Why I Have and Use 4 Different Browsers

My relationship with web browsers has not been a monogamous one. It used to be with Opera and then Firefox but now I have 4 with me and each serves their purpose. The best part about these browsers is that they are all cross-platform and thus is available on Windows, OS X and Linux (and probably BSD and many other platforms too). I use both Chrome and Chromium for daily surfing with Firefox and Opera for special functions. Each browser has their own pros and cons and below I explain why I use each browser.

chromium logo chrome logo

I started migrating to Chrome after the Pwn2own results came out with Chrome being unscathed. For those who don’t trust Google there is always Chromium on which Chrome is based on. Chrome/Chromium are light weight and fast browsers and I love the ability to install add-ons without restarting the browser. Sometimes I segregate general surfing and more private surfing (i.e. requiring user login) into separate browsers just as an added precaution (paranoia). Private surfing will be more for trusted sites thus will less vulnerable to cross-site scripting or other attacks from the browser used for general surfing. However I do find stability is an issue sometimes with tabs randomly locking up and not loading (however the great thing about Chrome is that you can kill an individual tab without the entire browser crashing). Some times I click a link and Chrome seems to just hang there and not load the page. If I try the link in Firefox, it’s fine
+ Security, Light Weight, ability to install add-ons/extensions without browser restart
Stability and robustness sometimes an issue

firefox logo

Firefox is still with be because I find it the most stable but more importantly for the Video DownloadHelper extension. Download embedded Flash videos from YouTube, Vimeo and many more video sites or just embedded videos without having to visit a secondary page. I cannot stress how easy it is to use Video DownloadHelper to get videos off the Internet: it’s great for downloading videos for watching later. This is especially if you have a slower Internet connection as it downloads in the background as opposed to loading in a tab that you can accidentally close or even worse yet, have the video fully loaded only to accidentally click on a link and the video starts loading from 0 when you return (especially annoying with embedded YouTube videos)
+ Stable. Robust. Great add-on/extensions support
Add-on/extension installation requires a browser restart. Slow to start up

opera logo

I have been an Opera user and fan since version 3.21 and when it was still a Shareware application. Though it hasn’t made much impact on desktop browser, it has had a huge impact on mobile browser with Opera Mini. Opera is used when I want to surf on a slower Internet connection or where it’s not very reliable and the reason is Opera Turbo. Basically Opera Turbo is the technology behind Opera Mini but for the desktop: it sends pages to Opera’s servers for compression and optimization. This is great if you’re trying to save money if you pay for the amount of data you download (e.g. on 3G connections). Opera has lots of features built right into the browser and thus means you don’t need to install extra add-ons/extensions like you need in Chrome/Chromium and Firefox. I love the feature to toggle style sheets, image loading and Javascript (among other things) easily at the click of a button. Whenever there is a site that seems to render weirdly on other browsers, I usually load it up in Opera and disable styles so I can read the content. If I want to save precious bits, I turn Opera Turbo on, and disable loading images. Opera even has an e-mail client and webserver (can be used to share files, stream music and even host temporary sites) built into the browser.
+ Opera Turbo & lots of features out of the box (ability to toggle style sheets, Javascript, images)
Not widely supported as other 2 browsers and has rendering quirks (may not render/show webpages as nicely as other browsers). Slow to start up


One thought on “Why I Have and Use 4 Different Browsers

  1. Thanks for the great information on these sites. Internet privacy, anonymity, and identity security solutions are things I deal with everyday and I use the Anonymizer to give me private surfing each time I go online.

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