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.

Compare Browsers 3 Browser Wars : Top 5 popular browsers   Feature Comparison Chart

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

Posted by on , in Category IE with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com. Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software & be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware. Add me on Google+.
  • Jack Daniels

    Google Chrome 16 all the way, followed by Firefox and Opera.

  • sasuke

    IE9 is the best browser out there followed by firefox….chrome just crashes too much and takes up too much memory….

  • http://twitter.com/DhulKarnain Dhul Karnain

    I’m guessing you reviewed Safari 5, not 4 as stated in the chart.

    I don’t see why Safari’s download manager would be considered weak, compared to the vanilla Firefox one for example.

    Also, Chrome does indeed support tab isolation, in fact it’s one of its defining features.

  • Tweak

    Opera is my #1 choice followed by SRWare Iron (Sort of Chrome since it is a Chromium browser), then Firefox, then IE, Safari although not even a consideration for me falls dead last.

  • Vasudev

    Voted for IE9

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    Yes – Safari 5. Thanks.

  • http://captaindbg.com Shyam Sasindran

    IE is more stable for me than Firefox.

  • QTWebkit

    IMHO – IE9 is quick, but is bloated. The same holds true for Firefox – the software keeps getting bigger and bigger with each release. Safari is slow, inserts unneeded ads on websites(hey Apple; we are onto you now) and Chrome is too intrusive to your privacy (Google is the “Big Brother”). To me, Opera seems like the best choice.

    I would like someone create a lightweight, fully portable browser based on the QT Webkit. The browser will be small, fast, and is easy to configure. In addition, it has secure privacy features built in. Here’s an example of one; QupZilla; a promising browser:

    http://www.portablefreeware.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14412&p=44876&hilit=browser#p44876

  • Srinivas

    LOL!…I don’t know why almost 26% of the people who polled here feel that IE is better than Firefox and Chrome.

  • Caleb

    LOL and I am LOL’ing how you still don’t know the reason. But then how would you!? I bet you have never used IE 9 I suppose!

  • Run5k

    Firefox has been legendary for memory leaks, and the stability of many add-ons is questionable, too.

    In that infographic, I am rather curious where those “Desktop Browser Share” percentages originated. No offense, but they aren’t even remotely close to being accurate! These are generally considered to be the percentages that the industry utilizes as their benchmark: http://www.netmarketshare.com/

  • Glee Johnson

    Does Google Chrome even have a ‘Seamless Download Manager’ all the way? I doubt it big time. Even a click by mistake on the tab below stops the download, wasting the user’s time. Compare that with the IE9 Download Manager and you’ll be hooked on. Firefox has long been replaced by Google Chrome as the most fav alternative browser apart from IE but with IE9, this gonna be a tough race!

  • Xi

    The best is IE9 and Upcoming IE10. Eventhough Password Manager & Addons Support is not good, IE9 is better than other browsers. Most people don’t use Password Manager in Web browsers at all. Most people don’t even save passwords bcoz everyone is concerned of privacy & security. And addons support of IE9 is reduced recently bcoz of people(faked themselves as developers) copied the original addon and uploaded many, creating confusion among people which one is real addon. But in Future, When Win 8 releases, it must be in sync with most Windows Mobile Smartphones and so MS will allow only certified developers to create addons for IE too to make it more synced with most devices giving a better secured addons. So i recommend people to wait & watch.

  • Whabligone

    was a big fan of firefox, but in resent time it is more frustrating than a pleasure. just yesterday i opened a web page with firefox, waited a few moments, then opened chrome, opened the web page and when it finished, went back to firefox which was still suffering to load the web page.

  • trapper

    If we’re discussing about web browsers, it mainly depends on searching and browsing. Depending on this fact, Chrome (Chromium) has no opponent since it’s based on a search engine company, Google. But another fact is the operating system. Internet Explorer heavily depends on Microsoft operating systems since other run on different OSes. I believe, at the moment, Google is on the right way. The future seems to be more mobile. Web-based games are getting stronger. Web-based applications are strong and scalable. Google Chrome OS may introduce us “lighter to carry, strong when connected” devices which does not need to store heavy OS details. Those also may include strong, power saving components. The only negativity may be the connection dependency. But base stations are everywhere and connections may even happen between devices as a mash…

  • http://about.me/kentchen Kent Chen

    I voted for Chrome, because of its super human-friendly user experience. I am not talking about the user interface, which is also the best among of all. I am more talking about the user experience. Something like mid-click the back button opens the previous page in a new tab, which IE isn’t able to do. Nowadays, performance in all modern browsers listed in this post won’t make any big impact to any users, even savvy ones. It’s the extreme user-friendly experience that makes the difference on day-to-day browsing.

  • Paras Sidhu

    I prefer IE and Chrome. Chrome is fast. IE is clean & secure. But IE fails to load many contents from various sites, so I voted for CHROME

  • Vasudev

    Paras, can you pl tell whcih sites IE is not loading correctly?

  • Paras Sidhu

    Sure, http://www.downloadinformer.blogspot.com
    Open it in IE and then Chrome and see the difference

  • Vasudev

    Hi paras, I see no difference. Opens well in both. Can you point out what prob are you facing in IE. I’m using IE9 and I dont use any add-ons in IE.
    If you are having any add-ons that might be causing prob . Try this – http://www.thewindowsclub.com/run-internet-explorer-8-in-no-add-ons-mode
    Or pl point out what’s the thing you are getting in IE.

  • Glee Johnson

    Tried this site as you said. Chrome took 29 seconds more than IE9 to load with the ‘Loading’ indicator popping now and then while IE9 opened it up smoothly. Also, the alignment of images upon being fully loaded up took long in Google Chrome, though being a ‘Blogspot’ :P

    IRONY

  • Paras Sidhu

    Check out the graphics. Hover over a link in Chrome and then in IE. See the header in both. Open a post. The opening way is different in both. Try these… :)

  • Paras Sidhu

    Load time isn’t a factor.
    Check out the graphics. Hover over a link in Chrome and then in IE. See the header in both. Open a post. The opening way is different in both. Try these… :)

  • Anonymous

    For me IE won’t be useful until it can open with the previous session’s tabs. All others can so I just can’t understand why IE can’t add that feature.
    I’m puzzled.

  • Ramesh Windows

    Google Chrome doesn’t support RSS Feed natively.

  • Afafds

    nothing beats Chrome..

  • bilal@cheap designer bags

    google chrome is best in all

  • Ricci B

    There is an extension for that

  • Ronnyron6

    fu**

  • Nothanks

    you forgot…..invasion of privacy and/or DATA collection practices…….google may take first there…

  • BruceR

    Same souce, but here someone has cunningly transposed the figures for IE9 and FF9 (all the others are identical).

  • Chris Croft

    Internet Explorer is always stable.. and my favorite! Voted for IE9! ;)

  • Sourav Dey

    IE9 is really good. I use it in regular basis at my home and workplace.

  • Ted Ansley

    Crashes? Seriously. I run it on XP, Vista, 7, and 7 64 bit, our entire family runs it. Used it for 3.5 years, almost flawlessly. Been using sync, which is awesome. It is super fast on slow computers too. Won the browser comparison in several publications last year. Chrome is so easy and wonderful to use. Use the URL bar for everything, one stop searching browsing. Easily the best IMHO.

  • BruceR

    “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.”

    Except for the desktop browser share figures which remain with FF9 and IE9 transposed. IE9 really had 51.9% and FF9 21.8%.

  • Mehran

    Those people in Mozilla, are turning FF into a developer friendly browser and this will harm their reputation a lot, I believe it’s time to release a separate browser for developers and keep FF clean, fast and user friendly.

  • Rfiliaga

    The new IE is the worst thing I have ever tried to use! I hate, hate, hate it! If only I could go back to the last version. I am now looking for a new browser because I cannot deal with IE any longer.

  • BruceR

    Which version? What’s so bad?

  • http://www.sanumed.com/ Sanumed

    Mozilla firefox is best browser for me and always be.I like its privacy feature and it gives me awesome plugins to use…

  • tude

    IE is the worst browser. I always use it to download another browser.

  • Freaker

    Are you kidding ?
    IE is only for the stupid people or for the peoples who don’t have another browser.

  • Freaker

    All version. Especially their compatibility, addons, etc.

  • ??????? ?????

    Hi, could you please write a review of the new russian Yandex.Browser? The claim it is even faster than Chrome – http://topbrowser.ru/browser/yandeksbrauzer

  • Carl bennett

    4 out of the 5 browsers shown have been reported as being vunerable to being hacked! The onlt one that hasn’t is the Apple Safari 5 and that is absolutely useless, so what does that leave us with?

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    Every browser, OS or software is being vulnerable to being hacked. Safari was hacked and hacked. Its just a question of being more secure – and how quickly its developers releases patches once vulnerabilities are found.

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