Understanding the Limitations & Advantages of Different Browsers
Everyone uses technology differently. That is one of the beautiful things about the massive amount of technology we have at our disposal. We have a ton of choices and can pick the services and platforms that best suits us and our needs. With the newer Microsoft browser called Edge recently added to the group, it has come to our attention that figuring out which browser would be best to use can be really complicated. Sometimes, you may not even be able to tell the browsers apart. Your Managed IT Support provider is here to help you with this decision.
This browser comes pre-installed with the Windows operating system. Internet Explorer is probably best known for the bad rap it has among users for being really slow. The nice thing about Internet Explorer is that many older websites were built for it, and therefore do not work on more modern browsers. So, when you are trying to print a FedEx label from the FedEx website, you may find success using Internet Explorer, where it fails on Chrome.
Microsoft has also released another browser (listed below, Edge) and that may signal the beginning of the end of Internet Explorer. If support for the browser stops, you will have to find a new browser at that point, so really figuring it out now may not be worth it.
- Compatible with older websites and web apps
- Nice security features
- Nothing to install, pre-loaded on all Windows machines
- Not very user-friendly
- Support may vanish
Not to be confused with Internet Explorer, even though both icons are a big blue “e”. Not sure who decided on the major brand confusion there. IE has a lighter blue “e” and Edge has a darker blue one that is flat. Many users we encounter, and specifically inform them that they must use Internet Explorer for a certain website, will have it open in Edge thinking it is IE. Both browsers are also automatically installed with Windows. Edge is definitely a more modern browser with its own unique features. It has Cortana integration to help give information on selected items within a web page, and the ability to markup or draw on a web page and share the image via email or social media.
Since the browser is so new, there could be some major compatibility issues with certain websites. The browser is also extremely limited in its ability to offer a personalized user experience. There are no add-ons or extensions for the browser, and lacks the ability to auto mute a tab or switch user accounts easily.
- Preloaded on recent Windows machines
- Cortana Integration
- Markup and share a web page
- Some websites may not display correctly or have compatibility issues
- No extensions
- Lacks major customization features
Safari is the default pre-loaded browser on all Apple devices. It is integrated into the Apple ecosystem so tightly that, especially on iOS you can’t default links to open in a different browser. Meaning if you did install a different browser, you would constantly be switching back and forth between browsers. Another great feature of Safari is the reading list. Many times people open multiple browser tabs simply to save an article to read later. Saving these articles can free up your browser tabs to minimize the load caused by the browser.
Much like Edge and IE, these default browsers lack some of the really great customization features of other browsers. This offers all three some great security features and can assist with battery saving. Since the browser is limited to the Apple ecosystem, it can have compatibility with many websites that use technology Safari won’t allow such as Flash.
- Preinstalled on Apple devices
- Deeply integrated with Apple operating systems
- Already the default on iOS devices
- Reading list for saving articles
- Lacks robust features
- Compatibility issues
- Doesn’t work on NON-Apple devices
Firefox was first to market to offer add-ons for an internet browser and provide open source code for people to build off of. This has allowed Firefox to grow its addon database to the largest available for a browser. Mozilla, the creators of Firefox, also believe the browser has better privacy protection than their competition. When browsing with their privacy mode, Firefox will even block ads that contain trackers.
With all the personalization options, though, it can be easy to make the browser that was super fast when you first installed it, suddenly very very slow. Installing add-ons can be awesome, as you realize all that you can do to assist your browsing experience. Installing too many, or improperly vetted add-ons can not only slow down your browser but also open you up to security concerns.
- Plethora of add-ons
- Excellent customization options
- Extremely fast
- Too many add-ons can slow it down
- Not very mobile friendly
- Compatibility issues with many websites, especially those that are image heavy
Google Chrome has the greatest market share out of all the browsers on the list. Sitting at well over 60% of all internet users, there is a reason it has reached the top. The extensions available for the browser really add something to the user experience and allows you to customize your browser to help you be more efficient. As with Firefox, if you install too many, you can bog down the system that is typically extremely fast. It also integrates with Google Accounts better than any of the other browsers. If you have multiple Google identities it can help you customize your browser to each identity.
Cybercriminals will develop malicious software that has the ability to infect the greatest number of devices. With the largest market share of browser use, Chrome is an attractive target. In addition to this, Chrome is considered a memory hog, which can be a problem if you do a lot of multitasking.
- Most popular web browser
- Great extensions
- Simple and fast interface
- Google account integrations
- Popularity means potential risk
- Can hog memory resources
Eric is the owner and CEO of Protek Support and is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). He graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Information Technology (IT). He is an IT Services expert in a variety of technology related fields. Some of these fields include document management software/hardware, enterprise level networking and VoIP phone systems, as well as large scale software implementation projects and the setup of small business networks.