How long has it been since you have tried a new browser? Spigot Inc wants to know, which one do you use the most?
Most of us tend to choose a web browser and stick with it for years. It can be hard to break away from your comfort zone – especially when you’ve become used to its quirks – but trying a different browser can greatly improve your experience on the web.
Whether it’s enhanced security, improved speed, or greater flexibility through customizable options and plugins, the right browser can have a huge effect on your online life. Here we’ve put the biggest browsers through their paces (plus one that you might not be familiar with) to identify the one that does the best job of ticking all those boxes, but if you have a particular concern then read on to see if there’s an alternative that might be better suited to your needs.
Firefox is back after a total overhaul, and has retaken its crown
Firefox has just received its biggest update in 13 years, and it’s so impressive, it’s propelled the browser to the top of our list.
Firefox has always been known for its flexibility and support for extensions, but in recent years it had started to lag behind the competition in terms of speed. Firefox Quantum, released in late 2017 represented a total overhaul of the browser’s code base, with speeds now comparable with Google Chrome. That’s not just on top-end computers, either – the new Firefox makes frugal use of RAM, even with masses of tabs open.
Firefox also scores serious points when it comes to privacy. Mozilla is a non-profit organisation, which means it doesn’t have the same impetus to sell your data as some other browser developers.
Quantum also introduced a new system for extensions that prevents rogue developers making malicious changes to the browser’s internal code.
It’s not always the absolute fastest – for some pages Chrome still has the edge, as Mozilla’s own video demonstrates – but the new Firefox has come out swinging and is our pick for the best web browser of 2017.
If your system has the resources, Chrome is 2017’s best browser
With Chrome, Google has built an extendable, efficient browser that deserves its place at the top of the browser rankings. According to w3schools’ browser trend analysis its user base is only rising, even as Microsoft Edge’s install numbers are presumably growing. Why? Well, it’s cross-platform, incredibly stable, brilliantly presented to take up the minimum of screen space, and just about the nicest browser there is to use.
Its wide range of easily obtained and installed extensions mean you can really make it your own, and there’s support for parental controls and a huge range of tweaks and settings to ensure maximum efficiency.
But there are downsides, and potentially big ones. It’s among the heaviest browsers in terms of resource use, so it’s not brilliant on machines with limited RAM, and its performance doesn’t quite match up to others in benchmarking terms. And with Google’s tentacles running through it, you might be uncomfortable with the ways in which your browsing data may be used.
An underrated browser that’s a great choice for slow connections
It’s sad that Opera makes up only around 1% of the browser market, because it really is a quality browser. It launches fast, the UI is brilliantly clean, and it does everything its rivals can do with a couple of extras thrown in for good measure.
The key reason we’d at least recommend having Opera installed alongside your main browser is its Opera Turbo feature. This compresses your web traffic, routing it through Opera’s servers, which makes a huge difference to browsing speed if you’re stuck on rural dial-up or your broadband connection is having a moment.
It reduces the amount of data transferred too, handy if you’re using a mobile connection, and this re-routing also dodges any content restrictions your ISP might place on your browsing, which can be mighty handy. Opera automatically ducks out of the way if you’re using secure sites like banks so your traffic is free and clear of any potential privacy violation.
There’s also an integrated ad-blocker – which can be switched off if you’re morally inclined in that direction – and a battery-saving mode which promises to keep your laptop going for longer.
Find out who else made the list here…