Install Multiple Web Browsers and Avoid Download Managers

April 27, 2013

Users often confuse Windows Explorer (the thing you use to look at drives and files on your computer) with Internet Explorer (the Web browser Microsoft supplies). About a month ago, I wrote When Should You Install Windows Updates? and I talked about why you should choose not to install Internet Explorer 10 right away.

Today I want to discuss the three most-used Web browsers (over 88% of the traffic to our site) and why I feel it is important to have them all installed. Before you start grumbling, they are all free and it will take about five minutes to get them all installed. The first, Internet Explorer is included with Windows so I won’t be providing a separate link for it.

The other two major browsers that you should all have installed are Firefox and Chrome. Before reading any further, make sure all three are currently installed! For those who really want to install more choices, you can also get Safari and Opera. With those browsers added, it covers 96% of the traffic to our site.

OK, so why do you need all three? It’s really simple, not all sites work correctly on any single browser. By far the worst offender is Internet Explorer. Microsoft tends to play by their own rules and not necessarily the established rules of the Internet. Therefore Web developers have to do extra work on more complex Web sites to get them to work on Internet Explorer.

My personal preference is Firefox and it is the browser I use about 90% of the time. Every now and then I come across a page that isn’t working. It could be as simple as having a failure stored in my cache where clearing the cache would solve the problem. Often it is just easier to load that particular page in a different browser. I strongly encourage you to make either Firefox or Chrome your default browser and to use Internet Explorer sparingly.

Chrome has worked every time I’ve turned to it, I just don’t like the interface. That’s my personal preference so it could very well be right for you. And while it has worked for me, I often hear from users who have a problem loading a page with it. So it isn’t perfect either. None of them are! It is for this reason that I say that you need to have all three installed.

Now let’s talk about download managers. They were originally introduced as a way to download larger files over slow or spotty connections. Typically they will start numerous connections with the server as a way to download the file faster. Opening all those connections is often extremely problematic and will cause the download to immediately fail in some instances. Quite simply, they cause many more problems than they solve and should be avoided. If you have them installed, just uninstall them.

Hopefully this information will help you to have a more satisfactory browsing experience. Post a comment and tell us all what browser is your default and why you prefer it.

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