and advanced web surfers because it’s so customizable. There is a huge variety of add-ons and extensions you can use to customize it to your tastes. This is because it’s an open-source browser. The later versions of Firefox are also very fast.

Like Google Chrome, Firefox can be a memory hog and run slow. It may not load on some sites. Like Internet Explorer, it has some security issues. All of this is related to its open source nature. It’s an ideal browser for tech-savvy users.


Safari is a web browser for Macs and it’s very good compared to other major browser. It’s simple, stable, fast and it doesn’t use much memory. It has few security issues and is quite intuitive to use.

If you’re a techie, Safari may be a bit basic for you. It has no add-ons and extras, so there’s little you can do in the way of customization.

I recommend giving one of these other browsers a test drive to see what suits. Don’t forget that there are also many smaller browsers that are excellent as well.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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