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Web browsers are sometimes the forgotten souls of the tech world. We all use them on a daily basis but many of us take them for granted, letting them quietly update themselves and provide us with a service we would be lost without. Imagine having the Web closed to you. For those of us somewhat reliant on it such a future is a scary one to even contemplate.

Thankfully there are many browser options open to us all, from the mainstream to the niche, from those with high market share to those with a small – yet significant – numbers of users. Last week we asked you not only to tell us which browser you used, but to explain your reasons for using that browser over all others.

Why Do You Use Your Web Browser Of Choice?

We asked you, Why Do You Use Your Web Browser Of Choice?, and the response was absolutely phenomenal. This was the most-successful ‘We Ask [You] Tell Us‘ column to date, beating last month’s one about the favorite phone you have ever owned. Many browsers got mentioned, and while this isn’t a poll with measurable results, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera came out on top.

This is interesting as the most popular browser in the world at this moment in time is Internet Explorer. Yet the number of MakeUseOf readers using Microsoft’s offering as their number one was low. Probably because MakeUseOf readers aren’t the type to stick with the default, instead seeking out better alternatives until they find one which fulfills all their needs.

In terms of the reasons for choosing particular browsers: Chrome users cited the speed, simplicity, and UI; Firefox users cited the customization, the open source nature, and the add-ons; Opera users cited the light system resource needs, the fast start-up, and certain features unavailable elsewhere.


Other browsers mentioned include (but aren’t limited to) Camino, Pale Moon, Waterfox, Safari, SeaMonkey, K-Meleon, Chromium, and Webian Shell.

Comment Of The Week

Comment of the week goes to ‘Chris’, who gets nothing but my admiration and respect (which is surely more than anyone needs) for:

Above all, my favorite browser is definitely Google Chrome. Although it’s resource intensive, my HP DV6-6145DX can handle it. It’s fast, simple user interface, renders websites in milliseconds, and it’s just…basic. It’s what a browser should be. I have used other browsers and am willing to share opinion. Please feel free to reply.

Internet Explorer (32-Bit) – The most sluggish, slowest, annoying pop up browser I have ever dealt with. The only reason I use it is to install Chrome. It’s ugly, renders websites slowly, and it’s too bloated.

Internet Explorer (64-Bit) – Faster than the 32-bit, but not exactly compatible with everything. In speed, it’s slow compared to Opera or Chrome, but it does hold a candle to a flame. It can always be a backup.

Opera (Version 11.62) – It’s speedy, but not as fast as Chrome, but it is a very close 2nd. (It’d be my favorite if it weren’t for Chrome) It’s speed dial is a nice feature, a sleek but little bit harder interface. (It’s not hard, just something you have to get used to). The “turbo” feature is nice, but not necessary for me since I do get 15Mbps down/5 up and almost 20ms ping. It would be good for someone on DSL.

Waterfox (64-bit version of Firefox pretty much) – This and Opera are a so close in competition for my 2nd favorite, I can’t seem to decide. It’s just like Firefox, only much faster, and not as needy. (on add-ons really) I can definitely say it’s fast, secure, and fresh. I enjoy it and carry it with me on USB when I’m at work. I refuse to use IE9 at all haha.

Firefox (32-bit) – I’m not a fan. Everyone loves it except for me. I guess it’s because I love Waterfox too much to use Firefox. It built the foundation for Waterfox, but the latter is much better for me.

Safari (Version 5.1.5) – It’s speedy, handles HTML5 great for me, and it has that Apple-esque, but I don’t use it much.

There were so many great comments to choose from, and both ‘Thomas Weatherly’ and ‘Spiffy’ also deserve mentions, but Chris’ rundown of the various browsers he has used and the reasons he rejected them in favor of Chrome won me over. Thanks to all who commented, as it made for a very healthy and enjoyable debate.

We’ll be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. ‘We Ask [You] Tell Us’ is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Brady Brim-DeForest

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  1. Pranil Hurbans
    September 19, 2012 at 6:18 am

    I agree with Raj A Malhotra....

  2. Lucy.B
    August 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Hi, I started using torch recently, and really liked it so far. Up until now I always used chrome but apparently torch is chrome-based, with 3 elemantary add-ons that I really enjoy!
    I can download&manage my torrents, download videos from whatever site I'm on, and share on FB.
    I suggest torrent-beginners to use it, it's really simple :)

  3. Kieran Colfer
    August 9, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Internet Explorer is still the best browser....for downloading other browsers after you clean install your computer :-P

    The main reason IE is still #1 in terms of use is (which is very different from "most popular browser") is because for most non-tech-savvy people who get a computer and who don't have a resident geek to help them out/advise them, it's what your computer comes with so that's what you use. Most probably don't know or don't care that there's other browsers out there. When my mother started using computers, I just changed the name of the IE icon on the desktop to "The Internet" and she used that. A while later, I installed firefox, put an IE skin on it and changed her "The Internet" link to point to it - she never noticed.

    One of the places Firefox still beats Chrome on is memory usage - Chrome is still a dog for that if you have too many tabs open or have too many extensions (and ironically enough, at the moment my task manager is telling me that the tab that's hogging the most memory is the one I'm typing this on....). And firefox seems to handle things more gracefully when you're starting to run out of memory.

  4. Dielan
    April 28, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I use Firefox 11. I was considering using Chrome 64 bit (on Linux of course) but I haven't noticed any real dramatic increases in performance and I think Firefox looks much prettier.

  5. Anthony
    April 27, 2012 at 8:13 am

    My default browser is avant .it is more stable than chrome and easier to use.
    I love video sniffer, autofill, split view and speed dial.
    Don’t like add plugins in my browser so I don't like firefox

  6. Raj A Malhotra
    April 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I stopped reading when he said IE9 64 bit runs faster than 32 bit.
    Please! 64 bit IE9 still uses the old rendering engine while Chakra the new one is in 32 bit flavour only...

    • Dave Parrack
      April 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Chris may have found IE9 (64-bit) faster than IE9 (32-bit). This is a rundown of his personal experiences using each browser, after all.

      Thanks for commenting though, Raj.

  7. Jouni "Rautamiekka" Järvinen
    April 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Firefox: addons & ease of use. It does use alot RAM and is rather slow, but I can customize it and history and Adblock (and of course Addons when told) are synced between computers before I know it.