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Which browser should you choose?

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 Which browser should you choose?

A browser is a piece of software that interprets Web code and content into a visually significant and appealing manner. Browsers take content, images, and code and arrange them in such a sway as to make things more interesting and clear - and more likely to separate us from our free time and hard-earned cash.

However, browsers don’t treat the same content the same way. Throw in odd plug-ins, forced updates, and an ever-changing environment and it can be hard to find a browser that works best.

Browser Icons

There are dozens of browsers out there. A quick search will reveal there are actually a few hundred, with 20 of them making up the lion’s share of the browser market.

Far and away, the most popular are:

  • Firefox (47%)
  • Internet Explorer (41%)
  • Chrome (6%)
  • Safari (3%)
  • Opera (2%)
2009 aggregate statistics from 3WC.

There are dozens more that work on all kinds of platforms and to a wide variety of purposes. Each comes with its own set of issues and benefits.

For example, Internet Explorer has seen its plethora of security holes consistently attacked by hackers. Yet the latest version, IE9 (due out in early 2011), will run faster than ever. By contrast, Firefox boasts the greatest ability for customization, while still having problems running in a Microsoft-driven world.

So which do you choose?

It turns out that most successful Web surfers use a variety of browsers, switching between them as issues arise. Many stick with Firefox until a page doesn’t look quite right. Then they switch to IE. Others prefer Chrome until they need to work in a proprietary environment, such as an online learning platform (D2L, Blackboard, etc.). Then they switch to Firefox.

As a Web developer, I find myself staying in Firefox for most browsing, switching to IE to handle multi-tasking. I will be working in on our Web site in IE, while doing code searches in Firefox. I tend to use Chrome for banking, as its “incognito” feature keeps private information from being stored on the computer.

So use several browsers. Find what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to try new ones. You may find the perfect fit.