For years almost all Windows users browsed the web using Internet Explorer—Windows’ built-in web browser.  Only hard-core computer “geeks” ever made use of third-party browsers.  But times are changing.  As a matter of fact, according to NetMarketShare’s latest numbers, Internet Explorer is the second most popular browser with a 32% market share.  A good margin behind Google Chrome, which grabs 47% of the desktop browser market.

But which browser is best for you?  Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer

There is a common belief that Chrome is the most secure web browser.  While it was indeed the first browser to take a hard line on security by outright blocking insecure content, it no longer stands alone in this arena.  The top three browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox) all turn in very good scores when it comes to security.  They also offer “privacy” modes to prevent tracking of your movement around the internet.  One does, however, need to question the privacy provided by Chrome.  It is, after all, written by a company that makes money on gathering user information.

Chrome gets high marks for its unified browsing experience.  It is supported on just about every device out there—iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.  And, when coupled with an online Google account, allows you to share many of your settings and favorites across all these devices.

All three of the browsers also have plugin capability, but Firefox does seem to win out in this area as there seems to be a far greater number of plugins for Firefox.  Google is no slouch here as there are quite a few plugins for Chrome as well.  Microsoft brings up the rear here as people are a bit slow to adopt Edge compatible plugins.

Speed is another measurement of a good browser and here is where the newest browser from Microsoft, Edge, seems to shine the brightest.  While the other browsers are not necessarily “slow”, Edge does seem to “edge” out the competition.

So, which is best?  It really does depend.  For the ultimate in security and a unified browsing experience, Google Chrome is the top choice.  For speed and a wide array of plugins, Firefox would likely be your “go to.”  For the tightest integration into Windows as well as speed, Edge would be the winner.

The absolute most import thing you can do, no matter what browser you decide on, is to keep it up to date.  The hackers are hard at work trying to exploit any flaw in these browsers, and the only way to stay ahead of the bad guys is to keep your browser, and all your software, up to date.

First published in our February 2017 IT Radix Resource newsletter