4 Modern Web Browsers that Will Make You Forget Internet Explorer
Much like dinosaurs, VCRs, and the Choco Taco, Internet Explorer is now extinct.
The web browser — one of the world’s most widely-used — commanded a 95% global marketing share at its peak, but that number has declined steadily over the years. On June 15, 2022, Microsoft officially ended support for the browser, marking the end of a 27-year era.
If you’re still using Internet Explorer, whether out of habit or for nostalgia’s sake, it’s best you switch to a different web browser sooner rather than later. Sticking with Internet Explorer will make you more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.
Internet Explorer’s Fall from Grace
While not as exciting as the “cola wars” of the 1980s — anyone remember New Coke? — web browsers have been waging a battle of their own since the early 2000s. Firefox was the first to challenge Internet Explorer for dominance, launching in 2004. Google Chrome followed in 2008. Mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android, which did not support Internet Explorer, represented the final nail in the coffin. By early 2022, Internet Explorer’s market share had plunged to just 0.38%.
Nostalgia buffs might pine for Internet Explorer’s glory days much the same way they flock to the last remaining Blockbuster store in Oregon, but there’s no valid reason to click on that familiar blue “e” logo anymore (if you can even find it on your device). In fact, doing so will cause more harm than good, according to Golden West Internet Help Desk Supervisor Seth Engel.
“It’s important that individuals who still use Internet Explorer switch to a ‘modern browser’ as soon as possible,” warns Seth. “Not only will you find fewer compatible websites as time goes on, but (if you keep using it) you’ll be exposing your device to malicious software that takes advantage of security holes in the program.”
Fortunately, you have plenty of options.
“There are several free internet browsing programs to choose from,” Seth continues. “Which one you use should depend on how you use it.”
‘The Big Four’ Dominate Global Browsing
Google Chrome is today’s leading web browser. Worldwide, about 66% of internet users browse the web using Chrome. Microsoft Edge, introduced in 2015 as a successor to Internet Explorer, ranks a distant second, slightly outpacing Apple’s Safari (10% vs. 9.6%). Fourth-place Firefox is barely a blip at 4%.
Though there are other browsers available, Seth suggests sticking with one of the market leaders. Doing so virtually guarantees support.
“At the Internet Help Desk, we can provide basic support for some of the better-known browsers like Microsoft Edge, Chrome, and Firefox,” he explains. “Most members have heard of, or might already be using, these. There are many alternative browsers available, but since they are not widely used, we don’t have many resources to help us troubleshoot issues with them.”
Web Browser Pros & Cons
There are pros and cons to each of the popular web browsers. Seth brings a unique perspective based on his Internet Help Desk experience. Some of the features he mentions are for more advanced users.
|Microsoft Edge. “Microsoft Edge has changed since its release. It now uses the Chromium webpage rendering code, the same as Chrome; that has allowed them to focus on adding unique features. Some could be useful, including a Reader Mode that strips away advertising and removes distractions. Performance-wise, its speed is just slightly less than Chrome.” Download and install here.|
|Mozilla Firefox. “Firefox is not as fast and is quite resource-heavy, but it does have a couple of options the others do not. One extension allows you to sign into a website with multiple accounts at once without having to open a new private browsing tab. Password management and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are available as paid extras.” Download and install here.|
|Apple’s Safari. “Safari is a MacOS web browser, so those needing to switch from Internet Explorer likely would not choose this option. It is worth noting that Safari has the fastest performance of all these web browsers and uses the least amount of system resources, but there is room for growth when it comes to compatibility.” Download and install here.|
The “Big Four” aside, Seth also has an honorable mention. “Opera is not widely used, but it does seem to be a trendsetter for many features used in browsers today,” he says. “They have a built-in encrypted proxy server that acts as a VPN and a built-in ad blocker with protection against crypto-mining scripts and other known threats.”
As always, the Golden West Help Desk is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to help resolve any internet issues you might have. You can reach them at 1-855-888-7777, option 1.
Golden West does not endorse any of these products or services.
Sources: Some information for this article was provided by online articles from PCMag.com, ARS Technica, and ComputerWorld.com.