This page is my personal guide to the Internet browsers available, which I prefer and why it can pay to have more than one browser on your computer.
Let the links take you to the right download page
From the users point of view the biggest single advance in browsers in this decade is tabbed browsing. However many people are still unfamiliar with tabs, even if they've been using tab enabled browsers for yonks, so I've put a simple guide to how they work at the bottom of the page.
FIREFOX - is the browser from Mozilla that's taking over the web. It's fast, secure (blocks spyware) and meets W3C (Worldwide Web Consortium) standards. It's got a beautifully simple interface and does tabbed browsing and everything else you'd expect of an up-to-date browser. As it's open source there are plenty of plug-ins and add-ons available including a downloader for YouTube videos, a Google toolbar, an up-to-the-minute weather guide in the status bar and Fire FTP for uploading websites.Where I work it's the first browser that the new intake of students clicked on.
Regular security updates make it pretty safe for doing financial stuff on.
OPERA - make it easy to spped up pages by blocking images. Their page zoom (other browsers just have a text zoom) is unique and it's brilliant. The browser can be voice activated and you can do everything through keyboard shortcuts making it ideal for blind or partially sighted people. It's got all the security, tabbed brosing, W3C compliance etc but remember Opera...
...take disabled access very seriously indeed
INTERNET EXPLORER - Version 7 is now out and it's got tabs and more style sheet compliance than Explorer 6. If you're still using 6 you really should upgrade, though unless you're on Windows XP SP2 or better you'll have to upgrade to Firefox or maybe Opera.. You'll have to do your homework to find out if Explorer 7 has taken on board the security issues in version 6. It took so long to come out that Microsoft lost a large chunk of the market to Firefox. Mac users still have to use version 5, and they don't make it for other platforms.
I wouldn't do my banking on it
NETSCAPE - Netscape 7 and Mozilla suite 1.7 are the same browser. It's got tabs, W3C compliance runs on all platforms including Linux and has all the same add-ons etc. Netscape 8 has been and gone. Netscape 9 is out, but really it's just Firefox with a different skin - no point getting it unless you've got Netscape email, chat accounts, etc... For Mac users Netscape 7.0.2 is the best browser still running on OS 9.
It's the browser my bank’s website likes best for some reason.
SAFARI - has all the good things that Firefox has I'm told. Unfortunately it's propriertory software and only runs on the very latest versions of Apple's own operating system. Beautiful interface. The only snag is that you have to enable tabbed browsing in your preferences, which means that not everyone realises tabs are available.
It's the reason Microsoft have stopped developing their Mac browser
MOZILLA SUITE 1.7 & SEA MONKEY - not just a browser but you can use it as a PIM (personal information manager) with email, a calendar you can install and even web editing software (Composer). You can set up different profiles for you, yourself and your alta ego.
Mozilla have stopped supporting Mozilla Suite and handed the project over to another team, renaming it Sea Monkey. Sea Monkey gets all the latest security updates and it's compatible with many Firefox plug-ins, but there are one or two old plug-ins that won't ron in it (including a style sheet editor that I use). You can instal both and use them for the same identities as the keep their profiles in the same placeI use both versions for identities, where I do the website and control the email.
You will find other browsers available if you look hard enough. One I know of is iCab which is the only browser still supporting Mac OS 8.5-9
Tabs are fab. Tabbed browsing allows you to keep different web pages open, all in the same window. Once you get to grips with using tabs it'll save you a tankful of time which would otherwise be spent on the back and forward buttons on your browser looking for pages you visited half an hour ago.
When you open a second tab in a window a tab bar opens along the top of the browser and you just click on the different tabs to view the different pages (below). If you're moving from page to page and you want to be able to access the page you're already on as well as the one you're going to just right click* on the link and select "open in new tab" (right). Try it with this link!! You can then switch between the pages you've got up in your window by clicking on the tabs. It's as simple as that!!
The other way you can open a window in a new tab is to go File/New Tab (left) as you would go File/New Window and then go where you want by typing in the web address, clicking on your favourites or however you would normally do it.
The picture below shows you the same window twice, but with different tabs open. The highlighted tab is the one thats open.
Tabbed browsers include Firefox, Explorer 7, Opera, Netscape 7 or better Mozilla (1.), iCab, and Safari*.
*To get the right click options Mac users should hold down the control key and click, and, don't forget, if you're using Safari you have to check "enable tabbed browsing" in the Tabs section of your Safari Prefences panel.