smush_large_firefox2The major Internet browsers are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari, all of which perform somewhat differently to present the browsing experience. Each browser software has its own advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons, but Mozilla Firefox is overall among the fastest and safest available. Its disadvantages, however, are in compatibility and memory.

Launched in the ’90s, Firefox is the third most popular web browser. The Firefox browser’s need for lots of memory to operate efficiently may limit the computer’s ability to do multiple tasks simultaneously, but Firefox also offers excellent network security, a user-friendly interface and many add-ons for customised browsing.

Firefox is generally considered as the fastest browser for download speed. Programmes and files not only download faster, but users get a record of all downloads in a table so they can delete or move them whenever convenient. This browser has some advanced security measures that guard against spyware and viruses. Firefox has been at the forefront of web browser security by introducing numerous protections from phishing schemes to viruses. The browser has strong authentication protocols that prevent attackers from running unauthorised code. NoScript and FlashBlock extensions can enhance Firefox security by enabling users to execute advanced code. It also has a state-of-the-art blocker that stops almost every popup.

Tabbed browsing allows an unlimited number of open pages in a single window, thus better organising browsing. Firefox’s embedded memory remembers which sites were open in the previous session and offers to restore them if the computer shuts down unexpectedly.

Firefox is an easily customisable browser that supports extensions, plug-ins and themes that alter browser function and appearance to suit all special needs. In June 2011, Firefox had more than 6,000 extensions and 500 themes. Extensions can access the user’s Facebook wall from the Firefox toolbar, monitor G-mail, alert users to breaking news, alter website elements with scripts and even consolidate the Firefox interface.

Mozilla Firefox is among the most resource-intensive web browsers compared to others in independent, unbiased testing and evaluation. While browser start-up time and random-access memory usage have improved with each Firefox release, installed extensions often negate those improvements as the extension codes aren’t always up to par with efficiency.

The main Firefox disadvantage is compatibility. Some popular business-oriented websites simply don’t display properly in Firefox, but instead require certain versions of Internet Explorer for users to view and interact with them. To run Firefox takes lots of memory. Even with up-to-date hardware, some users find the browser slow when several programmes run and notice its tendency to freeze and crash with too many tabs open, which is the reason why Mozilla has invested so heavily in the memory recovery feature.

Another disadvantage is that there’s no way to resume interrupted downloads – no big deal, perhaps, for broadband or cable service users, but dial-ups may encounter many frustrating problems. The Firefox browser design is actually for high-speed, not dial-up Internet users, who start out with this fundamental disadvantage.

So which browser is best? Firefox users should probably stay with it for now but keep Google Chrome in mind for the future. Most Internet Explorer users could switch to Chrome and not look back, Safari users in some cases as well.

Do you use Mozilla Firefox? Comment below.

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