First of all, what is a modern web browser? There isn’t an exact definition of what a modern web browser is but most would agree it’s a browser that renders a website correctly according to web standards without the use of hacks or work-arounds.
Of course you can get a lot more technical in what defines a modern web browser but that would be boring. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer 8 and 9 are “technically” considered modern web browsers. Some argue that IE8 and even IE9 are not modern web browsers because they don’t pass many web standards tests and do not fully support the latest web technologies such as CSS3 and HTML5.
Internet Explorer 8 is a borderline modern browser. True, it was released only in 2009, but the technology it supported was not meant for websites created in 2009. Most users who are still using IE8 are people who are also still running the Windows XP operating system. IE9 will only install on Windows Vista and Windows 7, so if you’re still running Windows XP or lower, you’re stuck with IE8. But there is hope! Any PC computer than is running Windows XP can easily run Firefox or Chrome. All you have to do is download the installer and install the program.
What’s so great about modern browsers?
- Security – Internet security is a big deal. Modern web browsers have good security features such as anti-phishing protection, malware detection and privacy/parental controls.
- Web Standards – Modern browsers support the latest web standards and technologies. CSS3 properties such as rounded corners, drop shadows, text shadows, gradients, etc. are not support in IE8. IE9 has improved support for these properties but it still doesn’t support many standard properties. More CSS and less image files will significantly speed up the load time of a website because a few lines of code are significally smaller in file size compared to a .jpg or .png file.
- Free – All of the browsers mentioned in the blog post are free to download and free to install. It only takes a few moments to download and install any of these browsers, so why not? The Internet will thank you in the long run.
Which one is for you?
It all depends. Most Windows users will use the default IE browser, while most Mac users will use the default Safari browser. If you use a lot of Google’s services, you may be swayed to use Chrome. If add-ons or extensions are your thing, Firefox will probably be appealing to you. It’s all preference as there is no clear cut best browser. Just like businesses, each one has a unique value proposition. Some are just better at doing certain things than the others.
The future of the modern browser
Future versions and generations of web browsers will only get better. As technology improves and as standards are closely followed, soon enough, pretty much everyone will be using a modern browser without even realizing it. This will be good for you and for the Internet.