4browsers.jpgWhat browser do you use?

Being a Mac user I hardly ever think about Internet Explorer except when I’m coding and testing websites. Primarily I use Camino (love it) and Safari (now available for Windows). Sometimes I open Firefox, though most for StumbleUpon. And I really love OmniWeb’s thumbnail tabs. And, of course, I didn’t mention probably the best browser I don’t use much – Opera. Okay, maybe I have a bit of an obsession, but each of these have some great features that the others don’t.

But most people, however, don’t use multiple browsers. They choose one browser and stay with it. And it appears more and more people are choosing Firefox.

browsers.gifAnd that’s exactly what my stats in Google Analytics showed me this morning. Two-thirds of all my site visitors this year are using Firefox. And less than one-third are using Internet Explorer.

Now I do have a bit higher rate of Mac users – around 12%, but that certainly doesn’t account for the huge percentage of Firefox users.

What I’m thinking is that a large number of bloggers use Firefox. Why? And why are so few using Internet Explorer? And what does this say about browser trends?

An article from Popular Science that I saw predicts that by 2009 Firefox’s market share could be as high as 50%. When I read it I thought, “no way.” But looking at my stats makes me think otherwise.

Then I found a post from PC World reporting that Firefox’s market share in Europe is nearing 30% – almost double the U.S. market share.

Does it matter?

I’m not sure. But maybe you know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What browser is most used in visiting your site?

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Anna Vester says

    I primarily use Firefox on my PCs. I rarely use IE or Opera, mainly just for testing purposes. Opera does look sort of intriguing, but I am not ready to switch yet, since I have gotten so accustomed to my FF2. πŸ™‚

  2. Char says

    I love Firefox and use it 90% of the time on my PC. I use Safari on my Mac, but you can download Firefox for the Mac now and I just might need to do that.

    Personally, I think a lot of bloggers like Firefox for all the plug-ins. Especially those who use WordPress and are used to the whole plug-in concept.

  3. LaurenMarie says

    I like Firefox because it’s highly customizable and it has tabs. I’m always operating with at least 3 tabs open, usually more like 6-10. I know that IE7 has this feature (I’m on a PC, btw, don’t own a Mac), but I already have FF. Plus, FF is much more standards compliant than IE. I only use IE to make sure my web pages work in it. I’ve never used any other browsers.

    On my portfolio website I see most people using IE and Windows. I think that’s because many corporate businesses are viewing it and they just use the default browser that comes with their PC.

    I believe the reason you see many FF users is because most of us who read your blog are designers of some sort and we know that FF is better than IE (the enlightened crowd!). The IE group is probably prospective or current clients, yes?

  4. Dawud Miracle says

    Char,

    Yeah, that makes sense. I’m not sure why I haven’t switched myself other than Firefox just doesn’t feel very Mac-like. Camino, which is developed by a bit of the Firefox team, does feel like a Mac.

    Do you ever use IE?

    LaurenMarie,

    True, Firefox is more standards compliant. Just wish Microsoft would join in. And I have to say that IE7 is the best version so far.

    Your assumptions could be right, I’m not sure. Most of my clients before they work with me are using IE, so it makes sense. Usually, however, I show them something along the way that gets them to consider switching to Firefox. So I’m doing it one person at a time.

    Have you looked at Opera? Highly customizable, stable and packed with features? Not that you need another browser. Just wondering.

  5. Jean Browman says

    I use Firefox because it’s supposedly more secure than IE. I also link from AOL when that’s more convenient, but I like the multiple pages on Firefox.

  6. Char says

    I only use IE if the site or application I need to deal with is not supported by Firefox. Otherwise, I avoid it like the plague. I do test all my sites in it, too, but only because I have to.

    I don’t use MS Outlook for email anymore either. I prefer Mozilla’s Thunderbird.

  7. Dawud Miracle says

    Anna,

    Yeah, I can relate. Do you do browser testing on Macs?

    Char,

    Here-here – on all accounts.

    Have you played with the Safari 3 Beta for the PC yet? I’ve heard some pretty okay things.

  8. LaurenMarie says

    No, I haven’t really looked at Opera yet. I’m not having any problems with FF and I’m happy with it.

    I suppose it’s like WordPress; although Movable Type I’ve heard is really good (and they just went open source I believe, so there’s much more content than previously), WordPress is the one everyone talks about, writes plug-ins for and gives advice on, so it’s what practically everyone uses.

    Do you happen to know which browser is the most standards compliant? I have heard Opera is pretty good, but none that I know of can pass the Acid 2 test yet.

  9. Meg says

    I’ve found a definite difference between the percentage of FF users to my blog as opposed to the two “main stream” websites I run.

    FF can be as high as 75% (visitors arriving from a Google search are more likely to be on IE), whereas on the other websites it hovers around 10%. Blog consumers are definitely more inclined to use FF, and FF users generally stay longer (though that could be because of open tabs).

    I avoid IE like the plague – ugh, it’s so slow.

  10. Karin H. says

    Hi Dawud

    Browser use: on my blogs the majority is Firefox, on our business websites it still is IE.
    Since I use Firefox most myself I do have to check changes in our buss.sites on IE too. But it also has to look good on Firefox – and not as a BNI-member’s own efforts turned out to be: excellent on IE, unclickable on Firefox (and this being an interior designer my guess is that ‘creative’ people tend to use Firefox more than IE, for them this could mean loosing prospects straight away – but do they listen? ;-( )

    I’ve even have a Netscape browser – just to be on the safe – design – site πŸ˜‰

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  11. Dawud Miracle says

    LaurenMarie,

    I know what you mean – both on your browser and on WordPress. Personally, I love WordPress. And while I’ve played a bit with Moveable Type out of curiosity, I have no interest in looking further as WordPress does everything I could ever ask it too.

    I don’t pay too much attention to the Acid2 test. I do believe I heard somewhere that Safari was the first browser to pass it and that IE7 wouldn’t pass it. Try the Wiki for more. And I’d love to know what you find out.

    Meg,

    Interesting. Bloggers could be one of the major reasons that Firefox numbers keep growing. What do you think?

    Karin,

    I, too, still see IE dominate non-blog stats, with little exception. But this trend of Firefox dominating in the blogosphere is interesting. I wonder if Problogger or Copyblogger – two sites that get massive traffic – have a similar skew toward Firefox?

  12. LaurenMarie says

    I see according to Wikipedia (hehe, THE Wiki!) that Safari was “the first to do so” but it doesn’t give a date for when it was tested/released. FF 3 is supposed to be fully compliant according to the test. Opera 9 passes too, according to both Wikipedia and WaSP’s articles on Acid2. Konqueror passes the test, according to W3C and Wikipedia.

    Safari on Windows… not sure. Mixed reviews so far, and WaSP doesn’t say whether or not any other browsers are passing the test.

    So maybe I do need to download Opera, if only for testing purposes! This was a good discussion. Thank you πŸ™‚

  13. Kirk M says

    Hi Dawud,

    I also see Firefox as the browser that’s most used to view my site. It stands to reason. Bloggers usually have a fairly large community going that revolve around each other’s blog and I’ve found most bloggers use Firefox almost exclusively…for PC users that is. With a few select extensions, it’s the ultimate blogger’s tool. And you know how us blogger’s just love to multiply. In fact it was beta testing IE 7.0 while it was still in development that made me switch to Firefox in the first place. Go figure.

    BTW, I use Firefox as my main browser and blog tool and IE 7.0, Opera and Safari (for Windows) for testing and compatibility purposes (for the blog).

    Does Camino support using Firefox extensions yet? Justwondering.

  14. Dawud Miracle says

    LaurenMarie,

    Konqueror should pass. As should Opera, really. After all, the Chief Technical Officer of Opera is none other than one of the founders of CSS – HΓ₯kon Wium Lie. Love to know what you think of Opera if you try it.

    Same with Safari for Windows.

    Kirk,

    Interesting time to switch browsers.

    Camino does not support extensions and according to it’s FAQ it won’t/can’t.

  15. Guilty Secret says

    I am a mac user and I use firefox. I switched from Safari when I found out I could add all different search bars to my browser, not just google. It does have trouble quitting sometimes though πŸ™

    I have only been blogging a little while, but so far I’m about 55% firefox, 40% IE, and the rest AOL (why oh why?) and Safari.

    Thanks for a great blog,
    GS

  16. Ponn Sabra says

    Wow, like no way! You and Char are Mac-users! I had no idea!

    But, having just won an iPod nano and learning Char has one & loves it; then when I expressed how much I love my iPod at Lars’, I have to say…I’m *very* intrigued!

    Oh, about your questions:
    I use 99-100% time on FireFox. Here at the library, they only have IE…which I detest; but work around it.

    Ditto to what Char said “Personally, I think a lot of bloggers like Firefox for all the plug-ins. Especially those who use WordPress and are used to the whole plug-in concept.”

  17. ForumeR says

    I just use Internet Explorer right after installing windows. And that’s just to be online and dload Firefox. after that, no more IE πŸ˜€

    Best regards
    πŸ™‚

  18. Dawud Miracle says

    Guilt Secret,

    I switched for the same reason a while ago. Then I found Camino and have been very happy with it. While it has only a few extensions, it does feel very Mac-like – unlike FF.

    The stats just keep on showing FF winning in the blogosphere. Boy it’d be interesting to ask someone with massive traffic like Problogger or Scoble.

  19. Dawud Miracle says

    Ponn,

    Mac users all the way, baby. I don’t even own a PC. Though I do run XP now and again inside my Mac to test websites.

    I use FF now and again – but mostly Camino. Makes me wish I could build my own browser.

    ForumeR,

    Yeah!

  20. Sebastyne says

    I was slow to change from Explorer to Firefox. I changed mostly because of StumbleUpon crashed Explorer all the time, and I loved StumbleUpon more than Explorer. I was surprised to notice though, that Firefox still doesn’t clear some content without problems, like java-plugins and that sort. And what’s with cut n’ paste in Firefox? How hard can it be? Anyway, as you said, each one of them have some unique features, but after getting used to some fine features in Explorer it’s tough to give them up for Firefox… But StumbleUpon is too good to pass.

  21. Dawud Miracle says

    Sebastyne,

    If I was a PC user, it would be very easy to love Stumble more than IE. I think IE7 makes things worse. I love my Mac, but I’m not a Mac evangelist. I do, however, feel that the quality and quantity of web browsers is one are that Macs absolutely dominate PCs.

  22. Anna Vester says

    Dawud,

    I am generally asking someone to test a site for me on a Mac since I do not have Mac. I used browsercam website, but sometimes waiting line is way too long. πŸ™‚

    Anna
    PS. sorry for such a late response, I have mistyped my email address and was not getting any followup emails.

  23. Dawud Miracle says

    Anna,

    No worries. I just appreciate you checking back.

    I’ve never used browsercam for the same reason. Not sure other ways to check Mac on a PC other than to use virtual software to run OS X.

  24. Shawna says

    I use firefox because I use Gmail as my main mail client. I go to Lifehacker and check out all the add-ons for Gmail with firefox that make my email the best ever. I originally had to start using firefox on my mac at home because my university website wouldn’t work with safari and now I just can’t go back.

    ‘Love’ your blog!
    -Shawna

  25. Dawud Miracle says

    Shawna,

    I definitely understand that. I feel the same way about Camino. Though I do miss the huge feature extensions in Firefox. But Camino just feels right on the Mac. Thanks for your thoughts.

  26. Palm Coast says

    I personally use Firefox, like most web developers. I have sites where IE is used more than Firefox and some where Firefox is used more than IE, it all depends on the niche and how computer savvy your users are.

  27. Dave says

    My website sees about 80% Firefox and about 19% IE. Safari, Opera and all the others have under 1%.

    The interesting thing is that my site is all about computer security and website security in particular.

    I suspect security engineers prefer Firefox because of plugins like TamperData and LiveHTTPHeaders.

  28. huckle says

    I use FF on both of my macs, and my PC. When I first made the switch, I only had one computer, a pc, and as soon as I found out there were alternatives to IE (5.5 at the time) I tried them all. FF got me with its security features at first, and it just carried on from there. Once I got the SU toolbar I just couldn’t go to another browser like opera without having to keep switching to FF to do my stumbling – which seemed ludicrous to me. Recently I bought two macs cheap (they’re old slot-loading G3s, Β£65 each!) and didn’t even think twice about getting FF for them. True, FF isn’t very mac-like, but I use the iFox theme to give it that aqua edge.

    I’ve already converted my mum and several friends to the way of the fox and always persevere until people at least try it. There seems to be a big fear among non-techie people about installing software, especially when their firewall kicks up a stink cos it needs access to the internet. It’s just easier in their minds to use IE7, which still needs some major improvements before it’s anywhere near the quality of browser that FF is.

  29. Eric says

    This makes me happy to see. I am not impressed with the now critical update (IE7)
    I was trying to set up a flash mp3 player on webpage and it will not work in IE7 but works fine in all other browsers including IE6. I am getting tired of Microsoft doing there own thing and making everyone suffer. Don’t get me wrong microsoft can do somethings great but have been nothing but a headache with browsers.

  30. Juan Perez says

    There are several reasons why I use Firefox, and it would take a lot of typing to explain them. But the most important thing is that Firefox it is multisystem program so that if I decide to leave Linux behind I will probably not need to start using another browser. This is not very important in the case of a web browser, but for programs you use to record information it is, based on my (very long) experience as a computer user, a make or break deal, so I use this policy for as many programs as I can.
    Regards.

  31. Dawud Miracle says

    Alex,
    I hear you – me neither.

    Dave,
    Sounds right.

    huckle,
    I’m not a fan of IE/7 at all, though I am happy that some of the css issues have been fixed. But I find it still to be inferior to FF, Opera – and most Mac browsers.

    Eric,
    Me too. Really, there’s no reason for them to do this crap any longer. In the past it was about separating themselves from Netscape. Once they buried Netscape it was about integration with FrontPage. All-in-all, it wasn’t the consumers, designers, or web coders they had in mind. And with IE7, we still see some of that to be true.

  32. MMA says

    I use IE for windows update and to view my websites to make sure they look good to those that still use IE as a browser.

  33. Flash Drive says

    I figured it depends on the niche. I also wonder if it depends on what region of the world you get your majority of visitors from.Financial Management

  34. Jon says

    Call them niches if you like, but I’d put things bigger categories than that.

    Basically “Business and education” generally use IE, along with people who just “buy a computer” – the same people who believe you need a Β£600 machine because you want to email big files and multitask – and never know any better (the sooner IE is de-bundled from windows, the better)

    I tend to find that on any of my “general” sites – the sort of thing that I’d consider an older person would look for – a real ale guide, for example – IE is dominant. As soon as you bring younger people into the equation, the firefox takeup rockets.

    I’d love to do a survey of a University and check browsing habits and I’d be willing to bet there’s some figures among under 30’s (and even moreso among under 25’s) that will scare the bejeezus out of Microsoft. I ran a graphics forum, primarily based around an MMORPG, a year or two back now – mostly 14-25 year olds, and 90% of my traffic was firefox.

  35. collaboration software says

    I dont use IE at all. It gets struck often (I use windowsxp) and I observed more and more virus attacking my laptop when I tried IE. I use firefox.

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