We've been testing some of the new crop of web browsers lately. The results seem to be point one way... Firefox.

In case you haven't heard, Firefox is a stand alone web brower that is part of the Mozilla stable. It has a number of advantages over the dominant Internet Explorer:

  1. Cross Platform: Firefox come in various flavours adapted for variou operating systems.
  2. Small Download: The Windows version is about 4.7meg which is almost a 10th of the size of Internet Explorer 6. The Linux and OSX versions are larger, weighing in at 8.1meg and 8.6meg respectively
  3. Speed: Firefox seems to load web pages faster than Explorer.
  4. Tabbed Browsing: One of our favourite features is tabbed browsing. It's nice and easy having various windows all open in the same place. You can have multiple pages open without cluttering your desktop.
  5. Popup Blocking: One of the most annoying features of surfing the web thes days would have to be popups. Explore can block popups with 3rd party software but Firefox has a popup blocking feature as a standard.
  6. Security: Firefox doesn't run ActiveX commands so you are less likely to be plagued by spyware
  7. User Selected Stylesheets: If a website has multiple style sheets, Firefox enables you to swap easily by clicking an icon in the bottom left.
  8. Standards Support: Firefox fully supports all the latest web standard like XHTML, Cascading stylesheets etc. It's wont chuck a "hissy fit" if it comes across an XML page.
  9. Easy Switching: Firefox can easily import your favourites from Explorer.
  10. Free: Yes, Firefox is free. It costs nothing and is based on open source.

At present, Explorer seems to be falling further behind. Explorer 6 is now around 2 years old which is a long time in internet years. Firefox offers some very stiff competition and some compelling reasons to switch.