THE PROS AND CONS OF DIFFERENT WEB BROWSERS

November 04, 2020

THEY ALL DO THE SAME THING, BUT WHAT SETS THEM APART?

Browsing the internet?

Chances are it’s going to be through one of a few different platforms.

Web browsers are a central part of our lives so you probably want to make sure you’re using the right one for you.

Of course, they all basically do the same thing. But each big player has some subtle differences and some pros and cons to consider.

Who knows, these might persuade you to try something new.

Below we look at the 3 main players in the web browser market and briefly mention a few others.

We won’t be mentioning Internet Explorer. We don’t recommend using that at this point. So, we’ll leave it at that.

First up…

MOZILLA FIREFOX

For a long time, this was the main competitor to Internet Explorer. It presented an open source, flexible alternative.

This meant developers could add their own extensions, increasing the scope of what was possible with the browser.

Since Google Chrome came onto the scene it has lagged in popularity due to slower speeds however, its most recent updates have pretty much rectified these issues.

It also has a big focus on privacy and Mozilla have added a number of first party add-ons to improve browser security.

The fact that it’s the only cross platform browser that isn’t built on Google’s Chromium engine, is also a major plus.

Many are concerned about Google’s monopoly of the internet and what that means for access to information and privacy of data. Not only do they have the most popular browser but their tech is behind most other ways of accessing the internet.

Firefox is therefore the overwhelming first choice when it comes to trust and user data. It’s also a pretty good browser. Here’s some more pros and a few cons to consider.

PROS

  • Doesn’t use up too many system resources.
  • Good extension library. Some popular extensions have recently been integrated as standard features.
  • Native integration of Pocket (read later) app.
  • Good cross compatibility and syncing across devices.

CONS

  • Still slightly slower than rivals.
  • Landing page has too many ads and links.
  • Plugins can make it lag if there’s too much going on.

MICROSOFT EDGE

This is now Windows default browser, rising like a phoenix out of the ashes of Internet Explorer. Although the latter isn’t quite gone yet, it will be in 2021.

And to be fair to Windows, they’ve pulled it out of the bag with this.

Edge is a cross platform browser meaning, you can get it on Mac, iOS and Android and it’s actually pretty good.

Built on Google’s Chromium engine it is super-fast and if you are using it on Windows, it integrates seamlessly with programs like OneNote.

It does lack some of the key features of its competitors and there’s a couple of annoying limits to the user experience but it is still pretty new, so it could potentially grow into a very powerful browser.

At least as a default, if you aren’t interested in changing, it’s a pretty good option.

PROS

  • Super-fast like Chrome.
  • Save certain websites as apps which you can run separately to the browser. Great for commonly used sites like Google Docs, email clients and Twitter.
  • Privacy settings are very clear.

CONS

  • Not a very big extensions catalogue.
  • Although cross platform it’s best on Windows.

GOOGLE CHROME

The world’s most popular browser since it launched in 2008. It rapidly overtook both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox primarily due to its speed and customisation options.

The open source software meant a lot of extensions would be made, adding to the experience of using the browser. It’s also very much a cross platform browser meaning your log ins, details and bookmarks are accessible whatever device you’re logged in on.

It’s still pretty much the fastest one but is renowned for gobbling up your systems processing power. It’s resource hungry and can therefore slow down your computer.

The other main concern with Chrome is the privacy side of things we mentioned above. Many are uncomfortable with the enormous market share they have, especially when you consider that other browser platforms use its tech as well.

It’s good yes but are you willing to pay the price of allowing one company to have too much access to your data and therefore a lot of power?

PROS

  • Super-fast.
  • Big extensions library.
  • Flash automatically integrated so doesn’t need to be downloaded separately.
  • Decent security controls.
  • Excellent auto-fill features.

CONS

  • Demands a lot of resources. Even with tab freezing it’s still pretty hungry.
  • Collects an unreasonable amount of data from users.
  • Part of Google’s tech monopoly.

THERE ARE SOME OTHER OPTIONS

Of course, there are other browsers that you can get that are less popular. However, they each have their own unique pros which may be worth considering if you’re happy to go against the grain.

Apart from Safari, the below browsers are also built on the Chromium engine.

SAFARI

MacOS and iOS’s default browser. Although it used to be supported on Windows it isn’t anymore.

It’s simple, but if all you need is a search engine, then it does the job. If you’re an Apple purist and want to sync browsing data and log ins with other Apple devices and Apple software then it may make sense to use this.

Otherwise, there’s no real reason why you’d pick it over the others.

OPERA

Built by the independent Opera Software, this browser has a different user interface to other browsers but it’s biggest draw is it’s built in features.

It has its own native VPN which you can run from the browser as well as a built-in ad blocker and other security features. These are certainly handy features to have and place it ahead of other browsers in the area of security.

VIVALDI

Vivaldi’s an interesting one in that you can customise literally everything. The UI, search function, navigation, you name it.

For a completely bespoke browsing experience this is definitely one to try. On the other hand, if you’ve got work to do, the temptation to tweak may be a bit of a distraction…

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