Russ Harvey Consulting - Computer and Internet Services

Web Browsers

Firefox | Chrome | Edge | Safari | Alternative Browsers
Don't Use IE | Customize Your Browser

Current web browsers include Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari

Extensions and Browser Troubleshooting have been moved to their own pages.

About Browsers

Web browsers are multipurpose Web applications that include the ability to view websites as well as interact with other software and services.

Many browsers have come and gone over time. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses. There are good reasons for choosing a particular browser.

Download a Current Browser

Use only browsers that are a currently maintained. These tend to be more secure, run faster and display current web content as it was intended.

Modern browsers offer improved security and functionality.

Firefox | Chrome | Edge | Safari

Keep Your Browser Updated

Whichever browser you use, it is important to keep all installed browsers and extensions updated.

Uninstall Obsolete Software

Uninstall obsolete browsers or those you don't use except where prevented by the operating system (e.g. Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari).

Most plugins are obsolete, replaced with HTML5 technologies which are natively supported in all modern browsers.

Mozilla FireFox

Mozilla FireFox is a fast, slim, standards-compliant browser that doesn't collect or sell your private data and protects your privacy.

The Firefox Browser has built in tracking protection.

 

That makes it harder for politicians, advertisers, and disinformation disseminators to find you.

 

More privacy means more democracy. — IRL

Firefox is a family of browsers including versions for mobile devices, enterprise and virtual reality devices. It is the only major independent browser.

Replace Google for Privacy

I recommend installing Startpage.com or DuckDuckGo then replacing Google as the default search engine.

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Google Chrome

Google Chrome combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology. Chrome is the most widely-used browser today.

Replace Google for Privacy

I recommend installing Startpage.com or DuckDuckGo then replacing Google as the default search engine.

FLoC

Google is experimenting with FLoC, Google's answer to the elimination of third-party cookies.

By gathering the information about a user's history and grouping them with users with a similar history, the advertiser could reach the intended market, supposedly without breaching privacy.

After all the pushback, concerns, and issues, the fact that Google has chosen to ignore the warnings is telling of where the company stands with regard to our privacy. — EFF

Security Concerns

Besides the Chrome browser, Google owns a huge range of products, each of which dominate or are very competitive, including Google Search, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Drive, Blogger and YouTube.

Break up with Google. Use a web browser you have more control over, and which has more plug-ins that you can use for privacy, such as Firefox. — Windows Secrets

Google collects your surfing data. Google never forgets. See privacy concerns.

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Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is a Chrome-based browser, replacing the original Edge that was launched with Windows 10.

Replace Bing for Privacy

I recommend installing Startpage.com or DuckDuckGo then replacing Bing as the default search engine.

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Apple Safari

Safari brings robust customization options, powerful privacy protections, and industry-leading battery life to Apple devices.

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Alternative Browsers

Watch out for browsers that enhance Internet Explorer rather than build an independent browser. Such browsers inherit all of IE's vulnerabilities.

Opera

Opera is a slim yet full-featured browser.

  • Features include VPN, ad blocker, messengers and battery saver.
  • FAQ.
  • Windows, Macintosh & Linux are supported.

Chrome-based

Opera is now a Chrome-based browser.

Browser Archives

These archives are useful primarily to researchers, web designers and others wishing to see how older browsers display current content.

Installation of these unsupported browsers can corrupt Windows settings (such as earlier versions of Internet Explorer) or not work properly at all.

They also lack any security improvements, so using them makes you much more vulnerable to malware and other hazards found on today's websites.

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Internet Explorer: Do Not Use

While IE has been a part of Windows since Windows 95, it is no longer a suitable browser. It is a compatibility solution and no longer safe to use.

Microsoft recommends using Microsoft Edge as your default browser and supports Internet Explorer 11 for backward compatibility. — Microsoft

A Compatibility Solution

Windows 10 includes IE as a compatibility solution which is not intended to be used as your primary browser. IE's behaviour can be controlled by group policy (which is why it is common in corporate environments).

You see, Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution. We're not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren't testing for Internet Explorer these days. They're testing on modern browsers. — Chris Jackson, Microsoft

Windows 10 Moving to Edge

New plugins in IE now redirect requests to Edge (which is now uninstallable).

 

Customize Your Browser

Modern browsers usually provide for customizations. Be selective.

Choose Your Startup Page

The startup page (or home page) is what is launched with your browser.

Browsers default startup pages usually include a search engine which may display other popular links.

Startup options can be changed in the browser's settings.

Hundreds of Portals

There are hundreds of options. Most ISPs, news services, search engines and domain resellers provide a portal.

Quicker is Better

I recommend choosing a simpler startup page.

Do you really want to load all the news, weather and gossip every time you start your browser?

Most browsers allow you to modify their default startup pages, at least to some degree.

Watch for Unexpected Changes

Be wary of plugins, software downloads, etc. that automatically change your default startup page.

This is called browser hijacking.

Plugins & Extensions

Plugins or extensions can impact your privacy.

These may have been deprecated or banned. Disable or remove them to improve performance.

Be Selective with Software

Carefully review the options when downloading and installing software from the Web.

32- or 64-bit?

Most browsers are now available in both 32- and 64-bit versions. 64-bit browsers are faster but you can only run them on 64-bit systems.

You can install 32-bit browsers on 64-bit systems, but not the reverse.

Better support for 32-bit plugins has kept many folks on 32-bit browsers but that is changing because plugins are being replaced with HTML5-based technologies, making plugin support irrelevant.

Security Concerns

Web browsers have known security issues that vary by browser.

Privacy

Both websites and apps can access your location as well as your camera, contacts, photos and much more — if you let them.

Moving to the Cloud

Chrome (and Windows 10) runs much of its functionality in the cloud rather than on your computer (called Software as a Service).

This can have serious privacy and security implications since you have no control over what is being done with your data once it leaves your computer.

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Related Resources

Related resources on this site:

or check the resources index.


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RussHarvey.bc.ca/resources/browser.html
Updated: June 10, 2021