This is a question that I come across repeatedly. It is a hold-over from the days when Netscape was duking it out with Microsoft to decide who was going to shape Internet Development. Thankfully, the "Browser Wars" are over. Netscape has morphed into Firefox, Seamonky, Chrome and Safari and MicroSoft has continued development on Internet Explorer. The victor was all of them.
To decide which is the "Best" is a question with an easy answer: "The one that works with the web-page you are viewing."
Web pages contain a considerable amount of programming in them. This did not used to be the case. Programs have to be compiled or interpreted. And now, the Internet browser act more like a compiler/interpreter than just a program to display formated text and media.
Developers have their favorite environments to design in and these are not always compatible with all the browsers. Take, for instance, this web-page you are viewing now. If you are viewing it with a modern browser, that is IE 10+ and a current version of Firefox, Chrome or Safari, it would look fine. However, IE 9 and below, makes it look like chaos. <incidentally, if you are on XP: Disconnect from the Internet, turn off your computer, go shopping and call me to transfer your data off-line.>
Many developers try to make their pages compatible across the board. This is not easy and requires knowledge of multiple environments and not just one.
Personally, I traverse the web using a multitude of browsers, here is a short-list:
- Chrome (chromium)
- Internet Explorer 9
- Internet Explorer 11
Each browser has is strong points and week points. For general use, I would stick with 1, 2, 4 and 5. The others all fit a niche need that I have in either server management, speed, platform architecture or just a nostalgic panache.
The bottom line is this: If a web-page does not do what you want it to do, open it in another browser. The experience, likely, will not be the same.
One additional thing: Toolbars -> ban them. All of them. Forthcoming article on why.
Thanks for reading,
Jay C. Theriot