We've all heard of Internet Explorer. And most of us have heard of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera. But those 5 aren't the only web browsers out there. There are plenty of alternatives to the "Big 5" web browsers, and with so many options out there, I thought it would be helpful to compile a short list of good - but less well known - web browsers.
A Google project, this open-source browser is the basis of Google Chrome and a bunch of other browsers. It’s about as up-to-date as you can; every new feature Google can conceive gets tested in Chromium. It’s mainly of interest to web developers, but anyone who wants to use it can do so – for free.
There is a portable version of Chromium which is incredibly handy. It can run from a USB, CD, iPod, or any other storage media, allowing you to take your bookmarks, apps, and extensions with you. Just plug a USB with Chromium Portable on it into any computer and you’re ready to browse the web – no installation required. When you’re finished browsing and remove the storage device, all Chromium’s browsing data is erased from the computer, keeping your information safe and secure.
A unique browser designed for the age of social media, this web browser features heavy social media integration. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites are integrated directly into its interface. If you’re a big fan of Facebook, this is worth checking out. Otherwise, you may find all the social media integration more of an annoyance than anything else. Like most of the lesser known web browsers, Rockmelt was built on the Chrome platform. It is therefore compatible with add-ons from the Chrome Web Store.
Personally, I find this browser a little clunky and awkward, but I’m sure Facebook and Twitter fanatics will appreciate all that Rockmelt has to offer.
Like Rockmelt, this browser is based on the Chromium open-source project, making it compatible with add-ons from the Chrome Web Store. It’s a very fast browser with an interface similar to that of Chrome. However, Chrome has been much criticized for violating the users' privacy, and suggesting content and adverts based on users’ browsing habits.
This has left some people looking for an alternative to Chrome – one that has all the same features, but alleviates their privacy concerns. That’s where browsers like Comodo Dragon step in. The main focus of this browser is security; it allows the user to surf the internet without being quietly tracked by Google.
Iron Browser, like Comodo Dragon, is an excellent, lightweight browser based on the Chrome platform, thus allowing all the apps and extensions available in the Chrome Web Store to be installed. Like Comodo, this browser was designed as a privacy-conscious version of Chrome. Iron works almost exactly like Google Chrome, but it does away with tracking ID’s to ensure privacy for the user. To put it simply, this is the browser for people who want to use Chrome, but don’t want to use Chrome.
This browser isn’t quite as fast as others when it comes to startup, but once it gets going it’s difficult to beat. It renders pages in the blink of an eye, which is all most people want their browser to do. Its interface is also customisable; you can adjust the skin and the toolbar to suit your preferences. This browser is based on the same engine as Internet Explorer, so users of that browser will have no problem adjusting to Maxthon.
Unfortunately, this browser is somewhat lacking when it comes to a few key features. There are no parental control options, so if you have children this isn’t a browser I’d recommend. Moreover, there is no spellcheck feature. While hardly revolutionary, it would be a handy feature to have.
It's all up to you
Any one of these browsers can potentially be used as a replacement for your default browser. Even if that's not something you're keen to do, they can be fun to try out and use for different tasks. If you'd like to read about some of the more common, popular web browsers, check out my article: "Top 5 Modern Web Browsers".
Thanks for taking the time to read this hub. If you have any questions or feedback, please comment.
rodocop on December 21, 2012:
Comodo Dragon is the best one.
But where are Torch, TheWorldChrome, Sleipnir, QupZilla, Midori?
And what about non-Webkit ones? Epic, K-Meleon?
zdoc from Sout East Asia on November 04, 2012:
Great Hub! I love Google Chrome. It's light and fast.
Nesbyte (author) from UK on August 16, 2012:
Thanks a lot Scribenet, you're too kind. Hope you find my hubs useful.
Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on August 16, 2012:
Hey Nesbyte! I could use your expertise to get wised up about all the new fangled plethora of information out there....there is so much!
You have a devoted follower....and... "Welcome to Hubpages!"