Sunday, November 02, 2014

The best internet browser

*UPDATED - September 5 2015*

Hello! Here I am back with another analysis of one of the the software categories - internet/web browsers. Often users get banned on forums as a result of flaming.

It is usually a tussle between Firefox and Chrome (every time), and even a kid has used an internet browser in his/her life. It all began with the Netscape Navigator browser. For a bit of slice of the history of Netscape and Internet Explorer, see these links:
http://hctechbyte.blogspot.in/2014/06/microsoft-and-internet-explorer-blunders.html
http://hctechbyte.blogspot.in/2014/06/microsoft-and-internet-explorer-blunders.html

After the arrival of Internet Explorer (IE), came the Mozilla Firefox, built on the foundation of Netscape source code. This majestic browser has been the king since then dethroned by Chrome due to its speed (webpage loading times).

There are mainly four engines used to make web browsers:
IE Engine: Internet Explorer, Maxthon and Avant
Gecko: Firefox, Opera, Light
Chromium: Chrome, Torch, Opera Next
Safari: Safari (web browser)

So let's have a look at the competition: we have Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, Opera Next and Light eligible for the real war.

best-internet-browser
 


There have been various instances of reviewers quoting browser benchmark scores. I personally find them useless practically. They are used just to show that "hey, Chrome is 1ms faster than Firefox". Not worth it, right?

My factors for ranking will be:
User experience
Privacy kept in mind by developers
Safety
Customization degree


Internet Explorer 12

The dirt bag, the BS, poop... go on. Call it whatever form of filth you could. And it poops some later. Not true for IE 10 and above versions. It is refined and is one of the speediest and fast contenders here. The Metro version for Windows 8 and above is sleek and cool.
User experience is nice. Privacy.... cannot trust Microsoft, to be frank. Safety.. so many bicycle patches and then some more. On every Patch Tuesday. Problem. Customization.... can you get any extension for it except from 3rd-party places as adware? No. Fail. Fail. Fail.


Mozilla Firefox 40.0.3 Final

Best user experience (arguably). Even Tom's Hardware says in their Browser Grand Prix says that Firefox requires just 1 page reload to render the page perfectly. Others require much more than that (4 for Chrome and 9 for Opera Next!). Speedier than Chrome now as everybody says except Chrome fanboys.
The most efficient memory utilisation of all browsers. Less memory used.
Privacy, YEAH! Trusted upon by nearly every company/group for privacy concerns on Earth. The best. Period!
Safety. I have seen Firefox showing its own red danger alert on few sites. No other browser ever did so. Uses Google's Safe Browsing List.
Customisation degree *coughs* does anyone have to say anything on this? Over 7,000 addons in nearly every category which can make Firefox your Fort Knox. Plus "about:config" which you can use to tweak even the width of your tabs.


Light 40.0

This is a forked Firefox without the bloat that Firefox has become today. Use it. It's the same. All addons work the same way. You can find it on SourceForge. Remember to get the setup from the Files section. Version 39 onwards requires a Visual C++ Redistribution Update (~14 MB) which can be found there in Files section at SourceForge project page.


Google Chrome 45 Final

The most polished browser with a good developer tools kit. But crashes more often than Firefox. And can require page reloading often which ruins user experience. And probably the worst memory hog on your PC or Mac.
Privacy *coughs* Read Google Privacy Policy. It does not respect your privacy. Period.
Safety. Chrome fanboys say it has sandboxing feature which is safe. Pure BS. I have seen jailbreak-ed sandboxes. But separate tab processes... nice. Though Chrome does not survive browser crashes anyway. Restoring tabs has always been their problem I guess.
Customization is not Chrome's forte anyway. But with its nice Apps it can certainly win one's heart.


Opera 31

It is a nice browser. Has nearly equal customization scope minus addons that Firefox offers. It has become Chromium-based now, coming with more crashes and memory hogging. Your choice. Personally my second choice when Firefox fails to render pages properly due to installed add-ons.

Opera Next 24

Opera's beta channel. Nice but hogs memory. As said above, requires 9 page reloads to render page properly. Your choice. Your doom.


Safari 5.1.17

The awesome and Apple-ish finesse for Windows. Now unsupported. Problems due to no support for HTML5 might show in YouTube and sites that use this future web standard. Last version 5.1.17 available from many places.



Conclusion

I guess someone is going to yell - "you are a Firefox fanboy". I am not. I tried every browser available in the world about 6 years ago, and knew that Safari was the best even though I hate Apple. Even with all it has, I ranked Firefox 2nd because its inbuilt downloader downloaded slower than Safari. Chrome was a baby back then. Opera used to be the powerhouse in those days with inbuilt torrent and e-mail clients.

But things have changed a lot since then. Firefox is the ultimate stuff. Stuff of the legends. Now only one thing remains: when will everybody make their browsers as less memory hogs as they used to be when Firefox 3.6 was the king?

Light the forked Firefox has come to our rescue seemingly. Now I do not use Firefox but LIGHT (40.0) with all my addons as MY PRIMARY BROWSER.