An Internet browser is a handy app that lets you access the Internet. Without one, you wouldn’t be able to read this, let alone explore the vast ocean of the Web. But as the Internet evolves and changes, so have the browsers we use to interact with it. Still, browsers often come down to user preference, what you’re used to, and what you need. Some browsers are specialized for certain industries and communities while others are paid-for with premium features.
But just in case you’re in the market for a new browser, here’s our shortlist of browsing apps to check out.
Chrome, by far, is the most popular Internet browser out there, claiming nearly two-thirds of all Internet users. With its compatibility and cross-platform integration with Android phones as well as tons of extensions, Chrome is robust, customizable, and helps keep everything you’ll ever need on the Internet in one place. If you’re signed in to Chrome using your Google account, you can easily access any other Google applications such as YouTube, Gmail, or Docs.
Despite its popularity, one common complaint is how Chrome eats RAM. While a minor inconvenience for newer computers with a lot of memory, older computers can slow to a crawl trying to keep up with Chrome’s demands. If this is a chronic issue and you can’t add more RAM to your computer, you might want a browser that’s lighter weight.
Firefox has come a long way since its debut in 2002. It once commanded popularity among Internet users, but when Chrome rolled out six years later, Firefox fell to the wayside. But now this browser is coming back with a vengeance, eager to reclaim its title.
Firefox has its own extensions and customization options. Despite not being a Google product, you can still navigate your Gmail and other Google-related accounts just fine. When it comes to memory usage, however, Firefox isn’t nearly as RAM-hungry. Moreover, Firefox is consistently one of the fastest-loading browsers available so if you like speed, flexibility, and customization, Firefox is a strong choice.
Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer and Edge are Microsoft’s built-in browsing platforms with Edge set to replace Internet Explorer post-Windows 10. In fact, they encourage their users to migrate to Edge for its faster performance and robust features. Edge will get another big boost once it starts running off Chromium (the open-source web browser that includes a majority of Chrome’s own source code for free) in 2020, bringing it in line with Chrome and Opera.
Even still, Edge and IE lag behind their competitors when it comes to speed, customizability, and security options. If you’re just a casual Internet user though, these browsers work just fine and are easily accessible since they’re prepackaged with Windows.
Opera is one of the oldest browsers still out there that’s managed to keep up with the times. Now on Chromium, it remains one of the fastest available, especially with its Turbo feature that aids in page compression so you can browse even faster. Security is also a top priority with a built-in pop-up blocker. It’s even one of the few browsers that has its own built-in ad-blocking feature.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have its own parental controls and, comparatively, has very few extensions and plugin options to let you customize your experience. But for those who want a no-frills browser, Opera gets the job done.