Last Updated: January 25, 2021
I feel you don’t need lengthy explanations, definitions, or history lessons on the subject of web browsing platforms.
After all, you are already using one right now and probably have a favorite in mind.
And you are certainly not alone.
As of March this year, over 55% of the world’s population (pretty much everyone with an internet connection) is utilizing a browser to explore the vast universe that is the internet.
That’s about 4.3 billion people, in case you were wondering.
We have come a long way since the introduction of the first web portal.
This collection of the best web browsers in 2019 will cover not just the usual suspects (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge), but a few surprising additions as well.
First things first, though — let’s examine each platform’s inner workings and see what makes it tick.
Chrome saw the light of day relatively late, a little more than a decade ago. However, it was so superior to the competition, it quickly became an industry powerhouse.
Google Chrome currently holds a massive 63.38% market share. In comparison, Safari is the closest “rival,” trailing way back at 19.25%.
The most popular portal utilizes the open-source Chromium engine and enjoys seamless compatibility across all platforms — Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
A serious candidate for the title of “best internet browser.”
|Good overall speeds||Eats large chunks of resources|
|Massive plugin library|
Google Chrome hogs a lot of system resources, and that is a well-known fact. To be fair, the developers are addressing some of these issues in their regular updates, but the numbers are still not working in their favor.
With 7% CPU and 71% RAM consumption, Chrome is by far the biggest resource hog.
Speed-wise things are looking a bit better. A SpeedBattle score of 190.92 puts Google’s browser in 3rd place, right after Firefox and Opera.
You can’t get a more feature-packed browsing solution than Chrome. You just can’t.
The interface is clean and stylish, and everything looks straightforward from there on — you have a big ole address bar (which also acts as a search bar) and a whole lot of handy in-built options.
You can sync your browser with all Google services, which, let’s be frank, almost everyone is using.
Chrome is like a sly poker player — it took its time to hear the initial bets and raised the stakes afterward — incognito mode, page translations, easy bookmarking.
Whatever Chrome can’t do on its own, there is a helpful plugin for the task.
The Google developers maintain the most extensive library of add-ons out there, and Chrome takes full advantage.
Thousands upon thousands of extensions, such as ready to entertain, secure, and optimize your online experience.
Almost every piece of software you are using provides a Chrome extension. For instance – project management apps like Asana offer an extension for easy access to your tasks. Others like Session Buddy keeps track of the tabs you open in the browser.
Finding and installing the needed functionality has never been easier. You just launch the Chrome web store, a few mouse clicks, and you are good to go.
You don’t have to be a security specialist to be able to browse the Web safely. That’s what the browser developers believe, and that’s what they aim to deliver.
The Chrome team is actively pushing for an HTTPS-only online experience, which will guarantee user protection across all websites.
You can find a plethora of useful anti-tracking, anti-keylogging, and malware protection features in Google’s prominent browsing solution. Sure sounds promising with all the cyber attacks that torment the Web like the plague.
Even such a robust toolset cannot guarantee 100% security, and the Chrome devs have learned that the hard way. Just a few years ago, the Google team alerted the users of a zero-day vulnerability that posed a severe threat to online data. The issue was quickly addressed, but this goes to show how vulnerable our web browsing really is. That’s why we recommend you secure all your data through every means possible.
My Chrome browser review confirmed what was already quite apparent from the stats — this is the most versatile and all-rounded product on the web portal market. Extra functionalities come in the form of helpful plugins. Beware, though — more add-ons often reflect on the amount of system resources consumed.
Mozilla’s roots go way back to the dawn of the internet. The Firefox browser first saw the light of day in November 2004, but its history dates way back to 1998. Netscape was the industry standard back then, and Mozilla came as the spiritual successor of the old behemoth.
So what’s so special about Firefox?
At a time when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer heavily dominated the market, users long desired a change to the status quo. Then a new challenger emerged.
Firefox was faster, more secure, and arguably better looking than Explorer. So it came as no surprise that the new browser accumulated over 60 million downloads in the first nine months of its existence.
|Lightning-fast||No live support|
|Wide range of privacy tools|
Firefox has always performed at a satisfactory level, but it was the Quantum engine, introduced in 2017, that took the platform to the next level.
Mozilla’s portal scored the highest points in several different speed tests, which makes it the fastest internet browser in my book.
A couple of years ago Firefox was draining as much resources as Chrome (which we saw is a lot), but the developers got to work and turned the tables around.
The stress test I performed with ten tabs open revealed they only consumed 2.5% CPU and 57% RAM. That might not sound so great, but keep in mind I was running the tests on an old Lenovo B50-30 laptop.
A thoroughly impressive performance overall.
You can’t claim to be one of the best web browsers and not be compatible with every popular platform. Firefox is well aware of that and can smoothly run on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
An added bonus of being around for so long is that FF still supports some older apps that modern browsers can’t recognize.
Users have a fair share of interface customization options for perfecting their browsing experience. For everything else — they can count on the plugin library.
Firefox touts a rich add-on library that can add a wealth of new functionalities to an already feature-packed solution.
There isn’t anything FF can’t do with the proper help, really. The catalog is full of wonderful add-ons that can enhance your security, improve your browsing experience, or enrich your news feed.
Fun Fact: Out of the top 15 extensions with most users, 4 are adblocking plugins (including the #1 and #2 spot).
So, one thing is for sure — they are highly concerned about our online privacy.
Luckily, the Firefox devs are duly delivering in that aspect — ad tracker autoblocking, full browser incognito mode, and in-built malware and phishing.
Firefox version 60.0 put the cherry on top. It introduced the first step towards password-free browsing — a set of authentication and cryptography standards. They aim to replace the traditional password logins and eliminate the risk of hacker intrusion.
My Firefox browser review revealed very little separates Mozilla’s portal from the market dominator, Chrome. An excellent alternative that runs fast with reasonable resource consumption.
Research on the Opera project began in 1994, and the first version was released two years later. It ran as a commercial software for its first decade, before adopting the Blink engine.
Opera is Chromium-based, which means it shares much of Chrome’s DNA.
The developers put a strong emphasis on smooth navigation and security, with some added perks you can only find here.
|Turbo feature||Not recognized by older websites|
|Stash pages for later read|
Opera does its job without blowing the trumpets. Numerous speed and stress tests put this browsing solution somewhere in the middle of the pack.
The 126.666 Basemark and 26.887 Jetstream scores only added further proof to my impression.
Unlike Firefox and Chrome, the Opera browser relies much more on its in-built features, so you can have it all without needing to look for an add-on.
The design is very clean and easy to navigate — you have a sidebar with the essential options and a big address bar that also works as a search field. I found the “stash” function particularly useful, as I often find myself with 30 tabs open, most of which I want to read later.
There is even a wallet for all of you crypto enthusiasts out there.
Still, should you need to add some extras, you can sync Opera with the Chrome Web Store and take advantage of its perks.
You know the drill with the app store — find the most appropriate category, choose your weapon, and launch it in less than a minute.
Protecting delicate user information is what Opera strives for, and it clearly shows.
All the ad and data tracking blockers were impressive on their own, but when I heard Opera also included an in-built VPN, I was thoroughly impressed. I tested this feature and, although a bit limited, it managed to mask my data without any IP/DNS leaks. Still, you might want to consider a standalone VPN service to avoid the limitations.
Taking into account all the efforts put into this aspect, I can safely say Opera is the most secure web browser.
Opera might hold less than a 2% market share, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s inferior to the competition. Oftentimes it all boils down to habit, and I can see how this is not the first solution that springs to mind when we consider adopting a new platform.
Still, this Opera browser review managed to change my mind for the better. You can safely give it a try if you are not satisfied with Chrome or Firefox.
Microsoft Edge is the successor of Internet Explorer…I know, I know, but let’s give it the benefit of the doubt…
Edge first entered the scene in 2015, supported on Windows 10 and Xbox One. It later added compatibility for Android and iOS (2017), and MacOS (2019).
Edge is now the default browser that comes with Windows, but is it any better than the dreaded Explorer?
|Powerful security features||Not compatible with older Win versions|
|Phone support||Not very customizable|
I hadn’t launched Edge for a long while, so my head was full of questions:
How much has it improved in recent years?
Was it faster?
Did it get any extra performance boosts?
The tests ran great. Edge is now way faster and lighter than what it used to be. However, it’s still a bit slow and inefficient compared to all top browser picks.
One thing to note, though — Microsoft is using the Chromium engine, which is much more optimized and delivers significantly better speeds.
Microsoft has never been too keen on maintaining a wide range of features; they are often satisfied with the basics only. Once you run the browser, you can see the native options such as bookmarks, browsing history, and downloads.
Naturally, the developers had a strong focus on Microsoft-related services, like voice assistant Cortana.
Overall, Edge doesn’t appear interested in any “best internet browser” battles — like a tired, long-time employee it just wants to do the bare minimum to get their paycheck at the end of the month.
Edge users can further optimize their browsing with add-ons from the Microsoft Store. The library includes about 260 extensions, which is significantly less than what Chrome and Firefox have to offer.
Navigating through the Microsoft Store is needlessly chaotic. There are no filters or categorization – just three long pages of add-ons to scroll through.
When it comes to security, Edge puts more than the usual minimum effort. The browser was able to detect phishing and malware attacks and isolate the threats without risks to my data.
Not only did Edge flush out 98% of the vulnerabilities, but it was amazingly quick in doing so as well.
Edge continues to be the default choice that just exists, or as the joke has it – “the browser you only use once — to download another browser.”
Safari came to the stage as Apple’s browser solution, tailored specifically for Mac users. Its first version appeared in 2003, and for a while, it was even compatible with rival Windows OS (2007-2012).
Once the first iPhone saw the light of day, Safari naturally became the default choice on all iOS devices as well.
No wonder it currently holds a 19.25% share of the browser market.
But let’s see if Apple can match the competition, or it merely plays the “default” card that Explorer/Edge uses on Windows.
|Fast and secure||Incompatible with Windows|
|Private browsing||Not very customizable|
In terms of speed, Safari scored some admirable numbers. But testing on Mac when all other checks were run on a Windows environment is like comparing apples to oranges.
So I ran a few additional tests on Mac, and the results were not very surprising. While Safari beats more bloated choices like Edge and Chrome, it still can’t match the performance leaders like Firefox.
Apple’s browser executes page load requests quite snappy…in fact, they were second only to FF.
Keep in mind we are talking about differences in milliseconds here, barely anything the average user can feel.
What is Safari cooking in the Features department?
Not that much, actually.
The browser is mostly counting on the essentials — tabs, spell check, password manager, top sites (Apple’s version of bookmarks). There are very few customization options; you can’t even change your background template.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Reading List in-built feature, which resembled the Stash function in Opera. Instead of piling a ton of tabs, you can save the URLs for later reading and keep your browser neat and tidy.
Safari relies on backup from the Apple Web Store. The place packs a plethora of add-ons and widgets that can add a much-needed personalization to the bare product.
The range of options is not as extensive as with the Chrome Store, but you can still find hundreds of plugins that you can install with a few clicks.
At first glance, Safari appears quite secure. It managed to detect several phishing attempts and even caught some Windows-related malware. The latest versions of the platform come with a plethora of useful privacy tools, password managers, anti-tracking tools, and identity theft protection.
Here’s a peculiar fact, though.
Through the years, a few hacking competitions and conferences have revealed zero-day exploits in Safari. Apple always duly released appropriate patches afterward, but such vulnerabilities should be a red flag.
My Safari browser review did not convince me Apple’s product would be a top choice, even if it was available for Windows. Sure, it’s a strong competitor, with its looks and performance, but Mac users often find themselves choosing a more robust alternative.
And that’s saying a lot…
Brave said “No” to ads!
The business model is like none seen before — the browser blocks intrusive ads and cross-site trackers while letting users accumulate a blockchain-type currency called BAT (Basic Attention Tokens). They can then tip their favorite websites and publishers with the BAT as a form of appreciation.
The users have complete control over what kind of ads they want to see…or if they’re going to see any at all.
This revolutionary model received harsh criticism, mainly from ad publishers and news outlets.
But what should the average user know about Brave?
|No-ads||Rewards program not clear enough|
|Get paid to browse|
Getting rid of the pesky ads comes with a bonus.
Having very few elements to process, Brave can rock some blazing speeds. The Basemark and Jetstream tests revealed Firefox Quantum is the only platform that can even remotely match the load times of Brave.
Hands down one of the best web browsers in terms of speed.
A few more tabs did not slow down my whole experience, and Brave consumed no more than 2% of my CPU.
The Brave developers did not put much effort into packing Brave with anything but the necessary. After all, that’s the whole point — keeping everything lightweight, fast, and private.
Even when you dig deep in the Features section on their official website, you will only find 90% of the listed benefits are security-based.
So does Brave keep its own library of add-ons and other extras?
Well, not really, but it has a solution for that as well — the Chrome Web Store.
The browser is compatible with most extensions there, which means you have thousands of additional apps at your disposal.
This is where the sweet stuff is.
Brave comes with unparalleled privacy – ad blocking, built-in password manager, cookie control, fingerprint prevention – we are talking about Grade A security measures.
What you see and what remains hidden is entirely up to you.
The quality ads matching options let you tailor the ads you are interested in, guaranteeing your full anonymity while viewing them.
Speed and security are certainly a talking point, but the highlight of this Brave browser review is undoubtedly their business model. The BAT token payment system is something entirely new for the game, so I will keep a close eye on how it develops in the future.
I suggest you do the same.
Tor stands for The Onion Router and represents a network of private web servers, used for completely anonymous browsing and utilizing the Dark Web.
This vast, ungoverned part of the internet is a double-edged blade. While it can overcome the oppressive censorship in some countries, it is also home to many illegal and crime operations online.
Underneath the hood, the Tor browser is a version of Firefox, heavily modified for privacy purposes.
Great, surely that means it should perform as well as its core software, right?
|Complete anonymity||Slow loading times|
|Circumvent censorship||Even legal use attracts unwanted attention|
|No need for local installation|
Sadly, Tor’s performance doesn’t match the impressive speed stats that Firefox flaunts. I guess it’s somewhat understandable — the platform serves a specific purpose, and everything else is irrelevant.
Still, the secure portal is nowhere near the best web browsers out there, and speed tests confirmed that. In fact, my Jetstream checks kept freezing to the point where I simply gave up.
As you can imagine, Tor is not some flashy browser packed with a ton of snazzy options. This simplification makes it particularly straightforward and a breeze to navigate, even by inexperienced users.
You don’t need to install Tor on your local computer. You can copy its folder on a flash drive and literally carry the browser around in your pocket.
In essence, Tor is simply Firefox in disguise, so you can naturally take advantage of most FF extensions. However, Tor’s anonymity strongly depends on each user keeping the same settings, making them unrecognizable “in the crowd.” Change a single thing, and your account is already blowing the horns and attracting unnecessary attention.
Basically, plugins defy the whole purpose of the Tor browser.
Once you activate Tor, your connection starts hopping between multiple secured servers all over the world, leaving no footprints.
That proves particularly useful for journalists and activists who operate in countries with hard censorship. But not every Tor user pursues a legitimate goal. The Dark Web is home of worldwide crime syndicates and all kinds of nefarious websites.
Pair it up with a good VPN, and you can enjoy an enhanced level of protection.
With the immense efforts put into privacy, I’d have to say that even Tor is not 100% risk-free. Previous browser vulnerabilities suggest it is far from perfect, which is the whole point of giving up on all the other perks.
Tor is an essential tool for certain people and organizations who are actively fighting against repression and censorship. But if you are just an everyday user looking for more privacy, you can find much more suitable alternatives out there.
What do you think, folks? I have intentionally left the choice for the “best internet browser” up to you. One thing is for sure — you are not short of options. During my research, I stumbled upon a few other intriguing choices as well — Vivaldi, UC Browser, Avast, to name a few.
You don’t even need to limit yourself to a single browsing solution. Simply sync your work across platforms and use whichever best fits your current task.
Chrome is by far the most popular browser out there. In 2021 it holds a market share of over 63% Safari is the closest competitor, standing at 19%. Firefox and Edge are trailing behind, just below the 7% mark.
Depending on what your goals are, some solutions might prove more suitable than others. In terms of speed and system load, Firefox garners some impressive results. Chrome, on the other hand, is an all-rounded solution with a huge library of plugins. At the end of the day, no one limits you to a single browser, so you can safely utilize multiple solutions.
The best web browsers overall are undoubtedly Chrome and Firefox. They are the most versatile and most regularly updated and improved. Both platforms benefit from buzzing communities, which actively take part in development and testing.