Comparing the top web browsers

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The Big 5 have all kinds of great features. The Exede Blog looks into the pros and cons of each.
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Alex, Viasat Corporate Communications

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Posted 2 years ago

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Thanks! I like to use Chrome and Firefox, but both sort of eat the RAM. Chrome is a major RAM hog though. And I like to multi-task and keep a lot of tabs open.
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Chrome has a data saver add-on that will cut your bandwidth usage by about 15% with no side effects that I've noticed.

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Old Labs

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Firefox is my choice for Exede where data constraints and usage on limited plans are the major issue. As the Cons for Firefox state:

Muchmore (sic) also reported that Firefox doesn’t have built-in support for Flash. But this isn’t terrible, considering the fact that the internet is quickly moving away from this platform.
True - for Flash media it requires the Adobe plug in and the FlashBlock extension prevents excessive data usage that accompanies auto playing Flash media.

As the above implies, HTML5 media is the new standard for web sites and they are quickly moving away from Flash media which is considered less secure. While the FlashBlock extension does handle auto playing of both Flash and HTML5 media, it does not handle the pre-loading behavior, which is unique to HTML5 media (i.e. buffering regardless of intent to actually watch/listen or clicking to play the media, which is distinctly different than simple auto play). The Flash Control extension handles both Flash and HTML5 media, while also eliminating unwanted usage attributed to HTML5 pre-loading.

Coupled with a good ad blocker extension, Firefox is the best choice for me (although my preference is with another based on usability and other factors, my primary concern is data usage).

P.S. The other browsers may now have add-ons available to address HTML5 issues - it was well over a year ago I tracked down this behavior and at the time Firefox was the only one that reliably handled it at that time. For now, I'm sticking with what I know works for me and with 24 GB of RAM the memory usage issues accompanying some browsers weren't issue.
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Bev, Champion

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I have used IE, Edge, Safari, Opera, Netscape, Chrome and, Firefox. IE is just slow, Edge lacks the ability to use add ons or extensions, Safari, Nescape, Chome and, opera simply don't work well for me so, I use Firefox for everything.

My partner prefers IE just because he has always used it, and doesn't want to learn anything else.
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david, Champion

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I only use Firefox except for a few sites that only like a Microsoft product.
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There is some outdated information about Opera on Exede's browser blog. Older versions of Opera defaulted to using HTTP pipelining by default. Modern versions of Opera released in around the last 3+ years don't implement pipelining at all. As such there is no way of disabling pipelining, and there is no reason not to use modern Opera with a satellite ISP.

Pipelining definitely causes some problems with satellite ISPs. I and HughesNet discovered this soon after their launch of Gen4, and this was documented on DSLReports. You can read the details of my plight or else scroll or search for the part where I concluded: "Apparently, my preferred browser, Opera, is somehow exposing a bug in the modem's software" :

In summary, pipelining was exposing a bug in HughesNet's just released Gen4 modems, and Opera was crashing my Hughes modem. I of course thought that the problem was with Gen4, and it took me quite a lot of time to illogically associate the problem as being caused by Opera.

I can only report about Macs and OS X, but the newer versions of Opera won't run at all on any recent release of OS X. If someone is using OS X Lion (released in 2012) or later, Opera is safe to use and has no known issues with satellite ISPs. Since there are still some people using old operating systems like Snow Leopard and Windows XP, I can understand a blanket advisory not to use Opera with Exede, but modern Opera works quite well with Exede.

Since I have been using Opera for 20 years, I'm obviously fond of the browser, but after updating my OS X past Snow Leopard, I had to switch to Firefox since Opera would not work at all. After lamenting the loss of Opera on the vintage Wildblue World Forum, someone there informed me of the new Opera which is built on the Blink WebKit which is what Google Chrome is based upon, so the two are generally similar in speed, memory use, and website compatibility. One big difference between the two is that Flash is builtin to Chrome, which is nice, but Chrome will of course use more memory if you actually use Flash. The convenient builtin Flash for older Web content is the only reason that I even have Chrome installed on my systems.

One nice feature of Opera not mentioned is Battery Saver Mode. There is some dispute between Microsoft and Opera about which Web browser uses less power for notebooks, but of course I use Opera, not Edge, on my Macbook Pros.

Despite my fondness for Opera, Firefox is my primary Web browser for one reason. Firefox is the only browser on my desktop that has the builtin ability to disable animations (animated GIFS). That's ironic since the Old Opera introduced a "Disable Animations" option. I just can't imagine a Web full of those animated GIFs that some people are so fond of as to use them as forum avatars. If that option is added back to Opera, I'll switch back to using Opera as my primary browser. For me, Firefox uses considerably more resources (CPU, memory, disk activity) than either Opera or Chrome. Firefox seems rather slow to me. Of course I found it odd that the blog reference found Firefox to be the fastest browser. :)

As for Safari, I strongly agree that Safari is only for those who must use an Apple product.

In summary, someone with the the time and interest might want to check out the latest version of Opera (which is being actively developed). It doesn't seem to be widely know that Opera either introduced or popularized common browser features such as Speed Dial, Pop-up blocking, Browser sessions, Private browsing, and tabbed browsing.