Internode Blog

Battle of the browsers!

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 by

It’s been a while since there’s been a shake-up in world of web browsers, but there’s a new browser on the web so we thought we better put it to the test!

Mozilla recently launched its latest version of Firefox, Firefox Quantum, with hopes to knock Google Chrome off its long-held pedestal of being the “best” browser (at least in terms of how quickly it can load web pages).

However, different people want different things from their web browser, so just picking the fastest one may not right way to go. You may prefer a browser that prioritises privacy, or one that has lots of custom options so you can fine-tune it to your preferences.

We decided to take a look at all the web browsers that are competing with the age-old defaults that come installed on your devices, namely Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari. After all, if you don’t know what’s out there, how do you know that you’re really using the best browser for your needs?

Mozilla Firefox Quantum

The latest version of Firefox has a number of intelligent changes behind-the-scenes to make the browser run faster and use less memory, returning to the nimble, user-friendly browser we remember from back in the day. Mozilla achieved this by studying how people use their browsers and adjusting the way Firefox Quantum performs different functions accordingly. For example, people typically place the most importance on the main content of a page, so Firefox Quantum loads that before less important elements such as logos and side bars. Ultimately, the new design just feels much better to use than its predecessor. Firefox is once again a strong competitor in the world of browsers.

Pros: Major speed improvements on previous versions with the same vibrant, user-friendly interface.

Cons: It’s still not faster than Chrome, plus there’s some disappointing performance issues for JAWS and NVDA screen reader users.

Available on: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android OS. Download it here.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome hasn’t changed very drastically over the past few years but then again, it hasn’t needed to. It’s held the title of “fastest browser” for a long time but it still has a healthy range of features that make it popular with many different types of users. Its simple layout makes it easy to use and Google’s popularity means that there are thousands of free plugins to choose from in the Chrome Store. You can also sync your bookmarks, history and other settings to your Google account, so you can log in anywhere on a computer that has Chrome installed and start browsing with ease.

Pros: It’s the fastest browser and it’s available across all platforms, including smartphones.

Cons: Performance may be worse than competitors on computers with limited RAM.

Available on: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android OS. Download it here.

Opera

You may not have heard about Opera; even though it’s been around since 1995, buzz about this browser usually gets drowned out by discussions about Chrome and Firefox. However, it’s a great choice for users who want to get a little more out of their browser without having to fiddle around with a bunch of add-ons. Opera has some of the most in-demand browser features built-in including an ad blocker and a Turbo mode which will compress data to make web pages load faster. It’s been designed with security, privacy, convenience and even laptop battery life in mind, so it’s worth a try!

Pros: Built-in ad blocker, VPN and Turbo mode.

Cons: Limited plugin options due to its “niche” status.

Available on: Windows, macOS and Linux. Download it here.

Vivaldi

One of the newest additions to the browser scene, Vivaldi was launched in 2016 by a company founded by Opera Software co-founder and former CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, and Tatsuki Tomita. It was actually developed with previous Opera users in mind as many of Opera’s popular features were removed when the software changed engines. This browser was built with creative types in mind – you can customise the look and layout of Vivaldi right down to the colour of the user interface. You can view different pages side-by-side, quickly cycle through different tabs, take notes while you browse, dock websites in a side panel, and more. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a browser with more flexibility!

Pros: Highly customisable. It’s also built on Chromium, so the vast majority of plugins for Google Chrome can be used with it (learn how).

Cons: Performance is a bit slower than its competitors. May be too complex if you want a “no frills” browser.

Available on: Windows, macOS and Linux. Download it here.

Tor Browser

For those of you who prioritise privacy over speed, you may want to consider Tor Browser. Developed by the Tor Project Inc. to fight against the rise in online surveillance, Tor Browser allows you to browse anonymously by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world. Although it may be associated with use of the dark web, the privacy benefits of Tor Browser might appeal to the everyday person, too – they’re a significant upgrade on the “incognito mode” offered by more popular browsers. Nothing’s stopping you from having more than one web browser installed on your PC, so you may want to consider it for occasional use.

Pros: Built-in privacy, blocks tracking cookies.

Cons: Significantly slower browsing due to the time spent bouncing your communications.

Available on: Windows, macOS and Linux. Download it here.

And there you have it! If you do decide to make the switch or at least try out a new browser, you may find this guide helpful. It’ll give you some tips on how to switch browsers without losing your important info such as bookmarks and saved login details.

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