The standard definition of a web browser is this – a software app that allows you to access the web.
So, what makes one browser better than the other? How do you decide which one to choose? And what are the metrics you should consider to compare web browsers?
Let’s dive in:
#1. Internet Explorer
Most people agree that the Internet Explorer is a pain to use and needs an upgrade, but you might want to use Internet Explorer for testing older websites. In case you have a Mac, you would also need to look into installing it, which is not a straightforward process.
To get started with windows explorer for macs, you could either need to simulate the experience on Safari or use a virtual machine. You can implement either method with guided instructions, but you should consider other browsers for your Mac for all other intents and purposes.
Pros of Internet Explorer
- Compatible with older websites
Cons of Internet Explorer
- Lacks features
- UI is not optimized
- Slow browser
- Does not get active updates
Verdict: Avoid Internet Explorer unless you have to test websites
#2. Mozilla Firefox
Firefox is an open-source alternative. Open source means that developers can easily add their own extensions, increasing the browser’s efficacy.
Firefox is not the best for speed, but it makes up for it with great user privacy and security.
Pros of Firefox
- It is not resource-hungry
- The extension library is good
- Tight integration with the Pocket app
- Cross-device compatibility and seamless syncing
Cons of Firefox
- Slower compared to other browsers
- The start page has a lot of ads
- Too many extensions can slow down the browser
Verdict: Firefox is a great choice since it is not built on Google’s Chromium engine. It takes the lead in privacy and security and is generally trusted by users.
#3. Microsoft Edge
The default browser on Windows, Microsoft Edge, is an upgrade over Internet Explorer, but it lacks features and offers a poor user experience compared to other browsers.
It is built on Google’s Chromium engine and loads fast on Windows, making it a good default web browser.
Pros of Microsoft Edge
- It is a fast browser
- Clear privacy settings
- Allows you to save websites as apps that you can run without opening the browser.
Cons of Microsoft Edge
- Works great on Windows but not Mac
- The extension library is limited
Verdict: It can be used as the default browser on Windows. Not recommended for Mac.
#4. Google Chrome
According to StatCounter Global Stats, Chrome is the most used browser accounting for 63% of the browser market share.
Google Chrome leads the way in speed and customization options. It is not entirely open-source, but just like Firefox, many extensions have been built by developers.
It syncs across all devices seamlessly and is secure. However, privacy is a significant pitfall with Chrome since Google has faced several issues with data privacy.
Pros of Google Chrome
- Fastest browser
- Over 150,000 extensions
- Flash is integrated into the browser
- Security is good
- Auto-fill features work well
Cons of Google Chrome
- Resource hungry
- Collects a lot of data from users
Verdict: Use it if you don’t have qualms about privacy since it is nearly the best in every other aspect.
The default browser on macOS and iOS devices is Safari, and for a good reason. Safari has been built to work really well with Apple’s hardware. If you have a Mac, you should consider not switching to any other browser because of how well it performs on Mac.
It loads fast (second fastest to Chrome), has clear privacy and security settings and the design and performance are great on Mac.
Pros of Safari
- Integration with Apple’s ecosystem
- Fast loading
- Privacy settings prevent user tracking
Cons of Safari
- Lacks customization features like Chrome
- Not as fast as Chrome
- Cross-device sync is not possible
Verdict: Stick to Safari on a Mac to have an optimal experience. The second best choice on a Mac is Firefox.
Final verdict: Choose the right browser
Out of all the browsers, Google Chrome comes out on top, given its functionality and customization. The only area where it lacks is data privacy, which is a major factor to consider when using Chrome.
For Windows, the default web browser, Microsoft Edge does a great job, and for Mac, Safari should be your number one choice.
Firefox is a great option for both Mac and Windows if you want a good browser with great privacy and security settings. You may have to sacrifice speed here.
If these do not meet your needs, you can consider other open-source alternatives like Opera and Brave.
Ultimately, you should choose based on these three metrics:
- Design and performance
- Privacy and security
- Customization and flexibility
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.