Web Browser Applications

There are three leading web browser applications, and several other options.

Dozens of browsers have been created over the years, many of which are described in the section on browser history. Today, most people use one of the mainstream browsers: Exploreror FireFox.

Some people run more than one browser, but you can conveniently keep all of your bookmarks only in one. Also, links only get marked as visited in the browser you use, so you probably want to standardize on one browser for most of your surfing.

A high-level trade-off matrix between the top three browsers is shown below. You can also ask your friends for their experiences, and download and try several browsers.



Internet Explorer

Integrated with OS, faster.

More sites ensure IE compliant first, some use MS multi-media software.

Integrated with OS, more vulnerable to viruses.

More complex, deeper menus, not always standard.

FireFox *

Open source.

Good bookmark functionality.


Available email (Thunderbird), newsgroups, and IRC clients.

Not quite as fast for some functions on Windows.

Less widely used on Windows.

This Living Internet site recommends Mozilla Firefox because it is well coded, multi-platform, free open source software, compliant with web standards, and has the best bookmarking and tabbed viewing functionality.

Mozilla also has developed a suite of basic Internet applications, including an email program and newsgroup reader called Thunderbird, and an associated ChatZilla IRC client. These open source applications perform well on all platforms, and get better with each release.

Other browsers. There are several other web browsers which compete on various feature sets and have different strengths:

  • Lynx — A venerable web browser for character mode terminals without graphics originally developed at the University of Kansas Academic Computer Services Distributed Computing Group.
  • NeoPlanet — Integrates several Internet applications together, including a browser, email, and chat.
  • Opera — Small, fast, customizable application.


Resources. The following sites maintain statistics about web browsers:

You can also see the section on Web Statistics.

Other browser sites are listed below: