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Adn.naw

The best web browser 2018: the fastest, safest way to get online

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Adn.naw
The best web browser

 

Most of us tend to choose a web browser and stick with it for years. It can be hard to break away from your comfort zone – especially when you've become used to its quirks – but trying a different browser can greatly improve your experience on the web.

Whether it's enhanced security, improved speed, or greater flexibility through customizable options and plugins, the right browser can have a huge effect on your online life. Here we've put the biggest browsers through their paces (plus one that you might not be familiar with) to identify the one that does the best job of ticking all those boxes, but if you have a particular concern then read on to see if there's an alternative that might be better suited to your needs.

 

Mozilla Firefox

1. Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is back after a total overhaul, and has retaken its crown

 

➕ Very fast
➕ Light on system resources
Strong privacy tools

 

Firefox recently received its biggest update in 13 years, and it's so impressive, it's propelled the browser to the top of our list. 

Firefox has always been known for its flexibility and support for extensions, but in recent years it had started to lag behind the competition in terms of speed. Firefox Quantum, first released last year, represented a total overhaul of the browser's code base, with speeds now comparable with Google Chrome. That's not just on top-end computers, either – the new Firefox makes frugal use of RAM, even with masses of tabs open.

Firefox also scores serious points when it comes to privacy. Mozilla is non-profit, which means it doesn't have the same impetus to sell your data as some other browser developers. The organization also makes regular updates to help protect its users' privacy as internet companies come under increasing scrutiny over the way they treat people's data.

Quantum also introduced a new system for extensions that prevents rogue developers making malicious changes to the browser's internal code. 

It's not always the absolute fastest – for some pages Chrome still has the edge, as Mozilla's own video demonstrates – but the new Firefox has come out swinging and is our pick for the best web browser of 2018 so far.

 

Google Chrome

2. Google Chrome

If your system has the resources, Chrome is 2017's best browser

 

➕ Fast performance
➕ Infinitely expandable
➖ Resource-hungry

 

With Chrome, Google has built an extendable, efficient browser that deserves its place at the top of the browser rankings. According to w3schools' browser trend analysis its user base is only rising, even as Microsoft Edge's install numbers are presumably growing. Why? Well, it's cross-platform, incredibly stable, brilliantly presented to take up the minimum of screen space, and just about the nicest browser there is to use.

Its wide range of easily obtained and installed extensions mean you can really make it your own, and there's support for parental controls and a huge range of tweaks and settings to ensure maximum efficiency.

But there are downsides, and potentially big ones. It's among the heaviest browsers in terms of resource use, so it's not brilliant on machines with limited RAM, and its performance doesn't quite match up to others in benchmarking terms. And with Google's tentacles running through it, you might be uncomfortable with the ways in which your browsing data may be used.

 

Opera

3. Opera

An underrated browser that's a great choice for slow connections

 

➕ Excellent Turbo mode
➕ Integrated ad-blocker
➖ Fewer plugins than rivals

 

It's sad that Opera makes up only around 1% of the browser market, because it really is a quality browser. It launches fast, the UI is brilliantly clean, and it does everything its rivals can do with a couple of extras thrown in for good measure.

The key reason we'd at least recommend having Opera installed alongside your main browser is its Opera Turbo feature. This compresses your web traffic, routing it through Opera's servers, which makes a huge difference to browsing speed if you're stuck on rural dial-up or your broadband connection is having a moment.

It reduces the amount of data transferred too, handy if you're using a mobile connection, and this re-routing also dodges any content restrictions your ISP might place on your browsing, which can be mighty handy. Opera automatically ducks out of the way if you're using secure sites like banks so your traffic is free and clear of any potential privacy violation.

There's also an integrated ad-blocker – which can be switched off if you're morally inclined in that direction – and a battery-saving mode which promises to keep your laptop going for longer.

 

Microsoft Edge

4. Microsoft Edge

Microsoft's new browser offers full integration with Windows 10

 

➕ Very fast
➕ Built-in reading mode
➖ Not backwards compatible

 

The default 'browsing experience' on Windows 10, and unavailable for older operating systems, Edge is an odd one. Quite why Microsoft needs to be running a pair of browser products in tandem rather than making Edge backwards compatible is beyond us. The company's reason, it seems, is that Edge represents the more user-friendly end of Redmond's offering while Internet Explorer scales a little better for enterprise.

Integration with Windows 10's core gimmicks seems to be Edge's main strong point. It happily runs as a modern-skinned app on Windows 10's tablet mode, and works with Cortana. It's also highly streamlined for the current web age, doing away with insecure protocols like ActiveX and forcing you into Internet Explorer if you want to use them. We're more used to browsers failing to render newer pages than we are to being told off for visiting older corners of the web.

Curmudgeonly grumbles aside, actually using Edge is a perfectly pleasant experience. It's super-quick, hammers through benchmarks, its integrated reading mode makes complex sites more palatable, and by sandboxing it away from the rest of the operating system Microsoft has ensured that Edge won't suffer the security breaches of its older brother.

It's just a shame that Microsoft is quite so insistent on forcing Edge upon Windows 10 users, making it the default browser for links opened in the Mail app, adding shortcuts to your desktop after major OS updates, and presenting it as a potential result if you start typing 'Firefox' in the Cortana search box.

 

Microsoft Internet Explorer

5. Microsoft Internet Explorer

Fast and efficient, but less expandable than Firefox and Chrome

 

➕ Make frugal use of resources
➕ Clean design
➖ Poor plugin support

 

Microsoft Internet Explorer has seen some ups and downs in its long tenure, from dominating the browser charts to languishing behind its main two competitors. This is partly an issue of choice – particularly the browser choice that Microsoft was forced to give customers after a court ruling – and partially because older versions fell behind the rendering and compatibility curve.

There are no such issues with Internet Explorer 11. It's clean, powerful, highly compatible, and it demands less of your RAM and CPU than equivalent pages would on Chrome or Firefox. Plus it one-ups both of them on WebKit's Sunspider benchmark.

That's not to say this browser is perfect. Google's V8 benchmark sees it struggling, and IE isn't quite as able to handle add-ons and extensions as many of its competitors. So while there's no reason to avoid IE like there might once have been, if you're looking for a more customised browsing experience you're out of luck.

 

Vivaldi

6. Vivaldi

Build your own browser with unique docking and tab-stacking

 

➕ Incredibly customizable
➕ Creative interface features
➖ Not the fastest

 

Here's something a bit different. We all spend probably far too much time sitting in front of our web browsers, and up-and-comer Vivaldi wants to make that as pleasant and personal an experience as possible.

The whole style and structure of its interface is entirely up to you. There's a built-in note-taking system, you can dock websites as side panels while using the main window to do your main browsing, and we love its innovative tab stacking tech, which allows you to group up tabs and move them around to avoid the crowding that so often plagues other browsers.

Vivaldi is built on Chromium, which means you can expand it even further with extensions from the Chrome Web Store. Just pick your preferred plugin and click 'Add to Chrome'. Some extensions might behave slightly differently in Vivaldi, but most work perfectly.

Vivaldi is a refreshing and creative take on web browsing, and one to watch in the next couple of years as more features are added.

 

Tor Browser is a heavily modified version of Firefox that re routed web traffic via random nodes worldwide

7. Tor Browser

More than just a browser – a whole suite of online security tools

 

➕ Keeps browsing private
➕ Blocks tracking cookies
➖ Performance is slow

 

Tor Browser is, perhaps unjustly, most regularly associated with the seedy underworld of the dark web. While it's true that you can use this web browser to access otherwise unlisted sites, Tor's privacy aspects – where your traffic is routed through random nodes the world over, making it very hard to track - are its real asset.

Tor Browser is really a package of tools; Tor itself, a heavily modified version of the Firefox Extended Support release, and a number of other privacy packages that combine to make it the most secure browsing experience you're likely to find. Nothing is tracked, nothing is stored, and you can forget about bookmarks and cookies.

You'll need to alter your browsing habits to ensure that you don't perform actions online that reveal your identity – Tor Browser is just a tool, after all – but for a secondary browser useful for those private moments it's a great choice. Run it from a USB stick and nobody need even know you have it at all.

 

Techradar.com

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hannubys

very bad review.... at least firefox is the best :)

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bb2018

I think firefox is the best browser for me. :P

Edited by bb2018

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Rico69Suave

Vivaldi "➖ Not the fastest" In what? How much? 0.2 seconds slower? Meh, I used Firefox and Chrome for years and cannot see any difference in overall speed on Vivaldi.

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Skunk1966
13 hours ago, Adn.naw said:

1. Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is back after a total overhaul, and has retaken its crown

 

➕ Very fast
➕ Light on system resources
Strong privacy tools

-I don't think it's very fast

--I'm sure it's absolutely NOT light on system resources (just work intensively with it with multible tabs open and check resources after a while; uses lots of resources)

-strong privacy tools; if you configure quite a few things differently by changing settings in about:config + use the right add-ons you can make it privacy-friendly

 

this is my personal opinion: if others have a different opinion I don't mind

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Desertfox
7 hours ago, Skunk1966 said:

-I don't think it's very fast

--I'm sure it's absolutely NOT light on system resources (just work intensively with it with multible tabs open and check resources after a while; uses lots of resources)

-strong privacy tools; if you configure quite a few things differently by changing settings in about:config + use the right add-ons you can make it privacy-friendly

 

this is my personal opinion: if others have a different opinion I don't mind

Firefox has gotten a lot faster since their Quantum release. It even beats Chrome at some benchmarks.

It does use a lot of resources but still a lot less than Chrome tends to use.

 

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insanedown58

While I'm okay with much of the reviews, I don't believe Firefox's resource usage is something to write home about compared to Chrome. I've tried using both on my laptop and the difference is negligible. For my case it's about 1-3% difference in RAM use with the same number of tabs. I'd say it's the next best thing or the best thing out there depending on someone's preferences.

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dcs18

For me, the legacy versions of Firefox never spiked on resource consumption as much as some other browsers.

 

On 2/19/2015 at 7:43 PM, dcs18 said:

"Reducing The Firefox Memory-hogging Dramatically"

(monitor post # 2 for all updates)

 

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DKT27

Nice article this. There are hardly much of such articles which cover so many browsers that too in small summary like this.

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dcs18

Unfortunately, such articles fail to review and comment on some important aspects:—

  • extent of possible customizations
  • range of 3rd party add-on support
  • ability to lock-up all critical preferences

 

One might argue that the above mentioned points hold good only for SysAdmins (which may be true to a certain extent) — however, quite a number of folks (especially at forums such as nSane) would very likely be handling the maintenance of their near and dear ones if not friends

 

One such example can be found right here — unfortunately, that sample knows not fuck about computer maintenance. :P

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mantazzo

I think the article was aimed at simple users, who don't care about addons/customizations - but then again, would they care about tiny loading speed improvement? :D

 

Anyway, I'm still sticking with Firefox, after 10 years - I think the first version of Firefox I ever used was... Version 2 or Version 3. Can't remember. Old times now... Although all browsers suffer from one and the same - they all started using a considerable amount of resources; there are no actual lightweight browsers left I think... Well, probably Edge - don't really use it much.

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Ryrynz

Firefox has become great again, and is especially good with older machines and dual core or low power quad core machines with only 4GB.

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Radpop

Chrome & IE, definitely. Chrome was lighter than Quantum when this came if I was looking power consumption and temperatures and I uninstalled Quantum permanently. Clone is never as good as original. :sneaky: Latest good Firefox was 3.6.

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DarkSlayer

Opera, by far. I use it since 2009 or 2010. Simple, fast, clean and efficient! 

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vitorio

The fastest is Slimjet browser. Been using it recently 90% of the time.

Still not available for intelligent phones.

 

https://www.slimjet.com

 

FASTEST WEB BROWSER THAT AUTOMATICALLY BLOCKS ADS

Edited by vitorio

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