Everyone browses the Internet differently, so it makes sense that we all have different things we look for in a browser. For some, ease of use is paramount. For others, security is more important. We’ve compiled some of the best browsers in each category, so you can find the browser that is best for your Internet habits.
Most Secure Features for Everyone
Internet Explorer / Microsoft Edge: Microsoft’s browser offerings, Internet Explorer and Edge, are best known for being secure browsers that are easy to navigate. They both have great security features that can protect you against phishing and malware. In fact, PCmag.com notes that Edge was top ranked in blocking phishing attacks. Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge allow you to enable tools that block cookies and erase your browser history. You can also use a privacy browser to avoid tracking as you surf the Internet. The only downside is that these browsers are only available on Windows devices, with Microsoft Edge now replacing Internet Explorer on Windows 10 and higher.
If you don’t have a device that runs on Windows, Firefox is a good bet. Firefox has multiple features that make it particularly secure and private. One of those features is having separate search and Internet address boxes. This means that your search data is not automatically sent to a search provider. Firefox’s in Private browsing mode, which blocks your history from being tracked across websites, is also easy to operate. Firefox works well on multiple operating systems and devices.
Best for Fast Gaming and Browsing
Firefox made the top of the list for speed on both TopTenReviews.com and PCMag.com last year. Safari was also listed has having short loading times and ease of browsing across multiple websites. Both of these browsers are designed to increase simplicity and speed, and Firefox’s new tagline is even “Fast for good.”
One of the features of Firefox is that it makes Flash content on-demand. Firefox doesn’t automatically play Flash content, slowing down your browser speed and cluttering your viewing experience. Instead, the browser asks before playing, therefore speeding up your overall experience. This can also save battery life on laptops and other devices.
Easiest to Use for Internet Pros and Amateurs
In addition to focusing on speed, Firefox is also designed for simplicity. The simple design makes it easier for experienced Internet users and amateurs alike to navigate between sites and find settings menus. The hamburger menu with different settings and add-ons has been ranked one of the easiest to use by both PCmag.com and TopTenReviews.com. The browser also features tabs that recede into the border color of the background of the browser. This gives even a browser window with many open tabs a cleaner look.
Most Customizable for the Constantly Connected
Google Chrome is also known for its simplicity and customization. Google’s browser has many plugins and tools that allow you to customize your browsing experience. The browser has a long history of supporting new web technologies, so therefore is great for those of us who want to be on the cutting edge. Staying connected is easy with syncing browser settings across machines.
Firefox is also extremely customizable, with features such as an icon-driven main menu that you can easily add to. You can also add to or remove any items in the toolbar or remove any of the menus or toolbars altogether. On Firefox you can not only sync your browser settings across devices, but also sync browser sessions, saving sites and continuing to search where you left off. The browser also has an ad-free reading mode in which you can silence ads on all sites and just get a text version of each.
Best Kid-safe and Kid-friendly Browsers for Parents to Download
When introducing children to the Internet, it’s good to start with a secure and kid-friendly browser. Google has its own browser, Kiddle, which acts as a colorful introduction to Internet browsing and search. Google has three tiers of search results, with those written specifically for kids in the top 3 positions, those curated by Google editors in 4-7 and those further down the page (8 and lower) bringing in safe sites mostly written for adults. All of the results are filtered through Google SafeSearch, however, which makes sure that all sensitive content is blocked.
Though not free like many of the options on the list, KidSplorer provides parents with a lot of important safety features. Parents can fine-tune KidSplorer’s list of kid-friendly sites by domain and even page. You can also set time limits and block the use of other browsers or programs.
Pikluk is another browser option available on Windows devices only. It acts as an Internet browser and email system for kids, and allows parents a wide range of controls. You can personally approve of each website and email address your child sees. You can also block access to the rest of your computer.
You really can't go wrong with any of the browsers listed above. You have to choose the features that matter most to you. Speed, customization and ease of use are some of the main desires for an effective browser, but you can always try out a few to see which one you like the best.