Browser Wars : Top 5 popular browsers – Feature Comparison Chart

The war for dominance in the usage share in the browser market place has never been dull. From the day Internet Explorer vanquished and replaced Netscape’s navigator as the dominant browser, things have been heating up. First Firefox came and challenged Internet Explorer and now we have Chrome, challenging both.

Which is the best web browser?

Choosing a right browser is a very personal decision and depends completely on you – and there is no such thing as the ‘best browser’. There are several alternate browsers available for Windows, but among the most popular web browsers available are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and  Safari.

A user-friendly UI, fast in speed, plug-in support, security features, etc, are some of the features we look for in a good browser.  While an exact comparison between the top 5 is pretty difficult, we have made an attempt to list down and compare the features of these browsers. The rating for the speeds may not exactly be perfect, but we have tested the default installations of each and then ranked them – and so this is based on our personal experience.

While we found that Internet Explorer was the fastest to start-up and jump to life, followed by Chrome, Opera, Safari and Firefox, we felt when it came to navigation time or rendering of pages, it was Chrome followed very closely by IE – and then Firefox, Opera and Safari.

We have compiled and compared the list of features of each of the browser. If there is a discrepancy or a mistake somewhere, or if something more needs to be added, please point it out in the comments and we will rectify it.

Comparison of Browsers

TWC author Lavish Thakar has created this feature comparision chart for these browsers. If you can’t view it properly, and wish to see a larger image, please click on the image.

There was a time, when people had got fed-up with Internet Explorer and they started looking elsewhere, and Firefox soon become a darling of the Internet surfer. But that picture seems to set to change now again.

Internet Explorer is back in the reckoning with its 9th version, which is far improved over its earlier versions. Many have switched back to IE9 now. IE9 today, is considered by may to be one of the most secure and fast browsers!



But it carries baggage from the past. The name ‘Internet Explorer’! All the problems being attributed to it belong to the IE6 era and are no longer applicable to IE9. Yet IE9 carries the baggage. Nothing Microsoft could have done to improve Windows Vista would have mattered – as it had already got a bad name. IE too got a bad name during its IE6 days, and that has stuck on. It is no longer “in” to be seen using the Internet Explorer, especially among the younger-set – and this is one of the points Microsoft would have to factor in while deciding on the future course for IE.

Chrome too is fast and secure, and it has been showing high growth and adoption rates. It could well topple Firefox as the most popular alternate browser world-wide. In fact, the threat to Internet Explorer today now seems to be more from Chrome.

Firefox seems to have fallen from the good books of many, due to some reasons. Maybe it is because of the high memory usage…!? But it still commands a band of very strong loyalists who love it for what it is. Firefox is now trying to play catchup with its fast updates cycle, and we only hope that they will succeed.

Opera is still loved a lot, by a select set of users, but again its market share is sadly languishing at a dismal 5%.  Its users are very protective and vociferous about defending it and its features – but no one can offer any reason for its low market share; even after the Browser Screens were introduced.

Safari for Windows, well, was never expected to do too well, but there still appear to be some who like it. One of the turn-downs for installing this browser, is its large size. It comes with the baggage of Apple Updates too – which makes its download size for Windows really large.

Browser Wars

The browser wars in the coming years are expected to be more fierce. Internet Explorer is expected to add many new features including the most-missed Spell Checker. Mozilla and Google too will improve upon and add new functionalities to their respective browsers. Opera and Safari, cannot be expected to lay low. Let us see how 2012 turns out for these browsers…only time will tell!

We would love to hear what you have to say about your favorite browser! Your comments, observations, feedback, bouquets, brickbats, suggestions about our chart would be most welcome.

With inputs from Lavish Thakar

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.