The Internet has become so pervasive that web browsers are everywhere.  It is hard to find anyone that does not at least know how to launch one on their phone or desktop.  Of course, there is more to be desired from your browser than merely surfing the web.  All of these examples are free, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.  If nothing else, here is an excellent way to expand your list of browsers that you use.

Chrome

This browser is from Google and available almost everywhere.  I cannot think of a platform that does not support Chrome, and it is reasonably feature-rich in all of those.  One of the best features of Chrome is the developer tools that are included in every install.  On the downside, it can be a bit resource heavy and even a little slow when you have a lot of tabs open.

On the other hand, there are a large number of plugins and extensions available.  If you do not use Chrome, you should.  It is a common and useful browser for web developers along with the masses.

Mozilla/Firefox

Before we had Chrome, there was Firefox.  This browser used to be the primary developer browser with a robust set of extensions and developer tools.  Unfortunately, it has gotten a bit slow compared to others and is a bit of a resource hog.  The configuration is powerful, but not user-friendly so it is best to stick to the defaults.  It is also a browser you can find on almost any platform.

Safari

This one is a mostly Apple browser.  There are some other versions, but it is the default on Apple desktops and mobile devices so you should be aware of it including for your testing.  It is a lighter weight solution than Chrome or Mozilla, but it is not as extensible or as good in providing developer tools.

Opera

Once you move beyond the top five browsers, you will likely come across Opera.  Likewise, if you have not used it, then I recommend you give it a shot.  It is a lightweight and speedy web browser.  IT lacks the level of developer tools you find with Chrome or Firefox as well as the plugins.  However, it is an elegant solution for those that just want a browser and prefer to avoid using more resources than necessary.

Maxthon

This one is a solution I came across as part of testing some web applications.  It has a slick and straightforward interface along with a light need for resources.  Although this is not a popular browser, it is a pretty good stickler for standards and can be useful for general testing as well as keeping safe and current with your typical browsing.  I tend to use this one a lot for non-development browsing.

Internet Explorer/Edge

Where Safari is a mostly Apple browser, IE and Edge are mostly Windows browsers.  IE is the legacy version of this browser with Edge being the latest version and one that is significantly more advanced.  There are legacy applications that require IE to run, and it has some powerful, but non-standard features developer can take advantage of.  The problem is that the vendor lock-in offsets the power you get from using this.

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Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences.In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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