There was a time, believe it or not, when the only choice you had for a graphical Web browser was Mosaic. Yep! There was only one. Back in those days, those of us lucky enough to be on the Internet did not have to worry about which graphical browser to download and use to get around the Web because the only answer was Mosaic.
As you can see from the following Mosaic browser screen grab from the past, not much of the graphical Web was very graphical—compared to today.
Before Mosaic you ‘browsed’ the Internet manually. There actually was no Web. There was just the Internet. The Web, as we know it today, is actually a sub-set of the Internet. A very large sub-set, but the Internet is significantly bigger than the Web.
The so called ‘Web’ is that part of the Internet that is accessed via a Web network protocol such as HTTP/HTTPS using a Uniform/Universal Resource Locator address (URL). In most cases the browser hides the protocol being used so you you don’t need to bother about that. However, in most cases, you do need to enter the URL of the site you want to go to—or click on a favourite that has the URL saved for you.
I actually have no idea how big the Web part of the Internet is and after about five Google searches I was not able to find a useful answer.
Anyway. Back to the topic of which Web browser to use.
Today the more interesting Web browsers available are (in no particular order):
Internet Explorer (by Microsoft)
Edge (by Microsoft)
Chrome (by Google)
FireFox (by Mozilla)
Opera (by Opera Software)
Safari (by Apple)
SeaMonkey (by SeaMonkey Council)
Vivaldi (by Vivaldi Technologies)
I am only considering browsers for Windows 10 here so I have not mentioned the likes of Dolphin or UC Browser, or the many other Web browsers available for Android.
By far the most used Web browser is Google’s Chrome browser, as this chart from TechAdvisor from Dec, 2018 shows.
As at Dec 2018 Chrome is used by 63.5 percent of computer users with Apple’s Safari being used by 13.9 percent—and I would bet that about 95 percent of those are Apple devices (i.e., NOT Windows PCs). In third place we have the combined percentage for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Edge browsers at 7.3.
Up until recently, on my Windows PCs, I used either Edge (mainly due to its speed) or Opera (due to its very low resource requirements—particularly its CPU usage requirements).
However, Google have made some very noticeable performance improvements to Chrome in the last couple of updates. They have also made the user interface more satisfying.
As much as I like Edge there are a number of Web sites that do not render perfectly with it. I feel that as more site developers move away from making their sites compatible with Edge there will be more and more sites that Edge cannot faithfully render—which is tech code for “they don’t come up correctly or as expected on the screen”.
While Chrome is still more CPU hungry than Edge on Windows 10 it’s CPU-chewing habit has been significantly improved over the last six months. I can now have 10 or 15 tabs open in Chrome and the Windows performance monitor is still only showing about 5 to 7 percent CPU usage on my 8th Gen i7 PC and memory usage is under 10 percent (with 8GB of RAM).
So my general recommendation today for Windows 10 is the Chrome browser.
However, I should add that some of the other browsers have special attributes should you want to consider them. For example, Vivaldi has special security features including (as I understand it) a VPN that can be toggle on and off from the browser.
Also, I have not used Apple’s Safari for Windows for a long time. However each time I tried it in the past I found it very heavy on resources and the two times I tried it with SquareSpace content creation it hung on me—but this was over 12 months ago. I suspect that Safari works very well on Mac and iOS devices, but I suspect optimising Safari for Windows is not a priority for the team at Apple.