Your internet browser is your gateway into the world wide web, and as you’ve probably already experienced, at least by downloading another browser via the default browser that came with your computer, is that there are major differences between them, to the degree that using the wrong one just doesn’t feel right.
Yet what one does feel right? That’s what you’re here to figure out, so you can go back to browsing what you want to in a new and improved way.
Many Options to Choose From
If you’re just setting up your computer for the first time or have decided to start your online experience fresh and play the browser field a little, then you’ll find at least half a dozen major browsers and dozens of ones you’d never hear about naturally. You might consult a guide to online browsers to help you, or you may just search randomly and try out things with no commitment.
Yet eventually you’re going to need to narrow the field, so to help with that we’ve prepared some questions and information for you below:
What Do You Value?
So taking the last section into account, the main thing to think about is just what you value from your online experience and what your priorities are, and only you know what those things are. Still, most people want at least a few of the same things. Who doesn’t want more convenience in their life?
Here are some common things you might want from your browser that will vary between them.
Privacy and Security
You don’t want to deal with hackers, endless spam, and surprisingly suspicious offers from websites you visited once. Perhaps more importantly, you don’t want people and companies knowing where you are, what you do, and how and when you do it.
Your browsing habits should be private, and your browser shouldn’t be snooping on you any more than it needs to be. And while you can change settings to help in just about every browser, some are just better than others when it comes to this (Firefox and Opera come to mind).
To take the next step in security and privacy, you may want to consider the TOR browser, which encrypts your user traffic and reroutes it through a series of nodes to mask your IP address. It can prevent your activity being traced and keep you anonymous online like few other browsers can on their own.
Options and Browser Extensions
Google Chrome generally has the most plug-ins and browser extensions out of the major internet browsers people use today, by virtue of its popularity, but it should be noted that some of the functions of those extensions are default features in other browsers, or that extensions can take up resources on your computer that you’d rather have used elsewhere.
Still, there’s nothing like having a host of extensions and apps that work in your favor and anticipate your every whim. If this sounds most important to you, then Chrome and Vivaldi (a low-profile but effective browser) should go to the top of your list.
Blocking ads from your web browsing experience isn’t just about removing unwanted ads from our view. It’s also about staying safe from misleading ads, avoiding pop-up that can take up to dangerous websites, and just simply not getting annoyed whenever you open a new webpage. There are some places you just don’t want to go online without one, and no, you don’t want to sign up for that mailing list, especially when you don’t even know what the website is yet.
And while there are extensions, plugins, outside programs and the like to help you, they require that you update your setup relatively often to work or may present additional problems of their own. If it’s built into the browser, it’s probably better for your needs. Your best options here are probably Firefox or some more specialized browsers.
Feeling a delay when you use your browser might be alright for one search or two, but when it seems like you are waiting a couple of extra seconds to open every page, that time quickly adds up, and frustration builds. You want a browser that can load pages quickly given your internet connection, can block unnecessary images or content (intrusive ads), and overall simply have a quick page load time.
If you are looking for a top browser when it comes to speed, we find that Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome (when it isn’t using up too much RAM) are the best picks. That being said, Safari and Opera are also fast browsers in their own right.
“What Am I Using it for Now?”
If you stop and think about your browser too much, you can trick yourself. Much like reading a self-help book, you’ll feel inspired about changing everything for the sake of efficiency of one of the features you really like, but if it doesn’t fit into your routine or if you don’t make a dedicated effort (something you might not to do for the take of an internet browser), you’ll likely fall into old habits and just go back to whatever you were using before, whether it was the best choice or not.
Therefore, we want you to ask yourself one simple question: what am I primarily using the internet for now, are there any specific concerns or fears I regularly have while using it, and what browser would help me with that the most?
For example, even if you say you’re worried about security, if you’re more annoyed by pop-ups and ad spam, focus on that and make security changes later. If you just want ease of use and don’t really go online that often compared to other users, find the browser with the UI you like the most. If you mainly use it for streaming HD TV and movies, consider browsers that support HD such as Microsoft Edge and Safari. The same idea applies to anything else.
What About Mobile Browsers?
Unfortunately, mobile browsers are a little more and less complicated. If you have an Android device, you’re almost certainly going to be using Chrome, and Apple devices will be using Safari. And most readers will be using one of these two devices.
In both cases, using another browser is possible, and you’ll likely be using browsers embedded in other apps (Facebook and Gmail, for instance), but there won’t be as many options unless you’re looking for something that is strictly security focused or that is fine-tuned towards a niche crowd, in which case you likely already know about it.
If you are looking for other options, you could consider one of the following:
- Firefox Mobile can sync with your desktop browser and is a fast and functional mobile browser.
- Firefox Focus, on the other hand, is a privacy-focused version of Firefox that also is lightweight and provides fast browsing.
- Puffin is an interesting browser that moves part of the workload to cloud servers, making pages load fast and causing less demands on your device.
- The Opera browser is an alternative to the major names and provides plenty of options for users, including blocking ads.
- Opera Mini can be a great choice if you are looking for a mobile browser that won’t eat up your data.
Choosing an internet browser is one of those decisions many people don’t think about much, but it nonetheless has a major impact on your online experience and to some degree your life (or at least the conveniences available to you). As you can figure out already, we’re sure, there is no one-size-fits-all option and instead you’re going to need the right choice for your needs.
However, there are plenty of options, and you’re in no rush. So get a drink, sit back a bit, and do some more research when you get a chance.
For more information on this topic, we recommend checking out the following resources: