Firefox vs. Internet Explorer… Which Do You Prefer?

For those of you who are not familiar with Firefox, let me explain. Firefox is a free web browser just like Internet Explorer. As of March 29, 2009 22.05% of Internet users use Firefox. What exactly does this mean? It means that Firefox is second only to Internet Explorer and that is quickly changing!

As I mentioned, Firefox is the preferred web browser for many Internet users these days, but why? Most often, the main reason that is cited for Firefox usage is security. With growing concerns about hackers, spyware and malicious websites, security is a top priority for Firefox users. “According to Wikipedia, “Firefox uses a sandbox security model, and limits scripts from accessing data from other websites based on the same origin policy.” Furthermore, “it uses SSL/TLS to protect communications with web servers implementing strong cryptography when using the https protocol. Lastly, support for the use of smartcards for authentication purposes is also provided. As if all of this were not enough, The Modzilla Foundation offers a “bug bounty” to researchers who discover strong security holes in Firefox. Compared to Internet Explorer, Firefox has less security vulnerabilities.

So, what else is great about Firefox? The second reason why Firefox is quickly becoming the preferred web browser is because of a customizable toolbar. Allow me to elaborate, while Firefox does not immediately offer some of the features, of Internet Explorer or other web browsers, it does give you options. Firefox relies on the extension system; this allows users to customize their web browser according to their needs.   At first, it may feel like you are missing out on something simply because many of us are used to the jam packed Internet Explorer toolbar. But, let us be honest here, how many of us actually use or even know how to use half of the things on the Internet Explorer toolbar? So, if you do not use it why should you be stuck with it? Instead, you can prioritize your Firefox toolbar to display only those features you want!

Another characteristic many users find important is spell-check.  Now, I know many of you are thinking why do I need spell-check when browsing the Internet? Well, the truth is you may or may not use this attribute, but it is nice to have it. The built in spell-checker allows Internet users to verify the spelling of text entered into Web forms without opening up a separate program. Another feature that may or may not be useful to Internet users is the zoom facet. Easily accessible from the view menu, this zoom feature allows site visitors to zoom in and out of entire pages. Furthermore, site visitors can adjust the appearance of images and scale the page layout. Best of all, Firefox remembers these settings and displays them whenever you visit the specific site.

All of the aforementioned Firefox features have to do with users’ interaction, but what else does Firefox offer? For designers, Firefox is a great tool, according to an online article, “the web developer add-on is likely one of the most powerful tools for web developers, and it is a must have for an effective 2.0 marketing strategy. It is a great gizmo for search engine marketers and optimizers who are interested in legitimate ways to make money online because of the ability to dissect a page and understand how it is seen from a search engine perspective.”

What else can Firefox do to help you get the best out of your website? Rank Checker has a simple interface and allows you to get important information on search engine ranking for your given key words and domains. This is a very useful tool if you want to ensure your website ranks highly across a multitude of search engines.

As we have mentioned, Firefox covers a multitude of extensions that allow you to customize your search engine experience. What about your webmasters? “Firefox can in fact become the web developer’s best friend. For instance, Firebug – allows you to edit, debug, and monitors CSS HTML and JavaScript live in any webpage. Fireshot – allows you to have multiple screen shots of a web page. HTML Validator – allows you to validate your HTML and CSS to work according to standards. Yslow analyzes web pages and figures out why they are working slowly based on Yahoo rules for high performance web sites. Lastly, but certainly not least, IE View – allows you to check your website on Firefox and Internet Explorer easily and quickly.

By no means does this article begin to cover the many benefits of Firefox that is up to you to explore. We all know, an informed consumer is a smart consumer, so get out there and explore your options!

*Did You Know  – the energy spent in sending and deleting spam is equivalent to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes in the United States?

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