Though Google Chrome has a tremendous following and is very fast, is it really the fastest browser available for Windows 10, and if not, which browser is the fastest? Other than speed, what other considerations should be kept in mind when choosing a web browser?
Google Chrome is a very fast browser, but the browser itself does not determine how fast a page loads when surfing the internet. The hardware you use and your Internet Service Provider play a far bigger role in determining how fast the pages render as you surf the web.
Let me begin by stating that this article is NOT about one particular browser. The point of this article in not to reveal the “fastest browser for Windows 10”. Technically, there probably is one, (this month), but that will no doubt change in time, perhaps next month. Let’s discuss how you can surf the internet faster and stay secure at the same time.
So, You Feel the Need for Speed?
In 1986, a classic movie was released raking in nearly 180 million dollars. One of the classic lines of the movie was, “I feel the need for speed“.
Speed is important. When we refer to page speed, we are talking about how fast a web-page takes to load in your web-browser.
There was a time when the computers were slow, and internet service providers only provided dial-up access. Yes, through phone lines.
Today, we can access the internet using a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet, a cell phones, and even from a watch. We can access the internet from each of these devices at incredibly fast speeds because the back-bone of the internet is based off of fiber optics.
Your web-browser no longer has as much say in how fast a page displays on your desktop as it once did.
The point is that “speed” in its traditional sense, (how fast a web-page renders in a desktop browser), is almost pointless. Why? Because your web-browser no longer has as much say in how fast a page displays on your desktop as it once did.
At the close of the 20th century, there once was a time when horses would race against the latest and greatest cars that were built. The horse didn’t change, but the car did. When a new car comes out, do we race it against a horse to see which one will win? No. Why? Because we know the car will win.
There are some cars out on the road that still try to be the “fastest” car out there. Most people, however, drive a car that is built to get them to work and back home again. When purchasing a new car, the consumer is not really concerned with how fast the car will go. They are concerned with the features that the car comes with.
If you really want to see how fast your web-browser compares to other web-browsers, you can visit a bench-marking website such as html5test.com. It will show you every single aspect of how fast your web-browsers is compared to any other web-browser out there on the market. Every time a new browser version is released, you can run speed tests on that given browser and see how it compares to other web-browsers.
What Can I Do to Browse Faster?
Without tweaking the settings for each browser, there are three things that you can do to decrease page load time, regardless of the browser you choose.
Ensure Your Hard Drive is an SSD Drive
It has been argued that though an SSD drive will definitely cause the web-browser to launch faster, it won’t necessarily make for a faster web-browsing experience. I can not offer any proof, but it sure “feels” like my browsing experience is much faster when using an SSD drive. But, it may be that because every other application runs faster, it just feels like the pages load faster within the browser.
An SSD drive, is a hard drive that has no mechanical moving parts, and as such, is far more reliable and will last longer than a traditional mechanical hard drive. Additionally, an SSD drive is about 8 times faster than a mechanical hard drive, making boot times MUCH faster.
To put things into perspective, an SSD Drive for your computer is like having the engine of a Ferrari in the car you drive to work. It is powerful and fast. With an SSD drive, you can expect your computer to boot up in less than 15 seconds. But it does more than just allow your computer to boot faster. It also allows applications (such as your web-browser), to launch significantly faster. Again, an SSD drive will launch your browser lightning fast, and though it technically will not allow for faster browsing, it sure feels like it does.
Increase Your Ram
Increasing the RAM in your computer will absolutely allow for faster browsing.
Increasing the RAM in your computer has a direct effect on how fast your web-pages load.
Computer RAM might be compared to how many cylinders a car has. The more cylinders a car has, the more effective the delivery of power needed to make that car fly down the raceway. The more RAM you have, the faster your computer will run. More RAM equals a faster browsing experience.
While an SSD drive will launch the browser faster, RAM will make that browser responsive while surfing the internet. If you put 16 GB of RAM in your computer, you will see a noticeable difference in how fast your web-pages load.
There does come a time, however, when you will experience diminishing returns. Using computers as an example, there is a significant difference in how fast your computer will operate when you increase your RAM from 4 GB to 8 GB. Again, there is a big difference between 8 GB of RAM and 16 GB of RAM. But when you go from 16 GB of RAM to 32 GB of RAM, the return on your investment diminishes significantly. You just don’t get the bump you would expect at all. The return is so insignificant, that it’s just not worth the investment, (at least with the computers of today, and how the average user uses a computer).
Choose a Fast Reliable ISP (Internet Service Provider)
Times have changed. People used to use dial-up modems to access the internet. Back then, people were really only concerned on getting access to the internet. Their web-browser was not the reason for slow speeds. The ISP (Internet Service Provider), was the primary bottle-neck that determined how fast websites would load in your browser. That still holds true today.
While most Internet Service Providers (ISP’s), will offer speeds of up to 50 or 100 MB per second, my ISP (I use RCN), offers speeds of up to 1 GB (1,000 megabytes per second). This allows me to rip through the internet and download huge files extremely fast. Unfortunately, this ISP is only available in 6 markets right now, but the company is growing.
To check what your internet speed is, you can visit https://www.speedtest.net/ right now and run a test to see just how fast your ISP is. If you know that it should be higher than the test shows, you can probably easily fix that by disconnecting the co-axle cable and ethernet cable from your cable modem and unplug the power cable from that same cable modem. Wait 5 minutes and then plug the power cable in, the co-axle cable in, and finally the ethernet cable. Wait another 5 minutes before running the test at https://www.speedtest.net/ again.
Note, however, that to run an accurate test, you must connect to the internet directly through an ethernet cable, NOT via your wireless router.
If you still find that the results are poor, you will have to call your ISP who will then run some tests with you over the phone, and potentially, they may need to come out to test the lines.
Given that Internet Service Provider’s change their offerings all the time, I would highly encourage you to see if your current ISP offers higher bandwidth than what you are currently paying.
For example, my ISP offers 330 MB download speeds for $34.99 per month for the first year. However, for just a $10 more, you can get up 1,000 MG download speeds. That’s a no-brainer.
Personally, I reset my cable modem once a week, to ensure that I get the best possible signal possible. Because my ISP offer extremely high bandwidth, and because I reset my modem once a week, I usually find that I get speeds upwards of 950 MB / second.
What Else Should We Consider?
But let’s go beyond numbers and speed, and talk about what matters to most people when they browse the web today.
How Easy is Your Web-Browser to Use?
Certainly, one thing that makes your web-browser a great web-browser, is its ability to offer a great user experience. This is no small point.
Your web-browser is the most used piece of software on your computer. It grants you access to any and all information available on any topic in the world. Due to the time you spend using your web-browser, you want to make sure that it serves your needs. You should not have to use a web-browser the way that the company intended.
How easy is it to do simple things? For example, how easy is it to do the following?
- Do you find that you have to hunt through menu after menu to modify a particular setting?
- How easy it it to customize your browser? Do you have to settle for whatever they think is best for you, or do you have choice?
- Can you export your bookmarks, or does your browser hold you hostage?
- Does your browser easily allow you to change the size of the text displayed?
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Does the look and layout of the browser feel comfortable to you, or does it feel limiting?
Does Your Web-Browser Offer any Outstanding Features?
Are there any features that your browser offers that stand out, features that you would use to make for a better user experience? For example:
- Does your browser force you to use tabs at the top of the page, or does it allow you to move the tabs to the left, right, or bottom of the browser?
- Can you change the color of the tabs or background?
- Does your browser ban ALL advertising by default, or just most of it with the use of a plugin?
- Does your browser leave a foot-print when using “Private Browsing”?
There are numerous features that distinguish one browser from another, and I would encourage you to check out several browsers to see which features peak your interest.
Over the last 20 years, I have used just about every browser on the market, at least every one that I have come across. There are certain things that I look for in a browser. I know that I am very nit-picky about choosing a web-browser, but when you consider that the web-browser is the most used piece of software on the computer, it’s OK to be nit-picky. Be nit-picky. It’s OK. Aren’t you nit-picky when purchasing a new car?
There are certain things that I absolutely love about certain browsers. For example, I LOVE that I can simply right click on a bookmark in Google Chrome and rename it. Why is that such a difficult thing for other browsers to implement?
I have not found ANY web-browser that offers a better implementation of the browsing history than the Vivaldi browser. Not only will it show you where you have been on the internet, but the date, and the exact second you visited that website.
I love the privacy offered by the Brave browser. It has a built-in ad-blocker that will remove any and all ads from your browsing experience, even the ads that popular ad-blocker extensions are paid not to block.
I really like the interface offered when using both Firefox and the Brave browser on my iPhone and iPad. The way that both browsers handle favorites and bookmarks is great. The fact that those same favorites and bookmarks are seamlessly transferred to the Desktop narrows down my choice when determining which Desktop browser I will use.
How Does Your Web-Browser Handle Privacy & Security?
In years past, you may recall the “browser wars”. Internet Explorer dominated the market, but at the time, it had become so bloated, that it ran slow. At the time, NetScape was huge as well, but in time, that project died, (or rather, transformed into Firefox).
In 2004, the Opera browser came out on the scene and was much faster, because it was lean and did not have it’s tentacles throughout the Windows operating system like Internet Explorer did. Though it was fast, it only ever received 2.5% of the market-share. In fact, today, it currently only holds 1.54% of the browser market.
Vivaldi, Firefox and Brave offer increased security and privacy.
Other browsers, such as Vivaldi, Firefox and the Brave browser have recently grown in popularity, but not just because they are fast, but because they offer increased security and privacy.
As of late, privacy and security have increasingly become more and more important to me when surfing the web. Not because I am doing anything nefarious. Not at all. I just don’t want a company to track me for advertising purposes. It’s creepy to know all that a company knows about your likes and dislikes, and I don’t want to give that to them.
The trend has now changed from speed to security and privacy.
Given that people now have extremely fast computers with incredibly fast Internet Service Providers available to the masses, the trend has now changed from speed to privacy and security. This is why most popular browsers now offer a “privacy mode”, where you can privately surf the web. Some browsers, however, are more private than others.
Consider for a moment that the biggest search engine in the history of the internet offers a free web-browser to help you find the information information on any subject you can think of. Do you think that they are not catering ads to your liking using their browser? Of course, they are.
There are alternatives, however. If Security is your only concern, then the best solution is to use the Tor Browser. It’s as secure as they come, the only problem is that it is VERY slow, due to the security layers that it employs.
If you want a fast reliable browser that offers decent security you may want to consider Firefox or the Vivaldi browser.
If you are looking for a very fast browser that offers excellent security and privacy, you will want to take a good long hard look at the Brave browser. The one thing that I like about the Brave browser, is that it has a built-in ad-blocker. There is no need to install an ad-blocker extension. In fact, the authors of some ad-blocker extensions have been paid by companies with a lot of money to allow their ads through, so that they are not blocked. This is why you find that your ad-blocker extension does not “catch” every ad. The Brave browser blocks all ads by default.
Additionally, because the Brave browser blocks all ads, the pages that have these ads embedded within them will load faster when using the Brave browser. Because it does not have to load ads, the pages load faster. Brilliant.
Does choosing the right web-browser affect how fast your pages load within that web-browser? Yes, but if you have an SSD drive, 16 gigs of RAM, and have a very fast Internet Service Provider, the choice of the browser you use is almost negligible. There was a time when it did matter, when slower computers with 8 gigs of RAM with very slow internet service providers were the norm. You have more options now, and the standards are much higher than they used to be. With fast hardware, and fast ISP’s, the browser you decide to use should be based on security and privacy.