Alternative Browsers

Alternative Web Browsers - What are the Choices?

With all the security woes and annoying user-unfriendly problems associated with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, more and more people are looking for alternatives. Internet surfers seeking out new web browser options have a few good choices to consider, and luckily, all the browsers in this category boast positive attributes and cool features that can make anyone's browsing experience a good one. In the end, it's up to you to pick one that fits your specific needs, as everyone looks for something different in a browser. But one thing's for sure - you'll never go back to IE.

Opera

The Opera browser sings to a tune all its own. One of the more popular alternative browsers available, it is highly acclaimed by new and veteran users alike. This browser is well-known for loading pages very quickly (especially important for those of us still puttering along on a dial-up connection) and making the browsing experience a smooth one, especially compared to the sometimes-grueling loading times that are the trademark of Internet Explorer.

Opera is lighter than its competitor as well, weighing in at much less than Internet Explorer. The browser comes with a lot of features people have come to expect in the realm of alternative browsers (such as tabbed browsing and a pop-up blocker) that make it faster and easier to navigate the web. Another thing about Opera is that it lets you choose whether or not to run certain features, such as java applets. These are small applications written in the java programming language that can slow down a browser. If you specify, you can turn off certain JavaScript functions. If you're willing to sacrifice some features that bog down other browser software in order to enjoy the benefits of a faster online experience, Opera is probably the perfect browser for you.

Opera can be downloaded for free - in the past you had to pay for the ad-free version, but with the release of the latest version all that has changed.

Another plus: no security issues have yet to be associated with the browser, so it's your best bet for surfing safely, although compatibility issues may sometimes hamper your ability to view particular websites.

Firefox

Firefox is gaining steam as a favorite alternative browser, although it has been the top choice for quite some time amongst old-school Internet addicts and those who make good use of tabbed browsing and other user-friendly features not available with Internet Explorer. As it cements its position in the world of mainstream browsers, you can expect even more people to jump on the Firefox bandwagon (Grandma included).

There's good reason why Firefox is fast becoming a favorite browser. It offers a simple design, fast browsing, and a safer Internet experience. The browser blocks pop-ups, viruses, and spyware - and it doesn't contain near as many security holes as Microsoft's IE, meaning the chance of falling prey to browser hijackers and other such online vultures is slim to none. Patches are made available very quickly when problems do arise. Browsing is faster because you won't have as much spyware clogging your computer's arteries, making your trip down the information superhighway slower than molasses.

And of course, anyone who has tried to open multiple windows on Internet Explorer knows that tabbed browsing is the most convenient way to surf the web - it sure beats having a million separate browser windows open at once. Another great aspect of tabbed browsing on Firefox: when you open a window in tabs the browser doesn't automatically take you to the new tab - instead, you remain at the original page. The latest version of Firefox even lets you move tabs around after opening them.

Alternative browsers can be a lot more fun than IE as well. Firefox, for instance, offers neat features such as live bookmarks, an integrated search bar, automatic software updates, and the ability to customize the browser by taking advantage of a number of available extensions.

As usual, the trimmed-down browsing experience means not all web pages can be accessed through Firefox. Lacking ActiveX support, this browser can't display certain types of web pages, although the majority of websites can be viewed using Firefox.

Safari

For all you Apple users out there, Safari is your best bet for an alternative web browser. If you own a Mac, you probably already know about Safari, as it came bundled with Mac OS X, but it's worth mentioning as an alternative to Internet Explorer simply because it is another option that works well for most web users.

Safari possesses all the usual browser features, such as bookmarks, but it also offers features people have come to expect from the other popular alternative web browsers currently on the market. The browser offers tabbed browsing and an integrated Google search box, similar to Firefox, and an automatic pop-up blocker. Again, like its competitors, Safari also offers a faster browsing experience for the keen Internet junkie.

Many Mac users prefer Safari to Internet Explorer for Mac for the same reasons more people have been flocking to Opera and Firefox. Overall, it makes the whole Internet experience faster, and the browser is very easy to use.

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