This website is devoted to helping you build your own awesome computer, but I also want to help you get the most out of your computer after you have finished building it.
One of the easiest and fastest ways to boost your computer’s speed is to use the best Internet browsing program. We all spend a lot of time surfing the web every day. Therefore we spend a lot of time waiting for pages to load — even if we have broadband access. (If you don’t have DSL or cable Internet access by now then you have to get it immediately!) What if there was a better browser than the one you use? Well, guess what — there probably is. And the best part is they are all free.
I checked the stats for my website to see which browsers the visitors to this website are using. 67.8% of you are still using Microsoft Internet Explorer, 25.5% are using Mozilla Firefox and 3.4% use Apple’s Safari. My guess is a year from now the percentages will be very different.
Let’s take a look at the options available to us. In addition to Explorer, Firefox and Safari we also could use Google Chrome and Opera. There are multiple versions of each and they are being updated frequently.
The different browsers all do essentially the same thing — they allow us to surf the Internet. But some are better than others. They differ in speed, security, features and ease of use.
Here is how I rank them:
1. Mozilla Firefox 3
2. Opera 9.6
3. Google Chrome
4. Apple Safari 3.2
5. Microsoft Internet Explorer 7
That’s right — I rank the most popular browser dead last. And it deserves it. Once you try the others you will not go back to IE7. Maybe the new IE8 (coming soon) will be better.
This browser is much faster than Internet Explorer, but not quite as fast as Chrome, Safari and Opera. The security of Firefox is excellent so popups, phishing and other types of malicious code are not likely to cause any problems on your computer. Firefox does a great job of displaying all kinds of web content without choking. The browser is loaded with all of the latest features that make it possible to personalize the look of the screen and location of icons, toolbars and menus. Managing bookmarks is a breeze. The only small downside is that it uses a lot of system resources such as your RAM memory. You should definitely be using Firefox.
Opera is a great browser that almost nobody uses. It is not popular, but it should be. It is very fast and loaded with features. In fact, many of the features that have been popularized by other browsers were first developed by Opera. Opera has many features and tools that cannot be found in any other browser. It does not hog system resources. Security is not a problem, but it does have some minor issues with certain web pages containing complex Flash code or multimedia. Opera does not have an auto-update feature like the others do. If you want to try something unique give Opera a tryout. I recommend it.
Chrome is a bare-bones, streamlined browser that concentrates on speed and maximizing viewable screen space. There are no cluttered toolbars and menus taking up loads of screen space here. I like that. Chrome is a little lacking in terms of security and is heavy on system resources. You can use Chrome to run a webpage directly on your desktop instead of opening a browser window. They also have an Incognito Window to view websites privately. Other than that Chrome is light on features and customizability. It is a no-frills fast browser.
You can now run Apple’s Mac browser on your Windows-based PC computer. You might want to do that if you are used to using Safari on your Mac at home and would like to use it on your PC at work. I found Safari a little harder to use than some others and it lacks some features found in the others. It is definitely fast when loading simple web pages, but slows down noticeably on bulky pages with lots of pictures or videos. The overall design is fairly simple and the navigation tools are very basic. Security is not very good either. I don’t recommend Safari even though it is much faster than Internet Explorer.
This browser is just plain slow. Not just slow but molasses slow. Ice Age slow. Sloth slow. Turtle slow. IE7 is loaded with features that allow you to customize everything just how you like it and Microsoft has done a great job improving security. But who cares since it is so slow? Do yourself a huge favor and switch to Firefox or Opera. You will be glad you did.