7 browser alternatives to Internet Explorer

If you're an Internet Explorer user, and you've been a bit spooked by all this talk of security glitches and phishing attacks, there are other options

If you're an Internet Explorer user, and you've been a bit spooked by all this talk of security glitches and phishing attacks, there are other options out there for you.

Now unfortunately, no browser is completely free of security issues but it is worth considering others out there to make sure your browser is meeting your needs. Here's just a few for you to check out.

Mozilla Firefox

One of the most popular alternatives, and one of the first pioneers of the tabbed browsing you now see in IE.

Pros

- Reported to be one of the fastest browsers when it comes to download speed, with all downloads presented in a table for you to see easily, similar to Safari.

-Firefox packs advanced security measures meaning it will protect your computer from spyware, and will see you rid of almost all the popups you may have suffered in IE.

- Embedded memory means that if your computer crashes while you're browsing a number of websites, or gets turned off by mistake, they will normally be restored when you re-launch the browser.

- There's a whole load of add-ons to personalise your browsing experience, from a Facebook taskbar and Twitter client, to a blogging service and Google search bar.

Cons

- Occasionally (although less often now), websites will not display or work correctly with Firefox as they've been built to work with IE. Pages that require ActiveX or VBScript are especially affected, as Firefox does not support these scripts due to their tendency to be used for spyware attacks.

- While it might load sites quicker than IE, it's slower to launch than IE. However, this is largely due to the fact that many things IE needs are already running beforehand.

- Firefox consistent updates have been known to drive a sane man crazy. However, it's ultimately only to Mozilla's credit that it patches the browser quickly when security glitches are noticed.

Download Firefox 3.5

Google's own browser, and one of the newest kids on the block.

Pros

- The browser has process-isolated tabs and add-ons, adding both stability and security and meaning that if an individual page or add-on crashes, it won't mess up the rest of them. This will also increase speed, as one slow page won't slow down the rest of your browsing.

- Chrome uses a custom-built JavaScript meaning its up there as one of the fastest to run it.

- It's private browsing, called Incognito, appears in a pop up window, so you can operate private browsing separately but at the same time as your regular browsing.

Cons

- There's a lack of add-ons, mainly because if it being so new to the market.

- Similar to IE, the German government has actually advised web users against using Chrome, but this time over privacy concerns. There are worries over how much Google will track which sites you visit and how much of this information it will share with others, such as advertisers.

- More of an inconvenience than an all-out con, but where browsers like Firefox remember regularly entered form fields such as email addresses and the like, Chrome doesn't. More typing for you, then.

Download Google Chrome

Safari

Pros

- Clean design and very simple to use, it supports multitouch gestures in Mac OS X for speedier, less-clicky browsing. It'll also help Windows users feel at home with Windows Native Look, complete with the familiar blue bordering.

- Similarly to Firefox it will protect against malware and phishing attacks, block pop ups and will also notify your anti virus software whenever you download something to make sure it gives it the once over first.

- The latest version has a nice touch to it in that it offers a visual wall of your the websites you visit most, with a thumbnail preview of each site. Called "top sites" simply launch it, then click the site you want to go to and it'll take you straight there. Very similar to Opera's long-running SpeedDial feature.

Cons

- You're stuck with Google as your search bar on the top right, whereas with Firefox, you can customise this.

- Some users have said that it can be a little slow on a PC, but is faster on a Mac.

- There's a lack of add ons to personalise your browsing experience compared to competitors, and a lack of support for some plugins need to load some websites.

Download Safari 4

Opera

Pros

- Opera is considered one of the most secure browsers out there, helped by the fact that many of the big phishing and malware attacks are generally aimed at more popular browsers. While its mobile browser is among the most popular out there, Opera's desktop version hasn't attracted the same sort of use – which has actually worked in its favour in terms of security.

- It boasts a "Turbo Mode" for loading websites quickly, particularly over poor or dial-up connections. When on, it will compress images as a webpage loads to help its speed, and can even be set up to automatically turn on when it detects a slow connection.

- Opera is very visual, and has featured its SpeedDial feature – which Apple seemed to take hints from in its "top sites" in the most recent Safari update – for some time. You can replace tabs with thumbnails of the site, and hovering over it will show you a full preview before clicking. You can even choose where your tab bar is – at the top of the browser, to the side, or at the bottom.

Cons

- Because of its smaller user base, once again you may find issues with some websites struggling to load correctly.

- You have to remember to turn off Turbo Mode when visiting sites like YouTube, or you may find it crashes.

- If you're after a simple browsing experience, Opera may offer up a few too many options for you. Yes, we're being picky.

- Widgets are opened out in a separate page, and their lack of integration to main browser has caused some users to complain that they are cumbersome to use, and cause a cluttered browsing experience.

Download Opera 10

But if these don't tickle your fancy, why not try one of these instead?

Camino

Some people complain that Mozilla's Firefox hasn't fulfilled its potential on a Mac, and this is what Camino aims to do. With its slogan as "Mozilla power, Mac style", it concentrates on integrating Mozilla's technology with Mac OS X in a way the Fox hasn't managed to do itself.

Download Camino

Wyzo

Calling itself "the media browser", Wyzo features BitTorrent integration with no other software required, faster downloads thanks to multi-source downloading where possible, and improved security. It's still in beta so don't expect a 100% perfect product, but worth a look.

Download Wyzo 3

Flock

Flock describes itself as a "social browser", which is built on a Firefox core. It integrates web services circling around blogging, photo sharing and bookmark sharing. This means you can expect support for Blogger, TypePad, Wordpress, Flickr, Photobucket, del.icio.us and Shadows.

Download Flock 2.5

For more details on the above, and even more browsers be sure to check out the Alternative Browser Alliance, and let us know which browser you use below.

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