What Browser Should I Use?

By Matt Partridge

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We’ve compared some of the most popular web browsers out so you can decide which one is best for you. The one thing all browsers have in common is that they all let you browse the web, that’s pretty obvious, right? These days they all have a high level of security built-in, a polished user interface and high performance. But each one has its advantages depending on how you use the web. For example, are you a web developer or just a casual browser? Picking which browser is right for you depends on your requirements and needs.

It’s well known that Googles Chrome browser has the largest market share on Earth and that your beautifully designed landing pages will look amazing on it but do you want to be using a browser that is so invasive when it comes to your privacy? You might want to look for an alternative.

In this post, we focus on the values of each of the companies behind the browsers along with interesting features each browser comes with. We have decided to cover the browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Brave.

Under The Bonnet of Each Browser

Most modern web browsers are built on Chromium, which is an open-source project developed by Google themselves. As it’s open-source anybody is welcome to make their very own version of a Chromium browser. Chrome, Brave and Opera are all built on the Chromium platform. Firefox, however, is different, it has its browser engine working behind the scenes, and on top of that a huge array of extensions to enhance its use.

The other big difference between Firefox and its competition is that the organisation behind it, Mozilla is a non-profit organisation which some consider a more ethical approach to browsing the web. Firefox is also very popular within the web developer community due to its development tools.

Brave was created by one of the employees of Mozilla and is considered a ‘values-driven’ company with the browser putting people’s privacy at the forefront of its sales pitch. Opera was conceived in the mid-90s by Norwegian company Telenor. In 2016, Opera was purchased by a group of Chinese investors.

With this background information in mind, let's take a look at each browser in more detail.

1) Google Chrome

Chrome has the largest market share with around two-thirds of web users using Chrome as their browser of choice. You will probably find that web apps such as Gmail and Google Analytics work much better in Chrome. Some web apps will only work within Google Chrome. You may also find messages appear on some highly creative websites that state ‘works best in Chrome’.

If you like a minimal user interface, then you will certainly enjoy Chromes minimal UI. Chrome also can synchronise all of your settings, history, bookmarks, passwords across all of your devices. This means everything is just as you like it whether you are using Chrome on your Android device or desktop machine.

One downside to Chrome that some people find is Google's way of capturing your data and using it for its commercial gain. Even though Chrome is fast and secure you may want to look for an alternative browser if you feel these privacy issues are a concern.

2) Firefox

Firefox has been through a bit an identity crisis of late. In 2017 it changed its name to Firefox Quantum, that has since changed and it’s back to being called just Firefox. The latest incarnation of the browser focuses on privacy. Mozilla has recently incorporated extra privacy protections within the browser which include blocking third-party tracking cookies by default. There is also a neat feature that allows you to see trackers who follow you and collect data whilst you browse the web. Firefox also gives you a lot of flexibility on how cookies are controlled. In the Autumn of 2019, Mozilla introduced Firefox Private Network, an extension to the browser which provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and personal information when browsing online.

Firefox has also always been a popular choice within the developer community due to its insightful development tools, including firebug (which now comes incorporated within the browser itself). Firefox also has a huge array of browser extensions such as colour pickers and screenshot plugins that also help designers and developers work smarter. If you are looking for a web browser that’s run by a company concerned about privacy and has a great business ethos, then Firefox may be the way to go.

3) Opera

Opera may be a browser that you may not have given much thought before however, it is a decent browser with some neat features.

One of these features is that might catch your attention is the free, built-in VPN into the browser. We have to admit, as it’s a new feature to the browser, it can be quite slow to respond to the web but we do think this is something Opera will improve within the near future. It’s certainly something to keep your eye on. We do think though this is a huge leap in the right direction for anyone wanting to browse the web with a right to privacy.

Opera also comes with a social sidebar that works with Messenger and WhatsApp meaning you don’t have to keep switching tabs when browsing. On top of that, there is a dark mode and a built-in ad-blocker.

If you do spend a lot of time chatting away on Facebook messenger or Whatsapp then you may want to consider this to be your browser of choice.

4) Brave

Brave is a browser built on Chromium however it takes a very different stand when it comes to privacy and how online revenue is generated by companies. As a default Brave will block any adverts and trackers and all plugins are switched off by default. All of this means Brave is a nippy browser, it doesn’t load unnecessary data that other browsers do download.

All this ad-blocking is brilliant news for the end-user but websites do need a way to make an income, so users are encouraged to support the sites they visit via the Brave Rewards system, an ad exchange platform based on the cryptocurrency Ethereum. This is an interesting concept and more can be found on through Braves homepage. https://brave.com/ If you're a lover of the web but you’ve been disillusioned with how things have turned out Brave could be the browser for you. It's fast, it's secure, and it's making a brave step towards an ethical and efficient online revenue model for the creators of the web.

Web Design Blog Author

Article Written by Matt Partridge
Web Developer & Digital Marketing Specialist
[email protected]

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