How to choose an internet browser

05 Oct 2011


We are part of a new generation of web-savvy people who demand more from our internet browsers than just basic surfing. And if we think another browser can provide us with a better internet experience, we're not afraid to change at the drop of a hat.

Would the Duke of Edinburgh recommend Google Chrome?

In terms of user numbers, there's barely a cigarette paper between the web's top four browsers these days. Microsoft once ruled the roost with Internet Explorer because users were not motivated to stray from the pre-installed browser on their Windows operating system.

But the popularity of Mozilla Firefox soared when users first started crying out for tabbed browsing and became less afraid of switching. More recently Google Chrome has carved a reputation for loading up quickly, so you don't have to wait to get the web at your fingertips. Meanwhile the popularity of Apple Macs and MacBooks has helped its Safari browser take up a sizeable chunk of the market.

So if you're not quite happy with your current internet browser and fancy a change, what should you take into account?

If you quickly want to boot up your laptop to check your emails before you head out then you don't want to be left waiting on a cumbersome browser to load up. Find a browser with the shortest initial start up time that can also load up pages quickly and you won't be left bored and frustrated.

Tabbed browsing is now a minimum requirement on most browsers, so you will need to look a bit deeper for the features that can enhance your browsing experience. Smart toolbars take the pain out of getting to the correct web pages, while the ability to perform 'mouse gestures' instead of clicking through menus may seem alien at first, but they can regularly make your life easier.

Ease of use
Browsers should be more or less 'pick up and play' and laid out in the most intuitive fashion. But because you don't want to leave your bookmarks and history behind on your old browser, look for one which offers migration tools so you can hit the ground running.

If grey toolbars aren't your thing then you're going to want to have a fully customisable browser. Check to see which browsers let you alter the appearance of their program most - so you can have a play around with the button designs and toolbar colours.

What do you look for in an internet browser? Which one is your web browser of choice? Comment below or tweet @DixonsinTheKnow