The Internet has grown at a ferocious pace and there is now officially over 1 billion websites available on the World Wide Web. However, you won't be able to see a single one of these unless you have a web browser installed on your PC.
All Windows PCs will come equipped with Internet Explorer, and now Edge (Windows 10), but other and often more comprehensive browsers with additional features are available from third-party developers.
This is not a test of browsers, but a guide for those who are unsure of what browser you should aim for.
As already mentioned, if you have a PC with Microsoft Windows, you will already have Internet Explorer but what alternatives are there? Here is an insight into Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Spartan and Vivaldi.
What exactly is a web browser engine?
We will start this section by looking under the hood of a browser. A browser engine is the software component in a web browser, which govern the way the browser showcases sites.
A browser engine controls including the way the browser handles tabs. Different browsers use different engines and it allows browsers to behave differently.
This is a list of different browser engines:
- Chromium (Blink) is an engine developed by Google and used by Chrome, Opera and Vivaldi. Opera previously used its own browser engine, named Presto, but replaced it later with Chromium. Chromium is based on WebKit engine, which is used by the Safari browser. The Chromium engine runs each tab as a separate process. The downside of this it can use a large amount of memory if you open multiple tabs, and can cause problems if you have little memory installed on your computer.
- WebKit is used by Safari. Chromium engine as we just mentioned is based on WebKit.
- Gecko is used by Firefox. It is free and open, and used different software from the Mozilla organization. Gecko can run on different devices and on different operating systems.
- Trident is used by Internet Explorer. This engine has undergone major changes over the last decade, especially in terms of better support of web standards.
- Edge Html is the name of the new engine for Spartan/Edge Internet browser, which will replace Internet Explorer in Windows 10 this summer. This engine is based on Trident, and it can be tested with Windows 10 Technical Preview.
Internet Explorer is the old boy on the block from Microsoft. This browser has for many years been criticized partly for poor security, but this has been greatly improved over the last few years. Internet Explorer hangs sadly behind in terms of features and innovation. The advantage is that you do not have to download a browser, if you use Windows because Internet Explorer is built into Windows. Read more about Internet Explorer on microsoft.com
Google's browser is one of the most popular on the market, and not without reason, as Chrome is certainly one of the best. It is fast, secure, and has many features. For more information on Chrome, please visit google.com/chrome/.
This browser is based on open source software, and Firefox's strongest side is how flexible it is. Firefox has excellent security and has thousands of additional add-ons available for free download. For information about Firefox, please visit mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/new/.
Opera is a reasonably good browser that unlike the others is developed outside of the US in Norway. The problem is that Opera offers a relatively small number of extensions, and number of functions have been reduced somewhat over the past few years. For more information on Opera, please visit opera.com.
Safari is a web browser that is more common to Apple users at it is preinstalled on their machines, but is also available to Windows users. Read more about Safari on apple.com/uk/safari/.
Edge is Microsoft's new browser that comes pre-installed with all Windows 10 PC's. It's intended as a long-term replacement for Internet Explorer, with greater flexibility and more features than its predecessor. The browser was previously codenamed Spartan before being given its final name with the launch of Windows 10.
Vivaldi is a browser that was created by former Opera founder Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner. The reason that Jon created a completely new browser is that he was not satisfied with the progress of the Opera browser. The target audience for Vivaldi browser is primarily tech savvy individuals. If you want a browser with lots of fun features, you should definitely consider this. For more information on Vivaldi, please visit vivaldi.com.