Best Web Browser

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ZouG

For years, I've been using Chrome along with Firefox. I dropped Chrome recently though. Why? I'm so upset it does not open web pages and crashes too often. Reinstalling and finding remedies to fix it, nothing works just the same. Still wondering why...

I installed Maxthon and, to my surprise, it's amazing! Fast start-up and the rendering works just fine. My son loves it actually.

Safari could have been the perfect browser for me if only Apple give some time and resources to upgrade it. Just so disappointing they don't bother to further develop it. This browser looks so clean and simple, not to belittle its helpful features.

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kanehi

How come Maxthon wasn't evaluated. It's the most used browser in Asia.

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Shillos

Paul Lilly: Your browsers are far older versions. The current versions are 3-4 versions higher than the one's you mentioned in your post. Now with full implementation of the new webrtc technology too. Incase you missed this one!

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KenLV

Well, "Incase (sic) you missed this one!" - As noted not only in the article, but HERE in the comments section as well, this, like all articles from the magazine, is several months old.

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Eoraptor

read the footer and the front page, this article is also three to four months old, from the magazine print edition.

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highsidednb

I've just dropped Chrome after years of loyal use. It's become a real resource hog when opening up new pages or when navigating. The main problem is that it causes massive stuttering on any audio or video that's playing at the time.

I've tried everything from tweaking flags, testing extensions, turning on/off PAPI MPAPI stuff, it's a real mess. I've tried every permutation of media player as well-from winamp to WMP to mediamonkey, etc. I've even switched out audio cards. Luckily, I don't have any of those problems with Mozilla or IE 11. It's also not Avast's various real-time protections.

Chrome started becoming a resource hog a few years ago and I've had it. I don't know why having four or five tabs open should cost close to a gig of RAM...

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thematejka

Nice guide, those were pretty good summaries of each major browser.

As a web designer, I've been through and adopted all of these browsers at some point. My latest favorite is Chrome and is sure to stay...

As a designer, I HATE Safari and Opera. Opera now renders the same as Chrome, but not exactly the same. There are some convoluted css workarounds at times. I could say almost the same thing for Safari, though I am more pissed at Apple's abandonment of Windows. None of my designer friends think about Safari anymore - code for IE, Chrome, and Firefox. It's the end-users fault if something isn't working in this regard, Opera and Safari have such a minimal market share and impact on important web-users. I don't mean to segregate Apple and Opera users, it's just that the other browsers encompass so much more market.

Surprisingly, I do not hate IE. Yes, I have to make workarounds for it that I don't for Chrome, but IE often fails designers for being too precise. The rendering engine is too literal, which is where Chrome excels for designers. You can plug in some bad code and Chrome will still spit out what you want. IE kind of keeps you writing to coding standards in HTML and CSS.

As HTML5 and CSS3 catch on, IE is getting more and more compatible. Firefox is doing decently too. Chrome, of course, will always be a winner in my mind. Chrome is easy to code for, the plugins, addons, and widgets are in wealth, and it's pretty darn fast. In any case, when IE or Firefox can't do something, I can usually find a script to convert the incompatible CSS.

I go by a simple rule: Code web pages for Chrome first, then see how you can make Firefox and IE match it when they don't display the same thing.

Now the real question is not which browser is best, but which users regularly update their browser?! IE 8 users I'm looking at you.

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davidtb

1st rebel browser that gained some footing against IE,Still use, control familiarity mostly,gone to chrome, its a little speedier, but `fox much more familiar, and faster than before.

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Eoraptor

I am still quite happy with Firefox. the only thing they've done recently to tick me off is to unify the behavior of the search and address bars. Prior to v22. I could search google form the URL, and leave the search bar dedicated to wikipedia or some other service. Now there's not a lot of point because the behavior of one dictates the other.

In a few more paranoid moments I also have Commodo Dragon installed, which is a modified Chromium build, but its hardly a daily driver, and now that Google has decided that Chrome Prime MUST install only apps from its own store and nowhere else, i don't know where that is going to leave Chromium.

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Scatter

I'm assuming that this story is an old copy from the magazine since it reviews Firefox v23 and we're currently at v27.0.1

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KenLV

No need to assume, just read the entire article and know:

Note: This article was originally featured in the December 2013 issue of the magazine.

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Scatter

That used to be posted at the beginning of the article.

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Eoraptor

it also still appears on the front page in italics.

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maverick knight

I've been with chrome for quite a while now after trying other browsers. The reason to move from IE was because it seemed slow on some websites and not load certain content. I though finally that it could be the browser and have been switching around from Firefox and IE back in 2009 (I have a feeling that Windows Vista had something to do with performance too).

You really need to get use to the browser first and then decides which features and layout of things suites you more. I don't thing one browser fits all situations, that's why I am glad that there are so many to choose from. Right now, as good as Chrome is they changed the "New Tab Page" to the pint that it is just useless compared to previous versions. And removed the flag that could revert to the old version. Chrome is trying to push users to use extensions and I don't like that. Sure there are good extensions but I just prefer the previous NTP.

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John Pombrio

It comes down to the one that you use is the best. Getting add-ons, learning shortcuts, haiving a sidebar, and familiarity count a lot more than speed, how it handles tabs, etc. I have three installed and occasionally use them for different websites, doing HTML, etc.

As a tool, the winner is Chrome. My son, the other doctoral candidates, and my son's professor adviser at Brown all use Chrome. They also use Linux more than any other OS (none use Windows). It says a lot about a browser when power users like these heavy hitters are all in agreement.

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bjoswald

I find myself using Linux more often too. There's nothing wrong with Windows, I just don't need it anymore.

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aarcane

You restart the numbers on power-user tips repeatedly in this article. You should check your OL tags, or your word processor. You also change formatting of the number points.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

I'm not tellin ya wut I use

ITS A SECRET!

but it doesn't take bitcoins...

AND IT DOESN'T TAKE AMERICAN EXPRESS!!!

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AFDozerman

A street hooker?

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Shalbatana

I currently use the 64 bit version of "Nightly" (firefox). It's been rock solid and super-fast. I have no desire to try others.

My personal experience with chrome left me feeling it was quirky and uninspiring. (okay I admit "uninspiring" is a silly word to review a web browser with, but it fits the best. However I admit I haven't used it excessively often.

There was a time when FF seemed to be really buggy as well. It was slow, then when they were speeding it up to match chrome's speed it got all glitchy. It's better now, but the nightly iteration is still my preference.

IE was a propritial mess for so long and screwed up so many sites because they all programmed specifically for it. I have to admit it's much better now but still has some annoying issues (why does it ask me every single time I open it to speed it up by turning off plugins...especially when there are none installed). It reeks of MS still not being in touch with what it's users want.

I've never liked Opera. It's always seemed limited and buggy, far behind the leaders, even on Macs. I've stopped trying the other lesser-known browsers as I see no need and never found one as good as the leaders.

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Perplexing Man

I was using firefox since before firefox 4 was available. Back then it was in my opinion the better browser to use over IE. For years I have used firefox and I never had any problems with the browser.

When Chrome first came around I tried it and I didn't like it. Much to my surprise though as of last year I tried Chrome once more and I have since left firefox and have no plans of returning anytime soon.

I used to be a die hard firefox fan however these days I prefer chrome. For me chrome just flat out performs better in every aspect than firefox does these days.

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Baer

I went from IE to FF some years ago and about two years ago when I tried the Win 8 beta I just stayed with IE. I liked it and put IE back on all our Win 7 machines.
I did try Chrome as it was pushed on my without me knowing which is one of my biggest complaints about it. It seemed fast but I also found that if I looked up a product I started getting junk mail about that product.
I run a volunteer computer help class locally and one of the biggest complaints we have been getting from many average knowledge computer users is "How did I get this new browser? I want my old one back!!" I do not believe the Chrome usage numbers as I honestly believe that the Chrome browser has been foisted on many users who did not want it and who do not know how they got it and who, for the most part do not know how to remove it and restore IE to full function ability. While Chrome seems be a decent browser the policy of hiding it in normal updates for commonly used apps and not making the download and installation of the browser and/or the Google toolbar a matter of choice instead of a sneak in install casts great doubt on its true market share.

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grimus58

Maxthon Cloud Browser is the best but you's never review it,look it up html5test. Comodo Dragon is a chrome based browser and way better then google chrome.

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bjoswald

I use to care about which browser is the best, but then I realized that it's all personal preference. The only difference between them is how they look.

That said, Firefox hasn't failed me. Then again, Netscape always was IE's biggest competitor anyway. ;)

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Granite

I use a number of different browsers for a number of different sites and reasons, but my go-to, for years, has been Opera.

I didn't really like the loss of the bookmarks manager. That stash is okay for sites that I want to keep temporarily...to check out at another time...but is not really suitable for the hundreds of bookmarks that I have. Sure, Opera kind of brought back that bookmarks bar, but that's not much different than the stash. There's still not much organizing ability available.

I've always liked the speed dial and being able to group sites on the speed dial helps a lot. But that doesn't take the place of the bookmarks manager, either.

So...what I do is run both the old version of Opera...with all my collected bookmarks...and the new version with its stash. I have two monitors, so I can even have both open and available at the same time. It works for me.

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maleficarus™

I have been using IE since I have been using computers. I have never once tried another browser and have no plans on it either...

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grimus58

duh

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pastorbob

I stayed with IE through version 10 because for me the speed differences were never that noticeable in my day to day usage. Over the years I tried different ones but always went back to IE for various reasons. But when IE 11 came out it broke many of my frequented websites. So I switched to Chrome and haven't looked back since. It's fast and works with all of the sites I use. That's good enough for me.

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drayzen

Just tested my old Opera (12.16 Build 1860) on html5test.com and it beats IE11, scoring 392, what a POS IE is.
Do MS even know web standards exist?
What can IE do well, score preposterously high scores in proprietary benchmarks, ooohh!!!...

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Arnulf

I use Firefox 3.6.28. When they (Mozilla) figure out how to make their 4.0.27 look and behave the way 3.x did, I'll consider the upgrade ... but thus far they have been going down the Microsoft path (deliberately completely remove features that users find useful because they "know better" than their users) and I'm not going to follow.

As for the others ... just meh. Chrome is a bloatware that makes even the worst FF 3.x with largest memory leaks look like the best application ever, plus (just like latest FF and IE) it is completely tab-centric, which is plain retarded (my OS - Windows - supports tabs intrinsically so I don't need YET ANOTHER LINE OF TABS just for frikkin webpages).

When are the retards who are making the UI decisions going to realize that users don't want their applications dumbed down and have their featured removed?

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vrmlbasic

Having experienced Google's changes to their web UI for Gmail and their changes to Android I don't think that they'll ever learn.

The "Fisher Price" UI trend is still going strong :(

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Renegade Knight

Good word. I've been using "Dumbed down fat finger interface". Fisher Price nails it.

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vrmlbasic

The lack of optimization and multithreading really bothers me about Firefox but I still like it the best.

...Browsers in general need options to stop all auto-playing video. Making Flash click-to-activate (which should be a default in FF) helps but it doesn't stop em all.

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JosephColt

Browser speed isn't really an issue to me because a few milliseconds of a difference is hardly an inconvenience. I use Firefox because I like how it looks, it's setup, add-ons, and well that's pretty much it.

I will say chrome feels a bit more snappy, and I use it on occasion, but Firefox is my personal favorite. Also have to say that IE seems fairly good these days as it is simple, clean, and works well overall.

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Engelsstaub

Safari isn't that great on OS X either IMO. For those who want to sync bookmarks and stuff across multiple devices Chrome is a better choice. I think the only thing Safari does well on OS X is Netflix and (as you mentioned) the Reading List feature.

Internet Exploder isn't any better. The default OSes in Windows and OS X will never be cross-platform enough for users of Android (or Windows users who have an iOS device) to take them seriously.

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AFDozerman

I used to be a diehard opera fan, but after switching to blink, I went vanilla Firefox. There is still so much that hasn't been reimplimemted in it that I miss. It not being the fastest never bothered me, either. I have a decently fast computer, and the half second more that it takes to render just didn't bother me. Same for Firefox now. The features more than make up for that half second of missed life.

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vrmlbasic

Blink killed opera for me as well. When I think Google, I don't think well-optimized code (or well designed UIs or, really, anything good). This article says that Opera switched to Blink so that its team could focus on "security". In a way, I guess that makes sense: would-be hackers can just buy Opera user info directly from Google now, which is much easier than hacking the web browser.

"Google" + "security" = ROFL.

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Papaspud

I switch browsers fairly often just to try them out, but my favorite is Opera next. It does have the bookmarks back, and I like the way it renders the pages better than the others, just looks sharper on W8.1. They are all pretty good though, each has it's strong points.

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SirGCal

At this point it's just what browser you like. (accept for IE, I would never use something built into the OS with accesses like that). As for Chrome, Firefox, etc. it's just what you like or what one has the addons you use now. I use too many in Firefox to give it up now for a measurement only specific benchmark.

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devin3627

i was using Opera until i get a got a virus using it because i thought i was immune. opera is still the best but i suffered a bit of incompatibility and realized that having macromedia flash and java up to date is what was most important besides browser updates.

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Insula Gilliganis

For the past few years I was using SRWare Iron, a browser "based on the Chromium-source and offers the same features as Chrome - but without the critical points that the privacy concern." But a few months ago it kind of flaked out on me during an update, so I decided to try another Chromium-source browser called "Torch" which I have found to be a very good substitute for Iron and Chrome. It has built-in torrent capabilities and media grabber (one click download of YouTube videos as well as ability to extract YouTube audio) as well as other features. Haven't had any problems, especially when I updated it.

Strictly anecdotal, a few weeks ago my teenage son was complaining that YouTube was REALLY slow. After a few minutes examining his Windows 8 laptop, I noticed that his default browser was IE 11 instead of Chrome. Once I made Chrome the default browser, my son didn't complain any more about YouTube videos being slow.

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Baer

And who owns You Tube? Why is that a surprise?

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Eoraptor

While it's true that Chrome is optimized to run a bit better on goog services, it's more down to HTML5 and Flash handling. All the other browsers tend to do both faster than IE, which is burdened down with a bunch of legacy proprietary trash going back to the bad old days of IE 6. (see also Compatibility mode)