“best browsers”

are raining down on us in 2021.

Whatever combination of needs and wishes the indi­vid­ual end-user may come up with for work and leisure, there is one or more browsers avail­able for down­load. Some of the poten­tial candi­dates even work remark­ably well.

Some browsers are better than others at certain tasks

Most browsers won't be spread in large enough numbers to make them pro­fit­able, and the market is pretty much satu­rated with browsers that do not offer any­thing that will make them stand out from the crowd. Thus, few individual “names” survive long enough in anything but names, to be worth setting up and getting used to.

A few browsers do stand out to such a degree that it is hard for people both with and with­out “special needs” and working minds not to notice them.

Whether end users like what the individual browser has to offer regarding inter­face, cus­tomi­za­tion and privacy, or not, is a dif­fer­ent matter. Not all are happy with the fact that hardly any­thing in the world works the way they have come to expect from reading ads, etc., and that s.c. “quantum leaps” in soft­ware develop­ment may have taken years, even decades, to prepare.

most popular vs. best in class

A browser's popularity should be easy to deter­mine by looking at statistics. Except that not all browsers will show up as unique brands, but instead identify them­selves as the majority browser they share main engine with – mainly as a result of misused browser detec­tion on web sites. Thus, such statistics do not tell us much of value these days.

Which browser that is “best” (tech­ni­cally speaking) is also near impos­sible to deter­mine, as that depends entirely on what the indi­vid­ual browser primarily is gonna be used for. No single browser on the market is fastest, most reliable, and most secure, in all areas and for all tasks. Thus, based on personal pre­fer­ences, end users have to thread between what the various browsers are weak/​acceptable/​good at – if they have the patience.

One alter­na­tive is of course to “gamble” and just choose one, and hope for the best. Some­times – quite often actually – that works just fine, simply because the basis for nearly all browsers on the market today are one or another of the same few “ren­der­ing engines”, with varia­tions on which, and how, other “engines” (for scripts, etc.) are included in their packages.
Some profes­sio­nal end users may have a series of tests to sort the use­less from the potenti­ally usable browsers. Most will never­the­less end up with one of the major browsers for daily tasks, but may play around with one or more “minority” browsers on the side and for private use.

whatever you like…

We probably all have been presented with whole ranges of reasons for why this or that browser is the perfect choice, and why this and that browser should be avoided. Some of it may make perfect sense, while lots of the reasoning is based neither on facts nor common sense. Next year, or next month, all reasoning may have changed, but most likely won't make more sense if one check the details.

Most end users have no idea about the complex col­lec­tion of separate and inter­acting code blocks – indi­vi­dual programs and control code – that have to be trimmed and tuned to make up a fully func­tion­ing browser, and why should they. They only want easy-to-use products for surfing the world wide web.

In the end it comes down to… Of course your choice of browser is right. Now, which one is it, and what do you use it for? … and what­ever the con­clu­sion happens to be, it is probably right, for you … at least for a while. You are free to change your mind in a week, month, or a year or two, if you like. Nothing is set in stone.

For the time being my main browser is a lightly custo­mized Vivaldi for just about any­thing related to work and leisure, with Firefox and an outdated MSIE11 running some fixed tasks. This setup covers nearly all my browsing needs.

Some of those “best browsers right now” listings that pop up on the web every year, make for interesting reads in com­par­ison with my personal pre­fer­ences and testing regi­mens, but haven't had much of an impact on my choices. However, as I am not tied to any par­tic­ular setup or brand(s), any­thing may change locally as/​when the browser land­scape and the world wide web changes.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 07.oct.2021
last rev: 14.oct.2021

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