Web Browser Suggestions

Using Microsoft's Internet Explorer may easily lead to a large number of problems with malicious web sites and with web sites that have been illegally modified to take advantage of the many vulnerabilities present in Internet Explorer. While there are vulnerabilities in other web browsers as well, they tend to be far less plentiful and considerably less dangerous than those found in Internet Explorer. Consequently, if you want to minimize problems encountered when surfing the Internet, it would be a good idea to avoid using Internet Explorer whenever and wherever possible.

Besides the many vulnerabilities, you are very limited in the selection of systems on which Internet Explorer is available. There are other systems available that are generally much less problematical than Microsoft Windows such as the many variants of Linux and of BSD. If you are used to using other more advanced browsers such as Opera or Mozilla Firefox, you would find it much easier to switch to a more advanced operating system should you wish to do so. Microsoft, of course, would much rather that you use their Internet Explorder for this very reason.

The other browsers are generally much better at complying with the Internet standards. People often interpret the occasional differences they encounter when using other browsers to be that the other browsers are "broken". In reality, it is nearly always Internet Explorer which is "broken".

For example, if you would like to see just how well your choice of browser complies with standards, check out the Acid 2 Test from webstandards.org. The latest versions of Opera handle it perfectly. It makes you wonder how long it will be before Internet Explorer is able to display the test page correctly

Admittedly, there are some web page that require you to use Internet Explorer. If you really need access to those pages, then keep Internet Explorer available while you use something more advanced and more secure for the majority of your web browsing. Remember that one reason for requiring Internet Explorer is so that they can take advantage of the lack of security features. That makes installing malicious software on your computer a snap when you visit their web page.

So if you are happy with all the spyware, virus, and other malicious software you keep picking up, stick with Internet Explorer.


Opera is one of the finest Web Browsers around. Opera's corporate headquarters is in Oslo, Norway. It is one of the few browsers that is so standards compliant that the latest versions display the Acid 2 Test correctly. It is also available free of charge.

Opera includes a feature known as "tabbed browsing". Instead of opening a separate window for each web page, you can open a number of pages in the same window and select the desired web page by clicking on tabs from a configurable toolbar.

Opera also includes a bult-in pop-up blocking feature. You can select whether or not to permit all pop-ups, to block all pop-ups, or to allow only those pop-ups that you actively select.

Instead of waiting years between new releases, new versions of Opera are released much more frequently. Major version releases are also more frequent. For exmaple, Opera 7.0 was released in 2003, 8.0 in 2005, and the 9.0 Beta is currently available for download for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS X, all major distributions of Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, and QNX.

In addition to the major versions of Opera, there have been a variety of minor versions as well. For example, there are at least seven minor versions of Opera 6 (6.00, 6.01, 6.02, 6.03, 6.04, 6.05, and 6.06), sixteen minor versions of Opera 7 (7.00, 7.01, 7.02, 7.02 Bork, 7.03, 7.10, 7.11, 7.20, 7.21, 7.22, 7.23, 7.50, 7.51, 7.52, 7.53, and 7.54), and seven minor versions of Opera 8 (8.00, 8.01, 8.02, 8.50, 8.51, 8.52, and 8.53).

In comparison, Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001 or 2002 and the Beta for their next version is just now becoming available. Note that the new version of Internet Explorer only works on Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1). For anything else, Internet Explorer 7 is not even an option.

One useful feature of Opera is to perform a Google search by typing in the letter 'g' and your search terms into the location bar.

One of the more interesting versions of Opera was the Opera 7.02 Bork version. At one point, when someone visited the MSN web site using Opera, Microsoft provided faulty style sheets (used to determine the presentation of text and graphics by the browser) that made it appear that Opera was seriously broken with the obvious implication that only Internet Exploder was capable of displaying the page correctly.

In response, Opera released a special version of Opera, Opera 7.02 Bork, that rendered all pages but MSN correctly. When viewing the MSN web page with Opera 7.02 Bork, the text in the web page was translated to a phonetic "Swedish Chef" language from the Muppets.

For more information about the dispute, see Opera 'borks' MSN in standards spat, Opera caterwauls about ne MSN glitch, and Opera Bork Bork Borks MSN Page. The latter article includes a link to an image of the MSN web page displayed on Opera 7.02 Bork.

Mozilla Firefox

Another fine web browser is Mozilla Firefox. Mozilla Firefox, based on the old Netscape, is a relatively new browser with a strong following.

Mozilla Firefox is an open source Web Browser. This means that you can, if you wish, get a copy of the source code and modify it as you wish. For example, with the proper skills, you could add your own features to Mozilla Firefox. You are also free to sell or give away as many copies of Mozilla Firefox as you may wish and as long as you are in compliance with the GNU General Public License.

Mozilla Firefox is available for a wide number of computers and operating systems including, but not limited to, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, the major distributions of Linux, and Mac OS X.

Like Opera, Mozilla Firefox includes features such as tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking.