Although everyone seems to agree on the fact that Internet Explorer sucks, the general consensus on the other main Internet browsers is less clear. This post will be comparing the top web browsers so you can make an informed decision about which one you should be using and which ones you should avoid.
For this post, I’m going to stick to web browsers made for desktop use rather than mobile use, since there are a whole other fleet of browsers made just for mobile. If you’re interested in a post on mobile browser comparisons, though, let me know in the comments and I can definitely make a separate post about that as well.
Now, onto the browser comparisons:
The web browsers I’m going to be looking at in this post are: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Waterfox, and Blisk. You’ve no doubt heard of the first few browsers I mentioned, but you might not be familiar with the last couple. They’re not nearly as popular as Chrome and Firefox, but I still wanted to include them and give them a fair shot since popularity isn’t everything and they might very well be just as good as the more famous browsers if given a chance.
Personal Preferences and Biases
Before getting into the comparisons, I wanted to note which browsers I’ve been using the most and which ones I personally like the best. This way, any potential biases of mine are out in the open and you’ll be aware of my preferences as you’re reading what I have to say about each browser.
I own a Macbook Air, and have had other Mac laptops in the past, so I’ve always had Safari at my disposal (since it comes pre-installed on Mac computers), but I’ve never really taken a liking to it. In fact, I actually just deleted it entirely since I never use it and can’t be bothered to have things clogging up my precious computer space.
For the majority of my Internet-browsing years, or at least since it’s been out, I’ve been a fan of Google Chrome and have never really had any problems with it. I’ve never really been one to use Firefox very often, although I’ve never had a problem with Firefox either, but in the past year or so, I discovered Waterfox and have been using that almost exclusively for my day-to-day Internet use. However, I have noticed some problems with this browser. It doesn’t seem to be as compatible with things as the more popular browsers, and this has proved to be very frustrating when I’m working on a website design project and can’t figure out a problem, only to find out it’s simply an issue with browser compatibility.
Since I’ve noticed this (albeit slight) issue with my until-now favorite browser, I’ve been wanting to do some research and figure out which browser I should be using. So enough chit-chat, let’s dive right in!
One of the most notable things about Chrome (besides its popularity) is its speed. It’s constantly being ranked highly among speed-testers and it’s one of the things that makes using Chrome so essential – why would you opt for a slower browser when there’s a speedier one out there?
Google Chrome also doesn’t look too shabby when assessing it for compatibility issues and reliability – since it’s one of the most popular browsers out there, you can count on it consistently being updated and kept up-to-date.
Overall, Chrome is admittedly impressive – it has a lot of features and strengths without many downfalls. However, I still want to explore the other browsers and see if I’ll be missing anything by exclusively using Chrome.
Firefox, to me, seems to have always been the “hipster” of web browsers – it’s never been the most popular, and is used by those who, seemingly, just want to be different.
However, Firefox does have some redeeming qualities. It’s one of the best modern browsers as far as customizability and features go, which is why it’s typically used by people who seem to actually know something about computers, as opposed to your everyday Facebook-Twitter-Youtube-user. Like Google Chrome, Firefox is an extremely popular browser that you can count on to be kept up-to-date and bug-free.
Although there aren’t many negative aspects to Firefox, the positives just don’t seem quite as overwhelming as they did for Chrome – we’ll see if any of the other browsers can measure up.
Safari has one major drawback that’s worth mentioning up front: it’s only compatible with Mac computers, so Windows users can’t use it. Besides simply excluding a huge number of potential users, this lack of compatibility also means that if you’re a web developer, you’re probably going to want to at least test your site/designs on other browsers, since you know a large majority of the population uses Windows and doesn’t even have access to Safari.
Although Safari is by no means a “bad” browser, I can’t think of anything that would be redeeming enough to make up for its exclusivity.
Microsoft has seemingly realized its previous lackluster performance when it comes to Internet Explorer, and has worked hard to make Edge an impressive browser.
Although Opera is one of the least popular web browsers (among the top ones, at least), it has recently gotten some major updates and overhauls that may make it worth your while to pay it some attention – it includes features like an ad-blocker and VPN that are built right in, which are some notable features to say the least.
Opera isn’t totally great on the compatibility front – since it isn’t very popular, some websites might not even test on it, leaving it unreliable at best. Hopefully Opera’s new and future innovative updates will attract more users and eventually make it more popular, but for now, it’s still just one of “those” browsers.
Like I said in the introduction to this post, I’ve been a huge fan of Waterfox, but I’ve recently noticed some compatibility issues that leave me wanting more.
As I’m doing some research on the browser, I’ve noticed that it’s apparently made specifically for 64-bit Windows machines – funny, since I have a Mac but have been loving this browser anyway.
While it is speedy and lightweight, it just doesn’t have enough positive qualities to outweigh the bugginess I’ve experienced when using this browser.
Blisk is made specifically for web developers, and its features really shine in that aspect – one of the most obvious features is that it has a phone-preview screen built right into the browser, so you can test your websites on mobile devices as well as on your desktop without having to pull out your phone.
While it is undeniably cool, this browser really isn’t meant for everyday Internet browsing – it’s primary purpose is for users to take advantage of its web dev tools. I’m still definitely going to keep this installed – you never know when you’ll need to preview your site on a mobile device! – I don’t think it’s going to be my choice for day-to-day use.
All of the browsers I mentioned here had some positives and some negatives – obviously, no browser is going to be perfect, but I think I’ve chosen the one I’m sticking with in terms of everyday casual use, and that’s Google Chrome.
Although I was kind of secretly hoping one of the lesser-known browsers would prove to have some secret advantages, it turns out in this case, the most popular is actually (one of) the best.
I hope this little comparison of Internet browsers helped you to make an informed decision about what browser you should be using, whether it be for everyday use or for taking advantage of innovative features. If you liked this article, feel free to share it on social media or leave a comment letting me know you enjoyed it. Also, again, let me know if you’d like to see a similar post on mobile browsers in the future. Thanks for reading 🙂