Keep Your Browser Updated — Or Else

May 30

So many browsers, so little time.

In the beginning there were Internet Explorer and Netscape. As the number of websites grew, so did the number of available browsers. Mozilla Firefox replaced Netscape and Opera joined the fold. Then Safari and Chrome entered the arena. These five browsers account for 96% of world-wide browser usage.

Browsers are important–they let you access your favorite websites, email clients, and use web applications like Google calendar. Many people use the browser that came preloaded on their computer and never bother to upgrade to the current version or switch to another option.

Using a current version is important for several reasons. Older browsers can be less stable (think frozen screens), slower to load, more likely to crash, and less secure, which leaves your computer open to viruses and malware. Do you shop or bank online? If so, you should definitely be using a current browser because outdated browsers often have vulnerabilities.

Have you ever opened a web page that looked odd? Perhaps the words ran together or pictures were missing. Do you think the person who created it did a bad job? Maybe. But probably not. Most likely you are using an antiquated browser and it’s time to update.

The web is an ever-evolving space with regularly-changing web standards, which requires browser developers to update their browsers to handle the new standards. Older browser versions are unable to process the new standards, and that sometimes leads to a bad user experience.

It’s important to know that websites are developed using code that works with the most recent web browsers. For example, Internet Explorer is currently on version 11. Web developers usually code sites for the three most recent versions of a browser, so if you’re using a significantly older version, chances are the site won’t load correctly.

The browser that came with your computer might not be the best browser for you. Step outside your comfort zone and try a different one (or two). And definitely use the most current version. You may find that your web surfing experience will be more satisfying.

The bottom line: Your browser may be the most under-appreciated tool on your computer. Always make sure it’s up-to-date.

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