BrowserWars II

March 09, 2009 by in The Pit Blog

browser-icon

According to Wikipedia, “The term “browser wars” refers to the competition for dominance in the web browser marketplace. The term is used to denote two specific periods of time: the competition between market-dominating Netscape Navigator and its eventual defeat by Microsoft Internet Explorer during the late 1990s, and the competition from 2003 onwards between the dominating Internet Explorer and several other emerging browsers including Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera and, since mid-2008, Google Chrome.” I couldn’t agree more, so now it’s time to look again at browsers and their respective performance. I hope you enjoy the results as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

browser-data

For almost two months I’ve been using Windows 7 as my main operating system. I have installed IE 8, Firefox3.06, Firefox 3.2 beta, Opera, Safari, and a non working Google Chrome. I started with IE 8 and soon switched to Firefox 3.06 and more recently to 3.07 as my default browser. The reason was one of necessity. If I wanted to continue using Windows 7, which I did, FireFox was the browser that worked with the applications and programs I needed. Internet Explorer 8 compatability mode helped with some of the problems relating to page rendering but not with the operation of programs like WordPress.

So let’s set the stage for this comparison. I’m comparing in Windows XP, which still has the largest share of the OS market, and Windows 7 Beta, which I believe will be the second largest share holder in the not so distant future. Lately Betas are the big news. Windows 7, IE 8, FireFox 3.1 are all getting their fare share of Beta interest. This should give a good view of what the majority of current users are experiencing and also a glimpse of what’s to come.

Three different tests were used to measure the speed of rendering and page loading. WEBWait: allows me to measure differing pages with each OS and browser. For this test I used the www.pcpitstop.com address for each browser. Not included in the figures shown were other pages used to verify that the results are representative of each browser. As expected some pages loaded fast and some slow, but their comparative rate stayed consistent.
Webstandards: Uses the same page each time and contains several parts. This test is more about keeping standards and measuring rendering accuracy. It’s a pass or fail test but displays varying degrees of failure.Smiley face is pass, sad face is fail.
Scragz:This is a single page and is simply a load time test. Nothing complicated about it.

Feel free to use the links to test your own setup and include your results in your comments. There should be more than a few Vista/Internet Explorer 7 users that can post their results and complete our view of things.

I believe, between the three, I’m getting a good idea of how they compare. For each, I ran 5 tests, dropped the highest and lowest scores and averaged the 3 remaining.

WINDOWS XP
Browser WEBWait Skrags WebStandards
IE6 .47 sec. 2.78 sec. :(
Firefox 3.07 .60 sec, 2.86sec. :)
Chrome .58 sec. 2.36 sec. :(
Opera .79 sec. 2.38 sec. :(
Safari .57 sec 3.80 sec. :(

I used WindowsXP and IE 6 together as it represents the largest segment of the population right now. While market share is changing rapidly, this is the largest group as measured by PC Pitstop and just about everywhere else.

I compared Windows 7 and the Beta versions of FireFox and Windows 8 because I think these represent the most likely winners over the next year. A lot will depend on when Windows 7 is offered to the public as a finished product, but it looks like momentum is going to get it on top sooner rather than later.

WINDOWS 7
Browser WEBWait Skrags WebStandards
IE8 RC1 .52 sec. 3.53 sec. :(
Firefox3.12 beta2 .583 sec, 2.81 sec.. :)
Chrome :( :( :(
Opera ..74 sec. 2.20 sec. :(
Safari .67 sec 2.33 sec. :( sec.

As expected there was a measurable difference between the scores in Windows 7 and Windows XP. I was hoping that Windows 7 would be the faster of the two just because I had enjoyed using it the last couple of months, but that wasn’t the case. Seperately, I ran even more tests to confirm that what I was seeing was accurate and not a fluke. I’m sure there will be the usual tweaks available to make IE 8 faster but right now Window XP and IE6 are the clear and consistant winners of this race.

One disappointing finding was that Google Chrome wouldn’t run at all on Window 7. It seems that the excitement and fast acceptance seen at the introduction of Chrome is slowing, not much progress made since it’s initial release. I’m still seeing the same problems now that I saw at the beginning even in combination with Windows XP.

One other obvious finding was that Firefox was the only browser to pass the Web Standards Acid test. Certainly the main function of a browser is to render the page correctly before worring about speed. I’m sure this contributes to the growing popularity of Firefox.

CONCLUSION

The one thing that came from this comparison is that after a couple of months use, I ended up with Windows 7 and Firefox as being my favorite combination. It’s the combination that worked the best for me and was the most problem free. The fractional bits of seconds difference between some of the load times might be nice for bragging rights but over days and weeks of use we all gravitate towards what works best. Windows XP and IE6 might still be the fastest, but the features of Windows 7 and the reliability of FireFox make it the winner in my book

Next year should see some interesting changes, I can’t wait.

_________________________________________________________________

Web Standards Project

Dromaeo

Market Data

Browser Stats

Safari

Global Stats

Apple

87 Responses to BrowserWars II

  1. Adrienne Stears says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your posts. Dont have much to add, cheers!


  2. Joe White says:

    I’ve never been a fan of IE since it was in it’s early days all those years ago – when it was competing with netscape.

    I use Firefox now as I find it to be the fastest browswer and the most usful with all of the plugins etc you can use for it. And, many people wonder why I don’t use chrome; well, I don’t want to give Google more of my information to sell, now do I?


  3. Leonard Blaska, Jr. says:

    I use a browser noone seems to compare to the rest. I use SLIMBROWSER. I’ve tried IE Firefox Opera and i like slimbrowser over them.


  4. Gil Wall says:

    I like Google’s Chrome browser. I prefer Chrome because if it’s design, ease of use, look and free of clutter. I find Chrome to be the quickest to load and service search request faster too. Of the three browsers, Firefox is the big memory hog. Close to twice the memory size of IE8 and Chrome. Never had a problem with overall proformance, but their are sites that do not format correctly and to some this can denture some from using Chrome.


  5. Bruce says:

    Avant Browser is Internet Explorer. It isn’t a “stand alone” browser.

    It displays pages just as badly as IE has all the same flaws and exploits as IE. The main difference would be they added skins and a few extensions to IE. But in the end all it is, is IE with new window dressing.


  6. Jim says:

    I Wonder why Avant browser is not mentioned since it has been dubbed by PC Magazine as the fastest browser on earth !!! I tried explaining to Fred Langa ( Whom has lost his mind ) that he also never mentioned this browser and I think its because they get no kickback for mentioning it although it is the best !!! Avant Browser and Avast Antivirus are the best and I have been virus free for 8 years !!! You be the judge !!!


  7. I’m with you on the Win-7 Firefox Beta combo. I too have been really impressed with Windows 7 Beta, but had to take it off my main ‘Puter because it didn’t work well with the Acrobat 9 I needed for my taxes last month. My secondary machine is on loan to a sister right now, but as soon as it gets home, Widows 7 is going on it immediately, and Firefox 3.1.3 Beta will remain my default browser. Thanks for the comparison,I love it when my instincts are confirmed !


  8. JT Westring says:

    Priority wise, I down load graphs for stocks and investments. Firefox will not download the graphs I need and therefore is not even a choice. Downloading ActiveX necessary for the graphics will not load with Firefox.


  9. Michael McNerney says:

    The main problem I’ve had with IE 8 is that I’m unable to upload my assignments onto Blackboard at the On-line university I’m attending, I tried Firefox 3.0 as a workaround and it too had issues with Blackboard. I finally reloaded to IE7 and Firefox 2.0 and this is the only way I’m able to stay current with my courses. I’ve asked Tech support but they don’t have any answers about compatability from either browser just yet. I enjoyed reading your article and forward thinking regarding the future usabilty of both IE and Firefox. I enjoy Firefox and still use XP. But I am becoming more and more interested in buying a Mac and it seems to be a bit more stable than some of the flame mail about WinVista.


  10. Scott says:

    Great Article and given the responses the title is fitting.


  11. Marian says:

    This analysis is in-depth and easy to follow. Thanks for breaking it down this way.


  12. Sharon Cheek says:

    Great article and extensive research.


  13. Mary Lynn Kraft says:

    Good article, Steve. My friend uses Firefox and I’ve been interested in the comparison between it and IE. You’ve helped me gain a bit of understanding on the issue.


  14. Cheryl says:

    Very interesting article indeed. Thanks.


  15. Karen says:

    Good to know that I am already using the “winner” browser as relates to this comparison.


  16. John Fraser says:

    Interesting results. I use XP, Firefox 3.0.7, IE 8 Beta, and Safari 3.2.2. Safari and Firefox render similarly with Safari presenting a softer appearance. My computer is a 2.4Ghz P4, 2Gb RAM, Nvidia 7300, and broadband internet. I’m used to sites taking several seconds to load and display, let alone tenths of a second.

    Dick Estel claims Firefox doesn’t display his site correctly. It is not W3C Standards compliant. Firefox does control some elements differently such as margins, padding, and horizontal rules, but it is preferred by veteran Expression Web drafters. I have viewed the page through Firefox, IE, and Safari. Firefox renders the iconic links with a greater margin and easily fixed using CSS. Cheers, John


  17. Egbert says:

    Strangly there is no mentioning of IE7 with XP, wich after SP3 seems logical. Also I miss anote with IE8, if Microsoft Silverlight is integrated with it or not. Might make a difference.

    I used Windows Vista Home Premium with IE8 and Silverlight and tried all other mentioned browsers. Since after six months the horror of Vista drove me to a complete reinstall of Win XP Pro and IE7, I feel much better. Although I use a IE shell browser called Slimbrowser, because it’s functionality is much better than IE7 alone.

    One question seems to be important in the ‘browser wars': Do we want complete and sealtight safety and protection, or do we want speed and comfort. I for one do not believe it’s both possible at the time, if ever. Maybe we shouldn’t demand more speed, but learn more patience.


  18. Muddrum says:

    Well I have been using windows since 1994 and I’m runnig XP x64 and Ubuntu x64, I have never really liked any of the IE’s. I have been a dual booter for about 4 or 5 years and really like Ubuntu, Firefox runs great on each OS. I have tried Chrome, but it will just not run on 64 bit OS.
    PS: To the writer, if you and most of us out here like Firefox and think its a better product, then why does PC Pit Stop force us to use IE or in my case Firefox with IE Tab plug-in???
    Could you let me know?
    Thanks Muddrum


  19. Gutter says:

    I like your reviews but I hope you remembered you have to use the IE 8 that came with windows 7. It says in the install not to use the upgrade version since it doesn’t work.


  20. Bruce says:

    Too amusing, really it is.

    Dick Estel posts a site created with Microsoft Front page and then complains when a browser other then IE doesn’t display it the way IE does lol.

    Dick, you should really not use horrible software like Front Page if you expect to have a site that is web standard compliant.


  21. Perry says:

    I am Running Vista 64 and Windows 7 64. I am using 4 browsers for differant things, Firefox for when I really cant have a crash or take a chance of trouble. Google Chrome for some of my favoriate sites that has no trouble with Chrome because of the speed and tab screen. I rairly use Safari because of the way you need to navagate (but it has no trouble loading pages correctly. And last but not least IE. IE has always been my fav but the fancy they make it the more headaches. The IE beta was really bad for me big time freezes (this is why I switched to Firefox for important things). IE on Windows is really bad it doesent render tons of sites, it cant open a lot of media links (like Chrome) I have reported all of the IE errors to Microsoft time and time again. I tell them the more fancy the more headaches. I never liked other browsers and only used IE until 6 or 8 mounth’s ago because of the headaches. PS. I keep telling Microsoft if you want to make IE better add a Download Manager to it instead of things that people will hardly use.


  22. Dave says:

    Not sure about shogun’s results. I have been working with Wildblue satellite tech support on my connection and have been keeping pretty detailed measurements on the different browsers and test site speeds. I have been using Numions stopwatch to measure different browsers to different sites. It became quite obvious that Chrome beat the others hands down, Firefox was next, IE and last was Opera which surprised me because Opera loads so fast. Operating system is XP.


  23. Gary says:

    It is a shame to have not waited for RC1 to come out, the beta does not have everything running at full speed, and IE8 still needs some work although it is better. But maybe it is time to move up to a standard of 64 bit, with the large speeds we deal with. I would actually use Safari except for the fact that it downloads to a seperate folder and then you have to go open it much perfer the Automation of IE auto execute.


  24. William says:

    Chrome and Firefox are probably the two best browsers, use Chrome if speed is what you want, from my experience, it starts up faster, loads pages faster, and has a more user-friendly interface. Use Firefox if you want complete control with lots of addons.


  25. JOHNNY69 says:

    I’m sorry guy’s and gal’s, but I still like things that have that “Stable” word attached to them.
    Simply put XP Pro (SP2), Google Chrome. iGoogle and it’s gadgets. I have a high end HP Elitebook (Business Notebook) that prices out at around 2 Grand with the docking Ultra High Capacity 12-Cell LiO battery pack. Takes me out to 25.2 hours on battery alone.
    Fast T9400 Intel Processor (2.54 GHz), 800 MHz Memory, 1066 FSB, 6.0 L2 Cache. 10/100/100 Ethernet, Draft-N for WiFi, Blu-Ray Optical Drive with a 250 GB, 7200 RPM SATA II Hard Drive. FireWire, E-SATA and HDMI Ports with 4-USB Ports.
    My Browser(That works great!) Chrome w/IE 7 for occasional WebSite conflicts. Tried IE 8. Bad move ….. it Puked badly. I don’t understand why people still use Vista. I think it’s a grily platform. Slow and very memory hungry for what it does. Google desktop will give you the same sidebar and customizable too! Windows 7 already has a Service Pack, and it isn’t even out of Beta. I say “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!
    Some people love Microsoft, and some hate it. I just get awful tired of updates that lead to problems. Enough said!


  26. I have been trying Windows 7. I loaded Chrome right away, and it has worked very well. I wonder why it did not work for the reviewer?

    In any case, it is working on my old system.


  27. Kerry says:

    It’s interesting to see all the different (sometimes conflicting) ideas about which browser is fastest or ‘best’. I think it depends on: what you’re using it FOR (i.e. web development, web surfing, etc.), and HOW you’re using it (i.e. how do you have it configured/customized, what plugins, etc.).

    Personally, for everyday web surfing, I really like Maxthon(ver. 1.6.3): it’s extremely customizable, and has LOTS of features that I find usefull, even if it might be a fraction of a second slower than some other browser. Just my opinion.

    I’ve been using it for years, and have never had any problem with ‘standards’ or compatibility. (As far as I know, anyway.)


  28. Andy Statham says:

    Some browsers are going to perform differently for different people due to other software installed. Chrome, for example, has problems if Symantec Endpoint is installed. Interesting that Firefox is the only one that complies to web standards. Is that 100% compliance? One must ask why no one else complies to them. Could it be the web standards that need to change?


  29. Dick Estel says:

    It’s interesting that you found that Firefox does a good job rendering pages correctly. I liked Firefox when I first tried it, but I switched to Opera because Firefox does NOT render my pages correctly. Every other browser does them fine, but Firefox adds a ton of space around the elements in tables (you can see what I mean with http://www.dickestel.com/dickslinks.htm)
    I also find Opera to be noticeably faster than IE6. I moved away from IE because it seems slower than most other browsers.


  30. Ernie Mink says:

    I will make this simple: Internet Explorer and Windows will ALWAYS dominate and for good reasons: They do everything and leave no corner unturned, plus are more secure. Apple lost when Windows was released and never has regained even close to the status that Microsoft has. That is good, because there is absolutely NO reason to use anything else, including a crappy iPod. The Zune is much better!


  31. Rogers says:

    I have been using Maxthon for several years because of it’s tabs and tab control. I used it’s predecesor, MyIE for years for the same reason. Maxthon is a superb browser.


  32. James Hodson says:

    Firefox 3.07 along with the IE Tab Add-on work well for me. IE 7 rarely needs to rear its ugly head (though I’m sure its mother loves it).


  33. I have mozilla 3.7 on a PC and Laptop with Vista—it crashes regularly and I have to restore it repeatedly.
    Chrome so far has been blissful :)


  34. Ken in Phoenix says:

    I appreciate the work that went into the article but I have to ask; How could you possible compare browsers in competition when, according to the courts, Microsoft has a monopoly on browsers. All those others so-called browsers and the poor deluded folks who claim to use that must all be horribly mistaken.

    However, if Microsoft did not have a monopoly and there were indeed so many choices out there, your descriptions and comparisons would be most helpful to someone just starting to look around.

    Thank you!


  35. Dave Fries says:

    It’s nice to see the percentages of Internet users using various browsers. It’s wrong to think just because IE has the greatest percentage that it is the browser to target. The fact is that the majority of IE users know little or nothing of the ins and outs of the web. Nor do they care. They just use what is supplied by the OS on their computer.

    The Web run on standards. Without these standards we wouldn’t enjoy the Internet as it exist today. How then, can any one say a browser that does not comply with the standards is the browser to target just because so many people use it. I guess I have to “accept” the many viruses and other baddies that target Windows just because… I think not!

    If you are a developer, it is your responsibility to 1) make your pages compliant with the W3C standards, 2) test on every browser and OS you have access to, and 3) if necessary, seek out “work-arounds” that stay within the standards. Stay away from “features” that may look good on one browser are not a part of the standards and thus will cause problems on other browsers.

    We can no longer assume that just because IE still holds the majority of the browser market that it is the only browser to target or program for. Hand held devices are becoming more and more popular today and are going to be even more so in the future. Not to mention the gadget that may be released tomorrow that will knock your socks off, be a must have for everyone and not use IE.

    Stick with the standards and the transition to tomorrow will be a smooth one. Program for IE and expect head aches.


  36. I will like to know how i can get windows 7 to download from which site.


  37. Mina says:

    Chrome would’ve had higher results if you used the Iron version. Its not made by Google, but it strips out all the extras that Google put into it. I chose to test out Chrome using the portable version of Iron. In my opinion, it makes a good substitute for IE. The only issue I have with it is that it doesn’t save Sessions like Firefox and Opera does. I like the fact it looks so “clean” and doesn’t carry the same typical appearance that most browsers do. You’ll find Iron here… http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php

    But for everything, I do prefer Firefox. I don’t see any evidence that its slow, so I’m not sure what add-ons people are using. If you need IE for anything, just install IE Tab onto Firefox. It makes a faster IE experience without depriving yourself of Firefox’s accessibility and quickness. If you like a lot of speed despite the add-ons, then I suggest going for the portable version.

    I still like Opera and use it every once in a great while. It does have a few rendering issues. Nothing too big to annoy me, though. My favourite part about Opera is that it won’t let you look up passwords that you’ve saved. Firefox does let you look up passwords. I don’t know if Chrome/Iron has this option or not.

    I agree with what others are saying; you need to focus more on a wide variety of browsers, not just the majority and middlelings and minority. There are a lot of browsers to choose from.


  38. tom says:

    opera is the only browser i use its faster than you are showing as for IE 7 or 8 they stink!!!!!!!!!


  39. Margie says:

    NO, web sites are not apdapted to work with any browser. Browsers are supposed to work with WC3 standards. If web masters/hosts would adhere to WC3 standards, there wouldn’t be any browser wars.

    IE and Microsoft has, since the beginning, made programmers jump through ‘their’ hoops. It’s about time the programmers jump through the standards hoops…WC3.

    When IE “X” is the only browser that will open Microsoft company sites, and people use other browsers to surf the rest of the web, is when IE/Microsoft will commit to WC3 standards.


  40. Mark Yannone says:

    There are so many errors in the article that I stopped reading.


  41. David Gray says:

    Is the version of Safari you used the new Version 4 beta? I was a Chrome user for the speed but have changed to Safari 4 beta because it is even faster with less problems. Some interface problems but it is a beta. 100/100 for Acid 3 test passes acid 2 test.


  42. Stephen says:

    i would like to say that i’ve never found IE 7 on windows XP to be that fast. the reaction time to loading webpages is slow, but i think the phising filter might have something to do with it. i’ve typically used Firefox because it’s been faster than IE 7, however in the past months i downloaded Safari and the response time seems to be alot faster than Firefox. but i if i load my myspace page on any of the browsers, IE 7 only shows my background on how it’s suppose to look that’s encoded. Firefox and Safari don’t display it properly far as the encoded background goes, but it displays the other items fine.


  43. jg007 says:

    just checked and IE8 ‘ nearly ‘ renders acid2 correctly but the eyes are replaced by a graded red area

    also people will need to remember that sometime the fault is because the page has been adapted to work with ie 6/7 and does not recognise ie8 properly.


  44. jg007 says:

    I have to say that I have been using IE8 on Windows 7 and have had very few problems with it as far as rendering goes the sites look fine to me and IE8 passes at least the Acid 1 test now although I don’t think it passes acid 2 yet.

    anything that has a market share will attract hackers so I fully expect them to be looking much more closely at firefox although the people who put firefox on are percentage wise more likely to know about their pc’s and avoid bad practice than the majority of IE users.

    with this, if manufacturers actually start installing firefox on pc’s as part of their build then that may be all the incentive that malware writers need to start attacking it harder


  45. Jim says:

    I’ll admit I’m just a computer novice with not much more knowledge than being able to use the on/off component and double clicking the ‘thingy’ on my desk top to get me to a web site. But, having said that, I will say that I am still using XP and probably will for the life of my desk top (Dell 2007) and laptop (Toshiba 2005). I’ve had no trouble using XP w/SP3 it has worked great for me. I used and swore by Firefox until about 2 months or so ago and for some reason it does strange things, i.e. you can ‘close’ the browser and it disappears however, some parts of it is still running and in order to get it to load again, I have to re-start my computer. It also loaded very slowly, initially and visiting various web sites. I finally un-install it from my desk top computer. Strangly, it still works on my laptop, but is still slow compared to the way it use to be. What works for me on both my computers is IE8. It is quite fast loading my home pages as well as other sites. Some load faster than others, but that can depend on the demand.

    The test and various comments are very interesting and informative. Thanks. Jim


  46. kpears says:

    My Test Results From http://WWW.SPEEDGUIDE.NET

    Browser/OS: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.0.5)
    Gecko/2008120122 Firefox/3.0.5 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)
    531 kbps down (~0.53 Mbps, 65 KB/s) ↓
    10 kbps up (~0.01 Mbps, 1 KB/s) ↑
    Details:
    500 KB downloaded in 7.71 seconds
    100 KB uploaded in 80.154 seconds
    Speed @ 141% of the average for direcway.com
    10 times faster than 56k dialup
    Tested on: 2009.03.16 10:16 EDT
    Tested from: speedguide.net 2
    Latency: 676ms
    Provider: direcway.com
    Location: US

    Browser/OS: Opera/9.64 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en) Presto/2.1.1
    496 kbps down (~0.5 Mbps, 60 KB/s) ↓
    134 kbps up (~0.13 Mbps, 16 KB/s) ↑
    Details:
    500 KB downloaded in 8.265 seconds
    100 KB uploaded in 6.125 seconds
    Speed @ 132% of the average for direcway.com
    9 times faster than 56k dialup
    Tested on: 2009.03.16 10:24 EDT
    Tested from: speedguide.net 2
    Latency: 720ms
    Provider: direcway.com
    Location: US

    Browser/OS: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.4506.2152; .NET CLR 3.5.30729)
    323 kbps down (~0.32 Mbps, 39 KB/s) ↓
    115 kbps up (~0.12 Mbps, 14 KB/s) ↑
    Details:
    500 KB downloaded in 12.671 seconds
    100 KB uploaded in 7.094 seconds
    Speed @ 86% of the average for direcway.com
    6 times faster than 56k dialup
    Tested on: 2009.03.16 10:46 EDT
    Tested from: speedguide.net 2
    Provider: direcway.com
    Location: US

    FLOCK
    Bad Response From Server
    Bad Response From Server


  47. Pablo Ossandon says:

    Sir,
    I try to use SAFARI an both, my office PC and my house PC.
    This browser crash in 2 or 5 or maximum 10 minutes of use. I load and reload, but the same. The worth part is that freeze my PC.
    IE7 and opera are the best for me.


  48. Mac says:

    Why not test some 64 bit browser. For example minefield (64 bit Firefox) blows everything away in speed tests.


  49. Shawn says:

    I hop everyone realizes that clicking a Mailto: link on a webpage to send an eMail requires that you set up your eMail on the install default mail (Windows Live Client, Outlook, Windows Mail, etc.). If you use Yahoo as a primary eMail address, you’re screwed: you can’t use an external unless you pay for their POP service. So, clicking on one of those links will always cause an error if you’re not set up.

    As far as browsers go, I think page rendering is the most important aspect. The fact that every browser does it different is an area of concern. We’re all looking at the same internet, so we should all see the pages the same way. Firefox renders nearly identically to IE, and I’ve found that it is much faster (on my machine anyway-I use Vista). I’ve found that that combination is reliable and it takes only about 2 seconds to load up Firefox and display my 3 homepage tabs.

    Google Chrome is the worst, no frills browser I’ve ever seen.


  50. Bob says:

    I am using Windows 7 with IE 8 and Chrome. Chrome not only works with Windows 7, but in my opinion, outperforms IE 8.


  51. I just discovered SEARCHME.com & found the visual search quite different. It was featured on Bloomberg TV’s “VENTURE” over the weekend.


  52. Simon Witter says:

    Why are you using IE6 as a benchmark? Surely IE 7 has been standard for eons now. I use it with XP. I tried the IE8 beta for a few weeks, but it didn’t work with half the sites on the net, and compatabiltiy mode was really unsatisfactory. Sorry to see that’s still true with Windows 7.

    I’ve never liked the Firefox interface enough to switch to it permanently, and I tried Google Chrome for a few days, and found that really poor – surprising to see the mighty Google produce something so underwhelming.


  53. Keith says:

    I have a new Gateway Vista Home Premium 64 bit OS with 6 Gb RAM & 2.5 Ghz processor. I use Firefox 3.0.7. It opens faster than the IE7 which comes with the OS. Opera doesn’t open all pages, so I scrapped it. All in all, Firefox is definitely a better browser.


  54. Bruce says:

    “# Ashraf Agha Says:
    March 15th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Bruce, Thanks for the competition.
    I think that IE is still the standard browser of the web for the year although the FireFox is fast and more reliable now, but considering 67% not a little rank.
    Thanks”

    Only 67%. Considering that the great majority of people use whatever their computer is shipped with, I would say that 67% and dwindling is not a good number.

    The fact that IE is so bad that 1/3 of the users are using or seeking something else is a testament to how bad IE is.

    IE is not “the standard” for the web. The standard for the web in case you were unaware is called WC3, WC4.

    IE does not come close to being standard, in fact it is the least standard compliant browser you will find.


  55. dark41 says:

    Should mention that I have Java 6 update 12, but have to backtrack to version 6 update 7 to get anything to work properly.


  56. dark41 says:

    I’ve used IE8 Beta 2 and FF 3.0.7 with Windows 7 for a while now. Neither properly displays the java sites that I use frequently.
    So I still find myself booting over to XP Pro with IE7 and FF 3.0.7 to get things done. If I open too many tabs or browser windows, IE7 occasionally errors, fails to load pages at some point. Otherwise I haven’t had a problem with it in a very long time.

    There’s a new beta benchmark program for browsers on Futuremark’s site. Of course FF tests faster than Chrome (hated it and uninstalled it) and IE7 and IE8. But honestly, I’m like others who have mentioned that they see no noticeable speed difference between them.


  57. Niall Edwards says:

    It is a thought provoking article. I (like others) would have like to see a comparison with IE7. Also, I am curious to know if identical hardware was used for XP as Windows 7. I have tried IE7 & Firefox over the last couple of years but I always seem to end up returning to IE eventually.


  58. Laurence Penman says:

    I have had considerable trouble with browsers (IE and Firefow) with Vista. Both crash immediately after downloading anything, apparently due to DEP. Is this wretched device going to appear in 7?
    What should I look out for if I decide to eliminate Vista and install XP?


  59. Nick Jones says:

    Hi

    I run Chrome on Vista and it is unbelievably fast. I love it. I appreciate that some applications don’t work with it yet, but then I have Firefox and IE on my desktop for these purposes. But for general surfing, it’s Chrome all the way. No surprise really that Google should emerge with the fastest, most easy-to-use Browser!


  60. Rob C says:

    System: Core 2 Duo 3GHz, 8Gb ram, Vista Home Premium 64bit.

    Browser: Opera.

    Webwait = 0.29s
    Webstandards = pass
    Skrags = A page full of ads but no result!?
    Tried it in IE7 and got the same plus a popup for a dodgy screensaver (which is why I use Opera!)


  61. Laurie Lacey says:

    Hi,

    I have Vista and must say that it’s been great! i think I’m one of the few people who like the OS. :)

    Anyhow, I run IE 7.0.6,Firefox 3.0.1,Chrome 1.0.154.48, and recently I’ve been trying GreenBrowser 4.9.0111. I find they all operate fine on my Vista system. I use IE slightly more than I do Firefox.

    Best regards,
    Laurie


  62. Clare says:

    I have been using Flock, it’s the only browser i have used that hasn’t crashed with flash.


  63. Bill says:

    Very surprised, like most of the other readers, that Chrome gave you trouble–works great for me in Win 7. Of course, if I want real speed and reliability, I use Firefox in Ubuntu. Win 7’s not bad; at its peak, it almost feels like a slow Linux.


  64. Louis says:

    I had used IE ever since it was introduced and it did everything I wanted until version 7 which kept locking up on me. I tried Firefox several times since it was introduced and found it was slow as Christmas. IE7 got so bad I had to find another browser. I tried Safari and Chrome and found that neither one did what I needed it to do. I tried IE8 Beta which I think is worse than IE7. I decided to try Firefox once again and found that it had finally become a very usable, fast browser. It is now the one I use all the time. I will be glad that Windows 7 lets you turn off or remove IE.


  65. ITGuy09 says:

    He says Windows 7 with Firefox was the best, but XP can run just as fast on the internet if you modify all the internet settings for it. They didn’t have it opened for broadband or even good networking by default, but with the write tweaking you can make XP just as fast, and even faster on an older machine.


  66. Ira says:

    I doubt that the difference between 0.47 and 0.6 seconds is noticeable to any of the users. We care about lengths of download when you can play the Jeopardy final question song. These various comparisons are not important to me- how about security? That’s why I left IE and Outlook long ago, they were being severely targeted. I also liked choosing a non-evil empire products but if they’d worked better in the first case, I never would have done that.

    Regards,
    Ira


  67. James Black says:

    what happened to windows Vista (64-bit)?


  68. rmaster348 says:

    I had firefox as my default browser for a while but when 3.0 came out it was so slow it was unuseable so i went to Opera v9.64. I still keep it updated just in case it gets fixed. my only complaint with Opera is sometimes it will not run videos off of yahoo news. I run XP on a 1.8ghz dell


  69. Charles Dee says:

    Can’t stane either IE or FIREFOX. IE takes forever and a day to load a page, and FIREFOX just sits and waits for something to happen.

    If I need speed, I use SLIM BROWSER
    otherwaise FLOCK takes my vote. OPERA was great 10-12 years ago, but then decided to add all the bells and whistles…Bad mistake.

    Of all, I prefer the AVANT, if only I could get it to work with XP.


  70. Arnold Hold says:

    What about Maxthon 2.5. as I’ve been using this browser for about six months and it seems fine.


  71. Frank L. says:

    One thing I did not see any mentioning on. If anyone has MS Office 2007 and MSN IE 8 or 9, the dictionary on the IE will be overwritten by MS Office dictionary which is not compatable with IE. In effect. IE will loose it’s spelling checker.


  72. I run Vista on my laptop and XP on a dozen office computers, but long ago gave up on the quirks of IE except for 3 sites that I need to visit occasionally that will not run in Firefox.


  73. Lee Bartholomew says:

    Chrome’s fast yes, but Opera is the most usable browser. And which version of Opera were you using. On Acid3 both Safari and Opera are the only ones getting top scores.


  74. Rex A. Clough says:

    I did notice no mention of K-Meleon as a browser…. It seems to be about 25% faster than IE7 on a WinXP Home system with an amd 2000+ and 1GB ram. I have also run it under Vista Ultimate (AMD 4800+ and 4GB Ram) with similar results. As for rendering web pages, I have seen no dificulties in 6 months of use. I am currently using K-Meleon 1.5.1, and there is a newer version out….It seems to be updated about every 3 months. I suspect, to obtain real and useable results, you should look over all the Browsers available. Your column is widely read and your suggestions do bear some weight, it woulod be nice to see that applied to some of the lesser known software products.


  75. Cirric says:

    Hi, Strange about Chrome. Firefox is my personal favorite and it was gratifying to see the only ‘Happy Face’ of the bunch. The quality guy in me has to point out the typo in the spelling of ‘separately’. (“Seperately, I ran even more tests…”). Sorry, can’t help it.


  76. Jeno says:

    You should use chromium instead of chrome. Multiple daily updates on that.


  77. My system: vista premium 32 bit, 2.7 giga hertz dual core, 3 gb memory
    I downloaded the I.E.8 and the opening time went to 13 seconds. I could not get a satisfactory reply on the vista forum after posting for a solution or explanation. The I.E 8 tech suggested to remove all add-ons, but the result was the same. Today I uninstalled IE8 and re-installed it. The opening time remains at about 13-14 seconds. On our other pc with windows XP home the I.E 8 opens in a normal time frame (not tested for exact time)


  78. Lew says:

    Many thanks, Shogun. What about IE 7? My wife and I have been using it for some time and have had no renering problems (of which we are aware.


  79. Flo says:

    To be honest, I don’t like your article…. it even doesn’t mention which version of Opera, Chrome and Safari you have used! This is verry unprofessionnal!
    So I guess, since this test has been done over the last 2 month… you’ve used Safari 3.x… now it will be interesting to see the same test with Safari 4 Beta!
    Looking forward to read then the next test!


  80. Owen Nugent says:

    OH pardon me I am 78 and a bit feeble minded.. Chrome runs fine no problems at all it is live mail that does not send mail properly, I use Eudora to send my mail. Have not used Eudora much as I just got it and need to learn how to use it but so far it has worked good

    Owen


  81. Owen Nugent says:

    I run Chrome in Windows 7 without any problems. as a matter of fact I have to use it to send e-mail as IE 8 always gives an error when I try to send e-mail.


  82. I am using google browser with windows vista it is so much faster than any of the ie’s it is unbelievable. I have not had any problems with pages loading properly. Though I am truly disappointed with windows vista I could damn near throw it out the window. I really am happy with chrome


  83. Ashraf Agha says:

    Bruce, Thanks for the competition.
    I think that IE is still the standard browser of the web for the year although the FireFox is fast and more reliable now, but considering 67% not a little rank.
    Thanks


  84. jim says:

    i have to say i find safari beta 4 to be better than pretty much any other browser, my wait times are very short and i haven’t had to install a single plug in. i also have no issue loading any pages, in fact i have yet to find a web page that safari 4 can not render properly.


  85. Roger says:

    Good report. I also have XP & Windows7 active but only as a lowly home user. I have also finished up with Firefox on W7 as my preffered setup on a modern laptop. On the more elderly Desktop W7 was hopeless so I finished up here with XY & Firefox – more for consistancy than speed.

    I could not detect a practical difference between the speed using IE8 anf Firefox on either machine.


  86. shogan says:

    Bruce, you’re right. I should probably add that FireFox is the only browser of the ones I used that did receive the smiley face. I managed to get the smiley face on the chart but then didn’t mention it.
    Thanks for the heads up.

    Thanks.


  87. Bruce says:

    Interesting that you not once mentioned web standards.

    After all a browsers main function is the web, speed is nice but web standards are what counts.

    I recently created some web pages, those pages displayed properly in a few browsers that I have, then came Internet Exploder.

    I had to jump through hoops and do some strange things to get IE to render a page properly that every other browser rendered with no issues at all.

    IE is a horror show. Not only standards compliance, but the numerous and constant security issues that have never been fixed or take so long to fix that it is a ridiculous thing to even consider.

    Comparing speeds should have been the last thing considered in a browser comparison, 1/100th of a second is a moot point when a browser is incapable of rendering web pages properly.


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