An internet browser is a software application that enables you to browse the world wide web, locating and accessing webpages. Browsers translate HTML code, allowing you to read text, view images, play videos and listen to audio clips on websites. They also interpret hyperlinks that allow you to travel to different webpages when clicked on. While internet browsers are primarily intended to access the internet, they can also be used to access private information on web servers or through file systems.
Heavy web users need an internet browser that is both fast and secure, and though all browsers enable internet access, not all are created equal. Different browsers can render webpages differently, and there can be a large disparity in performance between the top competitors. The three main things to consider when choosing an internet browser are simplicity, speed and security. Excelling in each of these areas, Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer are among the current best internet browsers. To learn more, check out our side-by-side comparisons and articles on internet browsers. The following is the in-depth criteria we used to evaluate the best internet browsers on the market.
Feature Set – A web browser should provide practical, convenient features that make surfing the web easy and fast. For instance, a browser should offer tabbed browsing, a customizable toolbar and an integrated search engine. For a more personalized web experience, the browser should also provide the ability to save bookmarks, set parental controls and create RSS feeds. Generally speaking, the more features an internet browser provides, the better.
Security – While online security measures have come a long way since the inception of the internet, the web is still rife with security risks, namely small-scale attacks to hack electronic data. Security features such as privacy settings, a pop-up blocker and antispyware enable safe internet surfing and help keep personal information such as passwords secure.
Speed & Compatibility – Web browsers should load quickly and be compatible with all major operating systems. We tested the speed of each browser in our lineup using the same Windows 7 system and a stopwatch, timing how quickly each one initially started up and was able to navigate between websites. A top internet browser will load and navigate between pages within just a few seconds.
Ease of Use – The best internet browsers are those that strike a seamless balance between features and ease of use. While features on a web browser are important, they become worthless if a browser’s interface hinders your ability to utilize them. Web browsers should boast an intuitive layout that fosters easy and convenient navigation.
Help & Support – Although some internet browsers are open source and therefore not supplemented with dedicated technical support, we still considered the quality of support options available. When it comes to internet browsers, available support can come in many forms, ranging from FAQs to tutorials, email support to a product manual.
While all internet browsers will provide access to the internet, selecting a fast and secure one will ensure safe and enjoyable online browsing.
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