What Browser Are You Using – And Why?

It used to be that Internet Explorer was the dominant web browser. Even as the competitors ate into it, it was still dominant mainly because it was built into the most popular operating system – Windows. And, let’s face it, most end users just use what’s put in front of them.

But, I decided to take a peek at what’s going on these days. First, let’s look at our own internal stats for PCMech.com:



The Chrome browser is leading the pack by a long shot. Hell, even Firefox is beating out IE now.

But, that’s PCMech.com. Surely, we have a more advanced audience here. People less likely to be using whatever is shoved in front of them. So, I looked to see what was happening globally, according to W3 Counter:

Globally browser usage, February 2013

Globally browser usage, February 2013

Surprise surprise. Chrome is still #1. Interestingly, though, the PCMech audience is still more techie than the general world (no surprise there, of course).

What browser are you using?

And, even more important than that… WHY?

Why are you using the browser that you’re using?

I can tell you… I’m using Google Chrome. I use a Mac and Safari is the browser shoved in my face, so perhaps for me the choice is obvious. 🙂 But, for me, Chrome is fast and doesn’t hog memory like Firefox has been known to do.

So, what’s it for you?


  1. Hog or not– I like Firefox’s add-on customise-ability and aesthetics. Chrome doesn’t give me the sense that it’s MY browser. It’s Google’s Browser and they will change it as they see fit.

    Speed of the Browser I feel to be a Trojan horse, and I use that phrase in its current IT sense. If a Website is taken a Long time to load on High speed DSL or Cable and a Quad Core Machine…then maybe its the fact that a lot of worthless crapola is loading. That’s a Website that’s too busy for it’s own good. Or a Website that’s badly or Lazily coded under the presumption that if the User/Viewer has a Fast enough machine or browser, they won’t notice. And Badly coded Websites are vulnerable to hacks and the users who visit them become Victims.

    So that’s why the speed of Chrome is not an issue for me. If I find Firefox slowing down or clogging on a website– I don’t go there anymore.

    • David Risley says:

      The reason Firefox is a resource hog isn’t because of poorly coded websites. It is the way the browser is programmed.

      • I hear what you’re saying…and I’ve read about it and read the various editorial coding forensics (Not that I understood all that much) But no…the issue that I hear the most from other ordinary non-tech users, particularly at work, is that they use Chrome because the Website loads Faster. These ordinary people could care less about ‘Memory holes and techno-blahblah’

        They just say Chrome loads fastest. And yes, it does load faster than Firefox on various websites. Now if it is, as you say, the way Firefox is coded that makes a particular website slow to fully finish loading and Chrome is coded more ‘efficiently’ I might accept it. But my hackles are still raised when a website seems to be constantly, neverending-ly loading-loading-loading. Like minutes later after I’ve already finished reading an article– or I’m prevented from viewing or entering something until the background is finished…Then I stop trusting the website.

    • Used to be a Chrome user for over two years. Now I use FF. I use CC Cleaner and started noticing that it would request to have Chrome closed so it can clean the browser cache. Not really sure why, but makes me wonder why Chrome is still running in the background. I am referring to times when I first booted the PC and went directly to CC Cleaner and had not opened Chrome yet. Found out it had a list in the start menu. Turned it off in MSCONFIG and later found that it had set itself again! Makes you wonder why or what its doing in the background other than allowing a faster start up….

  2. Chrome or Firefox. I’ve had so many display issues with every version of IE on my blog site –

    For me Chrome or Firefox only.

  3. Chrome here. I originally agreed with Lonnie about the lack of customizability, but its gotten better, the things I miss from Firefox I’ve since forgotten about, and most importantly it’s dead simple. I want my browsing experience to be mostly the same wherever I sit down, at work, at home, on my netbook/laptop. I want all my addons just the way I configured them.

    There’s no doubt FF can accomplish this, but literally all I have to do with Chrome is install it and sign in and almost instantly with no fuss at all, I’m right at home, with the same browser experience I’ve already customized to suit my needs and that I have everywhere else.

    • Ditto! Switch to FF now and then when Chrome acts up, so when FF acts up, too, I know that it’s either that particular web site or my ISP’s service at that time. Whatever the reason, I shortly go back to Chrome – simple on the eyes, to use and to customize.

  4. Using Google Chrome here. Using Ubuntu so Firefox is the one that’s shoved at me. I’ve got a lot of years of Firefox use under my belt. Like David I chose to switch to Chrome because of it’s speed and resource usage.

  5. I have an old xp and I have tried most of the browsers and the one that works for me is Opera, why I really do not know but it works best on my old computer and even Sea Monkey works better and I still do not know why.

  6. FF with NoScript remains the default browser for me. Chrome is no longer used as such – only as Chromium on LInux, and Comodo Dragon on Windows; the latter to be highly recommended due to its added security features.

    • David Risley says:

      Why NoScript? To block ads?

      • David M has already explained why; ads, not so much, but the less there is of Java scripting, the better. NoScript offers excellent fine-tuning, and one can choose from the drop-down menu what is let in and what is not. Being a minimalist, I opt for the necessary functionality of a website, and no more than that.

        With NoScript, I have never had the need for AdBlock Plus, although it is also very highly rated. It seems NoScript can kill two birds with one stone, mostly.

  7. From NoScript: The best security you can get in a web browser!
    Allow active content to run only from sites you trust, and protect yourself against XSS and Clickjacking attacks.


  8. Jason Reece says:

    I’ve been a hardcore Firefox since early 2003, less than a year after it was introduced. I tried Opera several years ago and also gave Chrome a shot when it came out. I returned to my trusty FF immediately in both instances. Memory ‘leakage’ has become an issue, particularly in the last three years or so. But the ‘Memory Restart’ Add-On is useful when memory usage gets out of control. It’s worth that small hassle for the flexibility and customization options that are still unique to FF! =)

  9. Chrome is the daily driver here fast,stable ,secure, separate tabs won’t crash the whole browser if one page goes down, handles many open tabs well .

    Firefox is a close second decent,fast, good customization just not as fast as Chrome but a good browser overall .

    IE 10 still crashes ,locks up more than it should, doesn’t find pages sometimes ,and has compatibility problems with a lot of sites particularly my e mail.

    Opera not bad at all good customization newest version seems a little snappier a legitimate option for those so inclined

    Safari………………… Not so hot on Windows .

  10. Carlio Smith says:

    I too like FF been using it for years and i have no problems and nice addons.

    Chrome are you kidding me. Google domination!!!!!!! Definite TRUST ISSUES

    I have tried it a few times and its not user friendly.

  11. Firefox in my opinion is the best and actually for me the fastest. My laptop is in getting repaired and my daughter graciously let me use her laptop. However, I could not download and use firefox on her computer. Mom-daughter thing. Her laptop is about a year and a half old and I have DSL. So, for about 3 weeks I’ve had to use chrome and IE. I will say chrome is faster than IE but firefox has the toolbar that I love and for me speed also. Yep, memory hog but I think firefox will see the rankings and ramp up their browser to compete. Guess I’m a firefox diehard.

  12. I am using Firefox now only because I don’t like the fact that Microsoft removed the separate search box in version 9.0. I have always used Internet Explorer and kept using it until version 8 started having trouble in some of the sites I visit often. Never had any security issue with IE and it always worked fine for me. I use whatever works for me and suits my needs. IE started being the browser of choice exactly due to that. The day they removed the separate search box it stopped being useful for me.

  13. @ David M—NoScript? What;s that? Can you explain please? Thanks

  14. Firefox – because its customisable and I have become used to it.
    Not Chrome, because Google is in danger of becoming too controlling (remember how we used to complain about “micro$oft?”) and I am concerned about what it does with my privacy. I am trying to disentagle myself from Google – or at least separate my different uses into separate identities.
    I have Opera on my machine as well – it strikes me as strong and reliable – but I never got to like it in quite the way I have with Firefox.
    IE10 is there but I never use it – I am wary of websistes that seem to demand IE.

  15. Marianne Popp says:

    I also use Chrome, because it’s fast, loads the sites I use on a regular basis without going through the loading, loading thing. I also use Ubuntu and have had firefox for many years, including when I was still using Windows….but I got tired of it taking up to five or more minutes to load a website, I got tired of the notice “sorry this website has taken to long to load and was reset, try again”. And these were on websites I went to regularly, nothing new or overloaded with crappola as someone else said. I haven’t used IE since Windows XP…never liked or trusted Microsoft in the first place…LOL!!!

  16. I am using the old IE beast mostly out of laziness. I hate the fact that the browser has become a bloated sales platform and I have been thinking of finding a stripped down browser some what along the lines of the old Opera browser. I would like a browser that ignores and doesn’t download all the widgets and that displays only the content which loads way faster. A browser that doesn’t have dancing monkeys, or leave net beacons or trys to add profile information to big data, or bubble your searches, or leave cookies etc.

  17. sorry, i use opera……….

  18. Alastair Preston says:

    I don’t stick to one browser. I use Seamonkey predominantly, but also Chrome, Firefox and Opera when some sites seem to work better with one or the other.

  19. Chuck Laughlin says:

    I use all 5 in the following usage order: Firefox (is somewhat slow to load and it occasionally will freeze on a particular web page but will eventually sort itself out. But when it works, Katy bar the door because nothing else comes close), Opera (will function when Firefox decides to puke and it will load almost anything I throw at it), Safari (nice!! but it has some quirks that I am not too fond of), Chrome (as another poster has stated, Google OWNS this thing and they will not let you forget it!!!), and last and most decidedly last, IE (I will only use this thing if no other browser will work on a particular web site – yes, there some web designers who are just stuck in the Microsoft world and will simply not program their website to function in other browsers [losers!!]).

  20. Herman Kretinburger says:

    I use Opera mainly with Chrome as a backup.I really cant fault Opera though.

  21. Rob Crombie says:

    Chrome irritates me (smarmy arrogance, where they decide what it looks like, and how to use it)
    FireFox WITH NoScript is the only safe way to browse the web

    And there is an added bonus for FF users.
    Go to Comodo’s web site and download IceDragon
    It is FF, plus there are a couple of Comodo security features that you can use, or not use.
    All the FF extensions, will work because it is 100% FF
    When you install it, there is a checkbox that you can tick to make it portable.
    So pre create a folder where you wish the portable version to be ‘placed’.
    Then install NoScript, and fine tune it (IceDragon) to your liking.
    Then copy the folder, with a different name. Do that as many times as you like, to have available, multiple IceDragons.
    They will be independent of each other, as long as you don’t have multiple IceDragons running at the same time.
    And if you choose, you can rerun the installer, and have an Installed version (not portable). I have done that as well.

    Now who can argue with that ? (Blazing Saddles, in the Church),

  22. I’m a older guy, 70 yrs old. I don’t just use what’s in front of me But, I try and always keep it simple. I am a I/E user always been . As, anyone knows software is always de-bugged by the end user when the software is issued. I/E has had security problems and they are addressed by updates. I am not interested in using crome (GOOGLE) or anything associated with a company that offers a service and then exploits its use there of. Chrome’s look changes every 3 months, its search engine records your use so it can possibly sell you something. (not ethical). I don’t google anything, I am ok the way I am.

  23. Firefox for me, nothing like it for working on websites. Firebug and Web Developer!

    I like it anyway, despite its ineffecient use of resources. It’s friendly and customizable. My only complaint is that I can’t get CCleaner to remove cookies from it.

  24. Firefox

  25. actually chrome sucks about double resources as FF and it is a pain in the ass to use. I can have 20 windows and 104 tabs open on FF and use about half of what chrome takes with 4 windows and 40 tabs, so I never know where you get this info. Moreover, it seems that there is never any real articles on this site. It’s always “What browser do you use?” “I hate FB” rant or “trash IE” rant… When it comes to doing much web work, FF still is far superior to chrome. Just the layout of Chrome and iinability to use plain text quickly makes Chrome suck. but worse is google’s override of personal settings on Chrome, you wouldn’t know because you’re in the US an would never comprehend the frustration of having all your work, pages, blogs being converted into a foreign language because google does this automatically based on your browser location.\

    google overall has become a pain. So chrome is not optimal simply because of all the tricks google uses to be invasive… the constant hassles of being locked out of account simply because google demands your mobile phone, the pinpointing of your personal residency, release of your birthdate without permission, etc… google trumpets it protects privacy while violating it in every possible way. Chrome is just the feeder for google amassing tons of data on users.

    FF never asks me for my telephone number, doesn’t violate my privacy, doesn’t put my whereabouts on a map where I can be easily tracked and attacked.

    but opera is definitely the most reliable of the three.

    as for “fast” this is probably the stupidest quality to market a browser. Most people don’t go about racing browsers. From this column, I know that web use gets limited to very few things.

    so I never know where the claim comes that Chrome doesn’t eat as much resources when in reality it usually eats double the resources of FF and half the windows and tabs open. But then, I work on the internet, use my browsers intensely and don’t go about racing. Somehow uploading 60 and 90MB images day after day and recovering taxonomy, identifying species, writing restaurant reviews, etc uses a whole lot more internet resources than just opening FB, G+ or posting retweets on twitter.

    but FF a resource hog? scarcely. Nowhere near that of Chrome.

  26. I’ve been using Firefox and NoScript for years now because I also like the add-ons that are available. I’ve used FF on my last (and current) 3 or 4 computers now and I’ve never gotten a notice saying, “Sorry, this website has taken too long to load and was reset, try again.” Not sure what would cause that? I also have Chrome installed, but I, too, missed many of the add-ons I have with FF so I went back. Perhaps I should try it again since Matt mentioned it has added more add-ons now. Although I noticed Chrome loads pages faster, I didn’t think it was THAT much faster to switch from FF (that may be due to using ‘Noscript’). The only time I use IE is when I do state and local income taxes online (Federal works fine with FF). Although both places in PA say you can use FF, I’ve encountered problems almost every time; so I’ll use a FF add-on to ‘view page in IE’ and do them that way. Then it’s right back to my FF!

  27. My favorite browser is Opera, but I also use FF, Chrome, Maxthon, both Comodos, Tor and Torch. 🙂 Thus I have a full toolkit for any site.

    Opera is moving from Presto to Webkit, so it definitely will gain popularity among browsers for desktop PCs.

  28. I’m an XP user and was stuck on IE8 till reading the Insider article.
    Downloaded Chrome and yes it’s much faster but I anm having a problem with the Norton Identity extension and there are some websites that do not load properly.

  29. I primarily use Opera (Why? Because I’ve been using it for 10 years and I like it) with FF as my secondary for sites that Opera doesn’t like.

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