Internet Explorer (IE) is Microsoft’s classic web browser, originally released way back in 1995. For years, the terms Internet Explorer and web browser were essentially one and the same. IE came installed by default on every Windows computer, so nearly everyone with a PC used it. In the early 2000’s, IE held about 95% of the market share.
Since then, many new web browsers have overtaken it (like Chrome, or Firefox) – and for good reason. Over the years, IE has been plagued by bugs, security problems, and performance issues. Now, likely less than 10% of people use IE. If you’re still one of them, we’re going to explain why you should get a new browser. (If not, you may want to skip to the bottom where we compare some of the other browser options).
Microsoft no longer supports older versions of IE
Microsoft stopped supporting versions 7, 8, 9, and 10 of IE back on Jan 12, 2016. That means no patches or security updates, which makes your PC more vulnerable to viruses and malware. There are also no more patches or fixes, which is bad news for software that has such a long history of bugs and oddities.
Microsoft does still support the most recent version of IE, version 11. However, even on their own product support pages, they encourage users to download their new browser: Microsoft Edge.
It messes up how web pages display
As our web team will tell you, Internet Explorer is a web designer’s worst nightmare. Web browsers read the code on a website and interpret how they should visually display that information to you. Most web browsers do this in a similar way – but not Internet Explorer.
IE, especially older versions, are notorious for displaying websites differently than other browsers. That means your company’s website may look great on your screen, but if your customer is using one an old version of IE, it may look terrible. Web designers try to account for this, but it often means adding special coding, just for IE users. Just look at what at what it did to our website.
How it’s supposed to look:
What it looks like on an old version of IE:
If you want to check what your website looks like on different browsers, you can sign up for a free account on sites like Brower Sandbox, or just install multiple different browsers and open the webpage.
You know when you try to open a web page, and it just thinks… and thinks… and thinks? So frustrating. 25% of users will actually stop trying to visit a webpage if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.
According to most benchmarks, Internet Explorer, even the latest version, is still significantly slower than its competitors. TopTenReviews reported that IE took 9.88 seconds to load a new site. That’s a lot of frustrating waiting time.
Which web browser are you using?
Many people don’t even think about what browser they’re using. They just know how to get to the Internet, and use whatever’s there.
If you’re not sure what browser you’re using, head to www.whatismybrowser.com. Not only will it tell you what browser you’re using, it will let you know if it’s up to date.
Which web browser should you use?
Thankfully, you have a lot more choices for web browsers today than just Internet Explorer. Which one you should choose mainly depends on what platform or device you’re using, and what features you find most important. Let’s look at a few of the most popular options, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge.
Works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome OS
Obviously Chrome is the most widely-used browser, so it’s a solid, reliable choice. It’s fast and works on pretty much any device. Plus, it supports a ton of different extensions and customizations like ad blockers, password manager, and productivity tools. The trade-off is that it can be more resource-heavy than other browsers.
Works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
Firefox is another solid choice that works on just about any platform. After a major update last year, it’s faster and lighter than ever, making it a great alternative to Chrome. It also features advanced private browsing tools, if you don’t like the feeling of being followed around online.
Works on: MacOS, iOS
Mac and iPhone users are probably very familiar with Safari, which is Apple’s default browser. If you’re an Apple user and you don’t like Safari, too bad – you can install other browsers, but Apple doesn’t give you the option to change the default. Happily, Safari is a fast, competent browser that excels at integrating with various Apple products.
Works on: Windows 10, iOS, Android
As we mentioned earlier, Edge is Microsoft’s new browser, replacing Internet Explorer. It’s faster, has a nice reading mode, and eliminates many of the problems that IE had over the years. The problem is, it’s not backward compatible with earlier versions of Windows. So if you have anything older than Windows 10, Edge isn’t an option for your PC. Remember too that it’s a Microsoft product, so Bing is the default search engine.
The bottom line
Internet Explorer has been slowly dying for years, and at this point, it just needs to go away. Regardless of which one you choose, any modern browser is going to be a big improvement. Especially if you have an old version of IE, you don’t want to be plagued with bugs and security issues. It’s time for a change!