Alternative Browsers
August 26, 2009 6:59 AM   Subscribe

What superior/alternative web browsers to Firefox do you use?

I have been using firefox with NoScript and most cookies disabled. When it gets too annoying to enable scripts and cookies, I switch over to Internet Explorer (non-updated version). I really dislike using IE but lately, Firefox has been crashing a LOT.

I was wondering if you had any good experiences with other web browsers such as Safari, Chrome, etc. I plan on keeping firefox but I'd like to explore other options.

I use a PC running Windows XP.

posted by bluelight to Technology (32 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by chalbe at 7:00 AM on August 26, 2009

posted by rokusan at 7:01 AM on August 26, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the super quick responses! Actually, I guess I forgot to include this in the question but I'm also curious as to why you consider these alternative browsers to be better. Thanks!
posted by bluelight at 7:02 AM on August 26, 2009

Also, I find Chrome to be much more stable than FF.

Safari is like iTunes, sleek and speedy on Macs, farty and bloated on Windows.
posted by chalbe at 7:02 AM on August 26, 2009

I use Safari on a Mac. I'm happy with it. It does everything I need it to. I've read threads about all the supposedly fantastic add-ons for Firefox, but none of them seem worth figuring out.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:04 AM on August 26, 2009

Chrome is also much faster than Firefox in addition to being more stable. (Much poorer debugging tools, though, that doesn't matter if you're not doing web development.)
posted by ignignokt at 7:07 AM on August 26, 2009


I have been using fire fox with No-Script and most cookies disabled.
Opera has "no script" built in and cookies are customizable per website.

I really dislike using IE but lately, Firefox has been crashing a LOT.
Opera is very stable on XP and OSX for me.

A few things that are awesome for me are: bookmark sync, toggling plugins with a click, great keyboard navigation (I don't need to use a mouse to navigate - sans flash). Try it out, give two weeks and you won't go back unless some site(banking) requires a very specific IE bug to run. BTW, useragents are customizable per website as well.
posted by bigmusic at 7:10 AM on August 26, 2009

Chrome. Downloaded a few months ago and never looked back.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:11 AM on August 26, 2009

One thing I don't like about Safari is that when I hover over a link there isn't a preview URL option like there is in Firefox (at the bottom of the window). Maybe I haven't enabled some option in Safari that I don't know about?
posted by collocation at 7:11 AM on August 26, 2009

If you delete your FF profile and/or make sure you have the latest version, your crashing problems may disappear.

I used to love Opera, and fool around with K-Meleon, but I switched to FF sometime around the first public beta and haven't looked back.
posted by box at 7:12 AM on August 26, 2009

Chrome is so ridiculously faster (especially on a multi-core processor) that I can't stand to use Firefox 3.5 or IE 8 (both otherwise excellent browsers) unless I have to.
posted by Oktober at 7:12 AM on August 26, 2009

nthing chrome. It isn't as "crashy" as Firefox, the interface is very clean and easy to use. I also like that Chrome tabs open to thumbnails of webpages you visit often instead of a home page. Occasionally with Chrome I can't get certain features to work on websites. For example, my bank's website doesn't work well with Chrome, so I have to use IE to access that.

To be fair, FF runs really well on my ubuntu machine. I don't like it for my Windows PCs though.
posted by jeoc at 7:13 AM on August 26, 2009

Collocation: View > Show Status Bar
posted by kindall at 7:13 AM on August 26, 2009

I switch over to Internet Explorer (non-updated version)

What does non-updated mean? IE6? If so, IE7 and IE8 are miles ahead of it.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:14 AM on August 26, 2009

Yeah, I use Chrome too and love it. The only downside is as Jeoc mentions, it's not supported by every site.
posted by josher71 at 7:15 AM on August 26, 2009

kindall - Thank you!
posted by collocation at 7:16 AM on August 26, 2009

Chrome seems much faster and more stable, but the best thing is that it has cut a few corners off of navigation that, once you get used to it, going back to FF or (perish the thought) IE feels so hampered and backwards it's like I've stepped into a bear trap.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:18 AM on August 26, 2009

I like Chrome much better because it's faster and takes up less screen real estate. However, a lot of text editing boxes on the web don't work in chrome (yet?), like for blogs and other things I use frequently, so I went back to Firefox. Plus, I missed adblock. But, man, Firefox is such a resource hog in comparison to Chrome. To summarize, Chrome: faster, leaner, and with a lower resource footprint.
posted by bluefly at 7:18 AM on August 26, 2009

I like Chrome (on Windows XP). The URL bar doubles as a search bar, so you can type in a Google search or search other major sites like Wikipedia really easily. Flash applications run faster, and I haven't had a crash with it yet (although I have had the sound get disabled somehow). The ad blocking isn't as good as FireFox with AdBlock Plus, but it's pretty good at blocking popups and whatnot.

Also, the browsing history is better than in other browsers, and when you restart the browser after closing it, you can choose to re-open all of your old tabs. And it does some of the other minor things nicely, like opening new tabs right next to your current tab, rather than to the right of all of your tabs.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:19 AM on August 26, 2009

If you delete your FF profile and/or make sure you have the latest version, your crashing problems may disappear.

I used to love Opera, and fool around with K-Meleon, but I switched to FF sometime around the first public beta and haven't looked back. But FF is like Foobar2k, or Windows XP--the difference between a fully tweaked-out, optimized, customized install and a stock one is night and day. If you like FF, it might be worth learning more about how to speed it up, increase stability, etc.
posted by box at 7:22 AM on August 26, 2009

Chrome is great. I just wrote a thing about why I like Chrome. I've found very few sites that support it; it's enough like Safari that most sensible sites work fine.
posted by Nelson at 7:39 AM on August 26, 2009

Chrome Chrome Chrome Chrome Chrome Chrome Chrome Chrome Chrome Chrome .
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:50 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've been on Chrome on my work PC for four weeks now, and am not looking back. Although, IE8 is not half bad. Both IE8 and Chrome open tabs as separate instances of the app, which makes them a million times more stable than FF (I switched because with 10 tabs open, FF would eat all my memory, shoot the CPU usage to 100%, slow to a halt, and generally crash). Chrome is just a bit faster than IE8 on my machine, both of which are substantially faster than FF. Sad to say, but FF seems to have fallen behind.

At home, on a Mac, I've been generally using FF and Safari, and, really, if Safari had a gmail notifier, I'd be using it.
posted by General Malaise at 7:56 AM on August 26, 2009

I recently switched from FF to Chrome. Firefox got too large and I became too dependent on addons/extensions which made it even larger. First, I just got rid of all the extensions and that didn't help enough. So, Chrome.

However, now I miss some of those extensions. They are planned for future chrome releases so I hope to get them back some day, inshallah without the bloat.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:11 AM on August 26, 2009

Another Opera user here. I like that it's extremely stable and fast for me, and I never ever ever ever have a problem with pop-ups. It's got a handy SpeedDial, and I'm hooked on the mouse gestures. You can sync your browser settings to an account, so you don't have to spend time re-configuring every time you install. Then again, I don't mess with the default config all too much, but it's still handy.

Yes, you can replicate those things in Firefox, but only by downloading add-ons. And the mouse gesture add-on has never been as smooth as it is in Opera. With Opera, these things are there automatically.

Not all sites work in Opera, unfortunately. PNC online banking. Imeem player is hit-or-miss. Also, there's not much extensibility; Opera has widgets, but they're all pretty awkward. I keep a second browser around primarily as a backup for the small handful of sites I can't get to in Opera.
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:12 AM on August 26, 2009

I like Chrome (although I still use Firefox as my main browser - I've been using it nonstop since it was called Phoenix - around version 0.98 I think). It does tend to be a lot less crashy than firefox, but I still have it crash occasionally, although I tend to not open up quite as many tabs with Chrome (I've been known to have 50 tabs open at once). I do occasionally use Opera, but I don't really like it. It doesn't crash as much as Firefox sometimes does, but it does not render a lot of pages correctly and some pages don't work right in it. I've had issues with a lot of ajaxy/javascript intensive sites not working. Opera also annoys me with how when you close a tab it jumps back to the last tab you had open. I imagine that if I really went out and tried to customize opera I might be able to make it work for me. Good luck with your browser hunt. Maybe you should try one of the earlier firefoxes, maybe around version 2?
posted by majikstreet at 8:39 AM on August 26, 2009

Opera, since version 2.something. Since it has all I need, like a good email client on the road.

And Iron, the German version of Chrome minus the evil Google profile tracking, for a couple of resource hogging websites with javascript tricks.
posted by ijsbrand at 8:48 AM on August 26, 2009

Opera, Chrome, Safari, and IE 8 are all actually pretty nice. We are living in the golden age of web browsers. I did want to add that FF is also a fine browser and shouldn't be crashing on you. Something is wrong with your setup. Try starting with a fresh profile and see if that helps.
posted by chairface at 8:56 AM on August 26, 2009

What bigmusic said.

I switched from IE6 to Firefox in about 2005, discovered tabbed browsing and never went back to IE.

I switched from Firefox to Opera in 2006 because Firefox was too slow starting up in my computer back then, discovered Opera's RSS feed reader (and, later, mouse gestures) and never went back to Firefox.

I've never tried Chrome because I can't imagine how it could be significantly better than Opera.
posted by Bangaioh at 9:14 AM on August 26, 2009

Is there a FF plugin that replicates that Chrome "location-bar-as-search-box" functionality? FF is practically there except that instead of getting google results for non-URL entries, you just get the "I'm feeling lucky" site.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:34 AM on August 26, 2009

Chrome would be great if it had adblocking (and not the proxy kind). But otherwise I can't use it.

Have you considered upgrading Internet Explorer? ie8 is about as good as anything else out there, or baring that, install the ieTab add-on for Firefox.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:20 AM on August 26, 2009

Try Opera. I have no idea why Opera hasn't caught on, despite being fast, stable, and feature-rich, and often well ahead of its competitors. I've given Chrome a try a couple of times, but I don't really see any reason to use it (the only benefit I noticed is that it loads up a little faster than Firefox, but we're talking about maybe a half-second difference when you launch the program).
posted by sinfony at 11:21 AM on August 26, 2009

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