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Why you should upgrade your web browser

Monday, January 16th, 2012

At Album we pretty much live and breathe the web. We know that’s not quite normal, though. In fact, most people don’t even know what kind of web browser they use. They just know which icon to click to get from point A (their desktop) to point B (their email, the news, Facebook, etc.). As common as this might be, it’s important to be aware of the software you use to browse the web and whether you’re running the latest version. The internet is a fast-paced and innovative platform, but adoption of the latest technologies is often stifled because such a large portion of users are still using old, incompatible browsers. It’s a situation where everyone loses – the outdated users because they’re missing out on a better online experience, and the up-to-date users because web developers are hesitant to utilize new features if only a fraction of their visitors can take advantage. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the specific reasons why everyone who uses the internet should upgrade their web browser.

Security

We’re all concerned about the security of our computers and personal information. Every time a new version of a web browser is released, its primary purpose is usually to fix security holes and bugs that existed in the previous version. Continuing to use an outdated version makes you a target for attackers who know how to exploit those weaknesses in the software.

User Features

Aside from security, new releases of web browsers introduce a ton of convenient new features for users. For example, a big change between Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7 was the addition of tabbed browsing. Safari 5 introduced a new Reader mode which strips away all the distracting ads on a web page and just focuses on the page’s text. These features make browsing the web so much more enjoyable!

Technical Features

The part that really makes web developers want to cry is older browsers’ lack of support for HTML5 and CSS3. While these terms mean nothing to the average person, they do impact how websites look and behave. Did you know users of Internet Explorer often don’t get the full experience of a website because their browser doesn’t yet support modern design techniques? It’s true! Microsoft has even launched a campaign to get people to stop using Internet Explorer 6– a browser they created! – because it doesn’t support today’s web standards. Another fun fact: There are more people browsing the web on mobile devices than there are people using Internet Explorer 6 & 7 combined! There comes a point where web developers stop testing older browsers for compatibility at all because the small number of users makes it difficult to justify spending time troubleshooting issues.

Performance

Put simply, old browsers are as slow as molasses! Upgrading from an aging browser like Internet Explorer 7 to something new like Chrome 16 can feel like switching to a whole new computer. It starts much quicker when you first open it and pages load a ton faster while you’re surfing the web. Who wouldn’t want that?

Recommendations

Ready to upgrade now that you know all you can gain from a modern web browser? Great! The question is, which one should you use? Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to which browser is best, but pretty much everyone agrees on one thing: Don’t use Internet Explorer! It might come bundled with Windows, but IE is far behind Apple’s Safari 5, Mozilla’s Firefox 9, and Google’s Chrome 16. You can’t go wrong with any of these three, especially since they’re free to download for both Macs and PCs.

SafariFirefoxChromeInternet Explorer

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