When you purchased your computer or installed a new operating system, more than likely it came bundled with a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Apple Safari. While this browser seems to offer all the features you need when surfing the Internet, other alternatives exist such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera, options that can potentially increase your security and provide new ways of accessing information online.
Many people, however, stick with the installed web browser not because they don’t know about other browsers but for the reason that they think problems will occur when using different applications. This article lists seven of those reasons:
1. My computer only can run one web browser
In probably 99% of cases this is completely wrong. Your computer can handle multiple web browsers, and while I don’t necessarily recommend downloading and installing every one, experimenting with one or two can offer different views of the web and features you may find useful. As when installing other software, however, backup all important data on your machine first in case problems do occur.
2. It is too hard to learn another web browser
Virtually every web browser has a back and forward button, address bar, and search bar. You may have to take a few minutes to learn other features, such as bookmarks / Favorites, navigating the History, and even longer if you want to configure your browsing experience, but learning how to use a new browser should not take long at all. Some browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox, even come with a help feature for Internet Explorer users.
3. I’ll lose all my bookmarks / Favorites
Most web browsers support importing bookmarks or Favorites from others quite easily. And while new bookmarks or Favorites in one web browser may not transfer immediately to another, you may wish to look at online bookmark management services such as Furl and Google Bookmarks. This way you can access your bookmarks with any browser, even one on a different machine!
4. Most sites won’t display correctly
While some websites such as Windows/Microsoft Update and online banking sites may not work correctly on non-Internet Explorer browsers, a greater number of websites are being written with technologies that work well across all browsers. This is happening as an increased number of Internet users try different browsers.
5. Internet Explorer is safer than people say
While great strides have been made to increase Internet Explorer’s security in recent versions, check a website like Secunia and compare the number of advisories regarding Internet Explorer versus other browsers. Especially note the unpatched exploits and their severities – you may be surprised.
6. Spyware and viruses aren’t a problem – I use (insert Internet Service Provider here)
While many ISPs offer antivirus and anti-spyware/malware applications for their users, these will not protect you from all problems. These programs will not patch browser bugs, but they may detect certain malware trying to exploit them. Also, remember that security should take a multipronged approach since no software can detect every piece of malware. By using a potentially more-secure web browser along with security software, you reduce the chances of malware infection that much more.
7. I’m safe – I have an antivirus program, a firewall, and anti-spyware software
See the above. Nothing offers 100% protection, and some browser bugs are exploitable even if you set browser security settings to their maximum! However, if you have all of the above software programs installed, your chances of malware infection have definitely lessened – good work!