Old Browsers Must Go
Is using an old browser really such a big deal? Maybe it's not preventing world peace or anything, but old browsers are holding the web back from progressing into the Internet future we've all always imagined. Not to mention, users get a lesser experience with outdated browsers. This is particularly true with Internet Explorer.
With IE10 set to release within the next year, you would expect IE9 to be heavily used right now, but still most people are using older versions. These are less stable, more insecure, and slower. Truth be told, though, IE9 isn't that much better. Compared to other browsers it lacks many things: offline application cache, HTML5 forms, file API, CSS3 transitions, drag n' drop from desktop, and much more. IE9 is modern in a sense, but it falls about two years behind browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Also, while it is faster than past versions, it is still slower than its competitors. Another issue is that Microsoft does not automatically update its users' browsers when a new version is available. Instead, users must have automatic updating selected in Windows Update to ensure they get the switch. This is a huge contributing factor to the many old browsers still in existence because users are either unaware or inconvenienced by the process of updating.
Internet Explorer shouldn't be given all the blame, though. An old browser in general is poisonous. They're more susceptible to malware, spyware, viruses, and other security issues. They run slower and are more likely to crash. Their display capabilities are also comparably limited. Since old browsers don't support new web technologies like CSS3 and HTML5, graphics, animations, and sometimes even text can appear differently than they should. All of these problems lead to bad user experiences. Users may lose patience, become frustrated, and/or give up trying to visit a website if their browsers are problematic. That's why it's imperative that all Internet users keep up-to-date with the latest browser options.
So what are your choices? Well, Google Chrome is a great option. In the four years that it has existed, Chrome has become one of the leading browser choices. Some data shows it as number one. Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer's main competition for some time now, is another great option. It has many advantages over older browsers. Apple's Safari is mostly used on Apple mobile devices, iPhones and iPads, and for good reason. It has features very similar to Chrome. Another good browser choice is Opera. Even though it isn't used as highly as Chrome or Firefox, Opera has been around since the mid-1990s and supports the latest web technologies to make a feature-rich and quick web experience.
Using any of the aforementioned browsers will improve any old-browser-user's experience tenfold. Webpages will load faster and crash far less often. Information is more secure. Updates will be applied automatically. Screen space is dedicated to page viewing and not cluttered with unnecessary toolbars and file options. Newer browsers also have an assortment of add-ons and extensions available ranging from Facebook notifications to Google dictionary. These features further broaden the user's Internet experience and make for a more complete one.
So how do you update? If you're using Internet Explorer, you should just delete it entirely and download Chrome or Firefox. You can do so easily with step-by-step instructions off either of their sites. If you're just using an older version of a good browser, you'll just need to upgrade. To be sure of which version you're actually using you can check. When the browser is open, head to the toolbar menu. Go to "Help" and then click "About [your browser type]."
With Firefox, you'll want a version number between 4-8; with Chrome, 9-16. Look for Opera 12 and Sarfari 5.1. These are the latest and greatest versions in web browsers. Here are direct links to where you can download these browsers off of their sites: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. Once you click "download" you'll want to save the file to your desktop. After it saves, double-click that file to initiate the installation program. From there, you're golden. Enjoy your upgrade!
You may be hung up on your old browser because it's been with you for so long, but it's time to cut loose and update. There are many reasons to upgrade, as you can see, and your time on the web will prove much better with a new browser. Why wouldn't you want a faster, safer, more visually appealing experience? Get rid of that old browser right now, and we can all be a little happier. Who knows where the web can lead us if we're all on-board too.