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Why you should stop using Internet Explorer

FireFox vs IE
FireFox vs IE

OK, before I start I would like to clear up a few things. I am a web designer and yes I use a Mac, but doesn’t mean I hate Microsoft just because it’s cool to do so, I hate them for logical reasons, but I do use and dare I say like some of there products. Hell we even use a few on the Macs here and I use a PC at home. But when it comes to Internet Explorer, I hate them with a passion and with good reason. My argument is simple: the benefits of using IE are too few – and the faults too great – to put off the adoption of an alternative any longer. Here are a few reasons why Internet Explorer is bad.

SECURITY How many times have you had to have a “Techie” friend, or a member of the IT department, come over and sort out your PC, because “It’s just got really slow” or “I keep getting loads of windows popping up, when I click on things“? I’m guessing a lot. This is whats known in the trade as spyware. Spy-ware is the evil junk that finds its way on to your PC as you are browsing the Internet by hijacking Internet Explorer (IE). What most people don’t realize, however, is that there is a very simple and powerful way to defend your system (and/or the systems of your loved ones) in one fell swoop.

Don’t use Internet Explorer! What makes other browsers better than IE at protecting us against spy-ware and other attacks? Well, it’s simple really – most other browsers don’t make it so easy to install malicious software on your system without you knowing about it. Other browsers will inform you when something is trying to install itself on your PC and will ask you if you are OK with this. In addition to the spy-ware issues, IE in general has had a terrible track record when it comes to all types of serious security issues. For years now, it’s seemed like every time you turn around there is a new way to have your computer taken over via Internet Explorer. Put “Internet Explorer” and “allow an attacker to execute commands” (with the quotes) into Google and you’ll see what I mean.

STANDARDS OK look, I know that standards are not on the top of the priority list in your browser needs, but humour me and continue to read as this IS important to us all. If you have or are thinking about having a website built for you, IE will or has cost you money. Yes it’s true because IE does not follow standards that every other browser does, it means when a web designer / developer is building a site they have to spend more time on fixing the design for IE and therefore the build costs you more money! Things would be much quicker if IE was not around. The Internet works for one simple reason – everything at its core has been built on agreements that bind it together. Whether a computer is connected from England or Sri Lanka, it’s going to speak the same language and obey the same rules – the rules defined by standards. If this weren’t the case there would be no Internet at all. These agreements are forged by a body of people whose goal is nothing short of designing a better and more efficient Internet for everyone. Microsoft, for some odd reason, seems bent on breaking stride with these agreed-upon standards. The absolute worst browser when it comes to supporting the standards is Internet Explorer.

OPTIONS Lucky for us, we have alternatives. The good news is that the alternative browsers are actually as good or better than IE. There are many out there, but in my opinion the Mozilla products are the best. I personally prefer and recommend Mozilla Firefox. Not only does it keep your browsing sessions a lot more secure and spy-ware-free, but it also supports the standards religiously and has a wide range of powerful features. Arguably the biggest benefit to using a Mozilla-based product is something called tabbed browsing. What this allows you to do is have multiple pages open within a single browser window. Rather than going from window to window in the task bar, you can simply switch between clearly visible tabs, all within the same view. You can even do this and many other commands via the keyboard if you are into that sort of thing.

Using FireFox will not require any major shift in your daily browsing habits. It’ll import your favorites automatically, and you can benefit from the improved security starting the first time you open it. With the popup blocking enabled, you can breath quite a bit easier when browsing to unknown sites. Attempts to install garbage on your system that could have easily succeeded if you were using IE will simply be ignored by Firefox. Plus, the whole time you’re browsing you’ll know that you are doing your part to keep the soul of the Internet alive by choosing to use a browser whose developers actually care about standards. Of course, I still use IE. (pause for effect) …it’s how I get my Windows security updates. : Seriously though – Windows Update is a must, and it only works in IE, so that in itself is a good reason to fire up IE once in a while. Aside from Windows Update though, there is still the occasional site that I go to that doesn’t look right in any other browser. Those sites, by the way, are all the more reason to not use IE. They weren’t written according to the standards, and they look bad in any browser other than IE as a result of that fact. Using IE all the time just because the occasional site is designed so poorly as to look like crap in other browsers is utterly bad form.

I implore you not to give into this temptation. So please don’t think that it’s just a techie thing to have a different browser. It is not hard to change your browser. Really it’s not. If you have managed to turn on your PC then you could install a better browser. At the very least please stop using IE6, as its About 8 years old now, and move to version 7, version 8 is set to come out later this year, So why are you still using IE6??

P.s. Checkout www.IE7.com

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