What to Look for in a Browser

You don’t have to use the web browser your computer came installed with: there are many other browser options out there, some of them quite popular. You certainly wouldn’t be the only one switching, or at least testing other browsers out to see how you they suit your individual needs. The five most popular browsers today are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Opera. So what should you look for in a browser when you’re shopping around for one?


You want a browser with the features that match your needs. Having a lot of features is a positive thing, but you also don’t want too many features you don’t need, since leaner browsers will run will tend to run more smoothly. You ought to be able to turn off features you don’t want when you’re testing the browser for performance reasons. Commonly desired features include an integrated search engine, a customizable toolbar, tabbed browsing (this is a big one), bookmarking, parental controls and RSS functionality. However, the optimal features are whatever features you most need. Think of which features you use most often in the browser you use at present, and research the features of other browsers to see what you might like. When you’re testing out a new browser, feel free to play around and experiment with all the different features. Modern browsers also often offer the possibility of downloading and installing plug-ins that extend the features of the browser, so look into plug-ins that you might like, too.

Security, Speed and Compatibility

Security settings are essential in today’s vulnerable online environment. Defenses against malware such as viruses and spyware are popular, and so are pop-up blockers, since pop-ups are a common malware delivery system. A browser may also include a built-in firewall. Security needs don’t often change from person to person but they’re important for everyone. Of course, if you’re dealing with a lot of sensitive information using your browser such as financial information, your security needs may be greater. What sorts of privacy settings you want are very much up to your own individual needs, and some people find that they want ad blockers as well. You also want a browser that loads and navigates quickly and is compatible with whatever operating system you use.

Convenience, Help and Support

Browsers should be appropriately balanced between ease of use and impressiveness of features, but you may find that this balance should shift in either direction depending on your own individual preferences. The ideal browser has an intuitive user interface, and the ideal browser for you has the user interface that’s most intuitive to you. A good browser also has some sort of help option available, including tech support if you want it. How much this criterion matters depends on how comfortable you are with handling your own computer problems. Help options range from FAQ pages to user guides to tutorials to help forums to email support to chat support to phone support.


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Compatibility: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP (32/64)