Quick, what internet browser are you using to read this blog post? And don’t tell me it’s Netscape! If you’ve never bothered to notice the icon you click every day to get to Facebook, take heed. The internet is a colossal, wonderful, and potentially dangerous place, which is why it’s so important to ensure you’re using a modern web browser.
Recently, for each website I create, I've made the decision to redirect all Internet Explorer 6 and 7 traffic to a page suggesting that users upgrade to a modern browser. While this may inconvenience a small percentage of users, I do this to deliver the best possible experience to all who view our site. If you’re not sure if you’re using an appropriate web browser, read on.
“What are my options?”
There are a number of programs you might use in order to access the internet on your computer. If you’re using Windows, some version of Internet Explorer came pre-installed. If you’re a Mac person, the same is true of Safari. If you’ve never ventured outside the world of these stock browsers, you should know you have other options. Namely, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are excellent alternatives.
“Which Browser Should I Use?”
The graphics shown indicate the percentage of consumers using each browser. As you can see, the big four (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari) are pretty evenly split in adoption, and for good reason. Each of these four browsers, provided it is up-to-date, is an excellent option.
A few years ago the vast majority of users accessed the internet through Internet Explorer because it came pre-installed with Windows and because they weren’t offered a clear alternative. Today, consumers have at least four solid options.
Internet Explorer has made leaps and bounds in terms of compatibility and security with the release of IE9 (Microsoft is pretty proud of this in case you haven’t seen the commercials they’ve been running to promote IE9). Firefox, Chrome, and Safari have always had a reputation of being focused on standards-compliance (compatibility) and security, and their respective developers continuously work to make them faster and faster.
My personal opinion is that Firefox and Chrome offer the best balance of speed, security, and compatibility with the latest web technologies. However, any of these four modern programs are viable internet browsers and they’re all completely free.
So if all of these browsers are acceptable, you may be asking yourself…
“Why Does It Matter Which Browser I Use?"
Regardless of which browser you use, it is vital that you have the most up-to-date version.
There are three primary reasons why it’s so important for you, as an internet user, to ensure you’re using an updated browser.
The web has come a long way over the last few years. Advances in web technologies have allowed sites, from Google to Facebook, to become incredibly interactive. But, in order to take advantage of those technologies, you must use a web browser capable of understanding them. Using a modern browser ensures that you are getting the best and most interactive experience possible on each website you visit.
While your internet connection has a lot to do with how fast you can surf the web, often the biggest bottleneck is your computer. As websites add more graphics, video, and interactivity, your PC is faced with more and more code to decipher. Upgrading to the latest browser can make web pages load much faster. If speed is your thing, Google’s Chrome is arguably the fastest browser out there. Give it a try and you may be surprised just how fast your computer really is.
The most important reason to keep your browser up-to-date is to protect yourself from cybercrime. Every day, nefarious hackers and coders work to find holes in software that they can exploit to steal your personal information and infect your computer with malware. Subsequently, the teams behind these web browsers work every day to patch these holes to keep users safe from these cybercriminals. The only way to take advantage of these patches is to update your browser to the latest version.
“How Can I Upgrade?"
Downloading and installing a new browser takes only minutes, and thankfully most modern browsers now make it relatively painless to keep your browser updated. Chrome and Firefox perform most updates automatically (you might not even notice it’s updating). IE and Safari have integrated the update process into Windows and OS X, respectively.
Click any of the links below to download and install the latest version of each browser.Apple Safari
Microsoft Internet Explorer 9