The choice of a web browser, while not the sort of thing most people think about, is very important to your continued safety and the safety of your data while online. It’s also important as regards computer performance and multitasking: if you’re browsing the web while also touching up some family photos and maybe listening to music, you don’t want your web browser using up too many system resources. We’ll run down the features and functionality of each of these browsers and look at which one is the best for everyday use. For each browser we’ll look at compatibility with the best ad blocking extensions, speed, efficiency, and preservation of your browsing data.
Let’s get this out of the way first. If you’re still using Internet Explorer (IE) for anything other a site you need for work (and yes, there are a few backward sites out there that require IE for one reason or another), you need to get off of it immediately. IE is a mess of bugs, inefficient resource handling, and unpatched vulnerabilities. It’s the absolute worst performing and least safe of all the commonly available browsers, and we strongly recommend abandoning it without a second glance.
With that out of the way, let’s look at Microsoft’s new replacement for IE. Edge, like IE, ships with all Windows 10 installations; and the fact that it’s built in to Windows is its one selling point. In performance and efficiency tests, Edge routinely lags behind the other major players in the browser field. Edge does allow you install uBlock Origin (the ad-blocking extension we recommend above all others), but its resource handling is terrible. In performance tests, it routinely uses 2-3 times the memory of Chrome or Firefox. It does feature the ability to back up and synchronize your favorites and passwords across multiple Windows devices, but only if you sign in to your device with your Microsoft account (which we do not recommend).
Overall, Edge is better choice than IE, but is the worst choice out of all the major browsers.
Firefox has been around for years. Developed by a nonprofit interested in protecting your data and browsing habits of its users from corporate prying, Firefox is a good choice for the more privacy-conscious consumer. In performance tests, it lags a bit behind Chrome, but generally still does an excellent job of managing resources and loading pages quickly. It is compatible with uBlock Origin, and allows you to sign in to save and synchronize your browsing data, including bookmarks and passwords, across all devices where you use it. The program can be finicky at times, and can display some web pages oddly, but overall, Firefox is our second-best choice for general browsing.
Chrome, developed by Google, is the all-around best browser available. It’s extremely fast, very efficient, is compatible with uBlock Origin, and has the ability to seamlessly synchronize your logins, passwords, extensions, favorites, and browsing history across all your devices. It also handles Gmail, Google's proprietary mail platform, better than most browsers, and has a wealth of time-saving and security oriented extensions available. The only drawback for Chrome is that it likes to eat lots of computer memory. Still, its stellar performance cannot be denied.
Safari, like Edge, comes built in to an Operating System – Mac OS. The problem with Safari, as with Edge, is that it’s just one of many pieces of software that make up the OS, and so has gotten less optimization and care in its development than the dedicated browsers. Still, it’s not the worst choice. It is well-designed for Apple’s unique platform, and it runs efficiently. It can be equipped with uBlock Origin, and via iCloud, can synchronize your browsing data to your other Apple devices (but if you have, say, a Samsung phone or a Windows laptop in addition to your iMac, you’re going to be in for a headache when it comes to getting your data to sync). Overall, Safari is not the best option if you’re on Mac OS, but it’s a better option than Edge on Windows 10 is.
Hopefully this post has helped you understand your options in the world of web browsers. If you still have questions, or want some assistance in switching to a new web browser, don’t hesitate to give us a call!