How to try a different web browser

Did you know that when you're exploring the internet, you aren't just limited to the one default browser that comes with your computer, phone or tablet device? There are many different web browsers available to try, each with their own benefits and disadvantages.

If you've always just used the one web browser, why not experiment by trying out a different browser.

Can I have more than one web browser installed?

On your Computer, Phone or Tablet: Yes, absolutely. You don't need to uninstall your current web browser to try a different one.

On some other devices, your choices may bit a little more limited; for example most Game Consoles (PlayStation, XBox etc) provide a built-in web browser which can't be replaced.

A web browser is no different to any other program on your computer, phone or tablet. So in the same way that you might have more than one Word Processing program or more than one Music Player installed at the same time, you can also have more than one web browser installed.

The web browsers generally don't interfere with each other, so the settings you use in one browser won't affect your settings in another web browser. This can be very handy if you prefer to browse the internet with Javascript turned off for better security/privacy, but need it enabled for one or two sites that require it. It allows you to alternate between your different browsers and different settings depending on your requirements at the time.

Why might I try a different web browser?

  • Different and unique features

    These days, modern web browsers will all have a pretty common approach to showing and browsing websites, but one major way that browsers are differentiated is by the extra features they offer.

    For example, Google's Chrome browser offers a way of sharing bookmarks between your different devices - by using Google Bookmarks. That way, if you add a bookmark with Chrome on your phone, when you get to your computer, the bookmark will be there as well.

    Some browsers also offer Browser Extensions/Addons which can be installed to give new/different functionality to your web browser. Some of these addons may not be available for the browser that you use, so you might consider switching to a different browser.

  • Personal preference

    The browser that you use can often come down to personal preference. Different web browsers have different user interfaces and sometimes people will just gravitate to a particular feature or style more than others.

    For example, Safari has a sort of "pop-out" window for showing downloads which are in progress, whereas Chrome has a downloads interface which looks more like it's own tab. Neither approach is truly "better", but different people appreciate different approaches and even little differences like this might be enough to cause you to change your web browser to a different one.

  • Competition makes things better

    It's wonderful that there are different web browsers to choose from. Any time there's just "one" of something it always tends to stagnate and decay. The fact that there are multiple web browsers means that there will always be healthy competition between them, and as long as they all do their best to adhere to the web standards created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Internet Engineering Task Force and other official organisations.

    Different web browsers implement those same standards in different ways, and different browsers have different strengths and weaknesses in doing it. It's not as apparent these days, but years ago, some websites would look and work quite differently depending on which web browser you were using.

    Often these differences between browsers become more apparent when you use "advanced" features, such as playing games, chatting or playing videos.

    By trying different web browsers out, you will find the ones that work best on the sites you use, and by using them you support it, encouraging them to keep working on their browser.

Downloading a new web browser

To download a different web browser, you need to go to the browser manufactorer's website or use your Phone/Tablet's "App Store" and get the latest version of it.

NEVER download a web browser from anywhere other than the official website or store - you risk getting viruses, malware or spyware otherwise.

To make it easy for you, we have compiled a list of all the places you can download the latest versions of some of the most popular browsers available today.

Browser Name Download Link
Google Chrome
Google Chrome
Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Safari Safari comes preinstalled on macOS and iOS and isn't available for any other platforms.
Yandex Browser (Windows and macOS)
Yandex Browser (Mobile)
Internet Explorer
Microsoft Edge Edge comes preinstalled on Windows 10 and Xbox One and isn't available for any other platforms.

Click on any of the links above and download the browser for your platform.

Not all browsers work on all platforms

Web browsers will only support certain platforms; there's not a single browser which is available on every single possible platform. For example, Chrome works on most desktop computers (Windows/macOS/Linux) and most mobile devices (Android/iPhone/iPad etc). However it's not available on gaming consoles (eg PlayStation, XBox, Nintendo Switch) and some mobile devices (BlackBerry) - for those platforms you'll need to use a browser that's specifically designed for them.

Not all platforms support other browsers

Desktop computers and most mobile devices will allow you to install more than one web browser on them; however not all devices/platforms will let you do this. For example, Sony's Playstation 4 only allows you to use the in-built web browser that comes with the PlayStation; you aren't able to install a new/different web browser. It will depend on the platform you're using whether you're able to experiment with other web browsers.

Niche Web Browsers

The browsers listed above are the most popular and well supported browsers available today. However there are lots of other web browsers which aren't as popular and who have smaller development teams & communities but which still bring something interesting to the table.

Often the more "niche" browsers require a bit more dilligence and technical knowledge to use safely (or at all!); not all of them update automatically, some take a bit of effort and technical expertise to install. Niche browsers also tend to be updated less frequently than the more popular projects which implies that they may not have security problems fixed as quickly as would be ideal.

Setting your default web browser

Your computer's operating system has the concept of a "default web browser" - it is a configuration setting which controls which browser to open and use if a different program tries to open a web page.

So for example, if you're reading email in Outlook or Thunderbird and you click a web link, your operating system will use which ever web browser has been set as the default web browser to open the link you just clicked.

We have some guides that show you how to set your default browser to something other than what it's currently set to.

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