This blog might not sound that appealing to the general web user. I get that. Read on anyway to make sure you’re not missing out on everything the World Wide Web has to offer and that your security/privacy is not at risk every time you use the internet.
Web Browsers 101
A web browser is a piece of software on your computer used to render information into a viewable user interface for web pages, images, videos, and other pieces of content. You are using one right now to read this blog. Among the most popular are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer. To identify what browser you are using go to http://whatbrowser.org/ and make sure your browser of choice is up to date.
What did you find out? Is your browser up to date? If not, you could be missing out on a lot of things from your favorite websites. Now that raises the question, “Do websites need to be experienced exactly the same in every browser?” The answer can be found here (note the URL): http://dowebsitesneedtobeexperiencedexactlythesameineverybrowser.com/
You Could Be Missing Out
If the experience does not have to be the same between every browser, why do you need to update? The answer to that is “because you can.” If you had the choice to drive a 1984 Ford Pinto or a brand new Mercedes at absolutely no cost, wouldn’t you drive the Mercedes? Now imagine the Mercedes will automatically upgrade you to the latest version whenever they update the model. The latest Mercedes will have all the cool gadgets, give you a better driving experience, have better safety features, and you won’t be embarrassed being seen in it. That is essentially the same concept when it comes to your options in web browsers.
I get it, change can be scary. You might be used to all your ‘fancy’ toolbars and customizations of your current browser [note: the term ‘fancy’ is being used looser than…looser than…well, let’s just say I’m using that term very loosely]. The picture to the right might be a little extreme, and if your browser looks anything like that you might have more than browser issues with your computer. Old browsers are slow and buggy and can add a lot of loading time to websites that should only take a fraction of a second to load. Simple functions like filling out a form or accessing unique parts of a website might not work at all. Layouts tend to break easily and general navigation can be difficult. So once you upgrade from your old browser, you wont look back and you’ll wonder why you waited so long to make the change in the first place.
You May Be at a Security Risk
Aside from the user experience you are missing out on, your personal information and security may be at risk as well. Up to date browsers plug security holes that outdated browsers just aren’t capable of. Web browsers constantly add updates for the sole purpose of making your web experience a more secure one. Neglecting to update your browser is like dangling all your personal information in the face of a cybercriminal. Need to learn more about the security risks of old browsers?
What Browser Should You be Using?
It’s a battle of the browsers and everyone has their opinion on what’s the best. Fanboys of all major web browsers will tell you theirs is the best. A hipster will probably tell you Maxithon or some other web browser no one has heard of is the best. For the most part, it’s a general consensus that Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari are the best all-around browsers. They give you the best protection and security, faster rendering speeds, and are up to date on all the latest web technologies.
Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s up to date, and not Internet Explorer. I wasn’t quite sure how to ease this topic into my blog, so I’ll just come out and say it: <nerdRant> Internet Explorer is a terrible browser. At the time of this blog post, Internet Explorer (IE) is currently on version 11. I’ll admit, it’s their best browser yet, but it is still 5 versions behind Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Year after year Microsoft fails to produce a browser that meets current web technology standards and reuses old platforms that are dying out. Microsoft knows IE sucks. In 2012 they released an ad where they make a point that “IE sucks…less” and then reveal the slogan “Progress.” You can watch the ad here. The problem is that most general web users don’t realize the browser is bad and continue to click that blue ‘e’ because that’s the default browser that came with their computer, and it’s all they’ve ever known. You may have seen the joke in the video above that IE is only good for one thing – downloading another web browser; but really, it’s not even that good at that. </nerdRant>
Please excuse my little IE rant, but I hope you understand the importance of keeping your web browsing software up to date and how you can benefit from it. I implore you to try different browsers and visit your favorite websites to see which one you like the best. I’d start with the website I sent you to earlier and pay attention to how it behaves between the different browsers. Do a side by side comparison if you can. Did you know if you clicked the word “Nope” that a little message would appear saying “greetings, modern browser people.”? If you click on nope, hold down the mouse, and you don’t see that message, you aren’t using a browser that is up to date with modern web technologies.
It’s called the World Wide Web for a reason and it would be a shame if you were missing out on some of it, or being taken advantage by it. Have fun, stay safe, and happy browsing!
Web Designer & Developer