The Fastest and Best Web Browsers
A browser’s speed can make or break your web surfing experience. The last thing you need is a browser full of bloatware that takes forever to open pages and run web apps.
If you’re not sure which browser can offer the fastest and most enjoyable browsing experience, this article will help. We’ll show you the fastest web browser you can go with, along with the overall best option. You’ll also see some alternatives so you can choose the browser that suits your needs.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the list of the fastest and best web browsers on the market.
Summary: Google Chrome is the most popular web browser you can get. And for good reason: It is generally considered the fastest web browser available. No wonder it went from a global market share of 25% in 2012 to 65% today. However, speed isn’t everything, and there are many factors to consider when choosing a browser, such as security, customization, and overall user experience.
Many tech buffs have tested different web browsers for speed and other features. Their consensus is that Google Chrome is the fastest web browser out there, especially for Windows users. It scored very high on the key speed tests, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Many users also consider Chrome to be the best web browser overall. Its market share confirms this, as it sits at a whopping 65.52%, according to StatCounter.
So what makes Google Chrome the favorite?
First of all, it obviously supports all Google services, which are widely utilized among internet users. They run more smoothly on Chrome than all other web browsers, so if they’re a part of your everyday life, Chrome is an excellent choice.
Another notable feature is the many Chrome extensions that make for a more convenient browsing experience. There’s a massive library of Google Chrome extensions you can explore. It’s worth mentioning that extensions can slow down the browser though, especially if you install too many of them.
Now, if you use a Mac, there’s a high chance your browser of choice is Apple Safari. Chrome is considered a solid alternative, although many criticize it for the data it gathers. While it’s a secure browser, some users aren’t happy with the amount of personal information it collects.
Another potential drawback of Google Chrome is its high CPU usage. This is a common issue that isn’t exclusive to Chrome, as most browsers often use more CPU and RAM than they need.
Overall, Google Chrome is an excellent choice that wins over other web browsers in many categories. This doesn’t make it ideal for every user though, so let’s continue discussing some other browsers worth exploring.
Formerly Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge used to be an object of ridicule among internet users. You can find countless memes online about the browser’s performance and speed, which wasn’t particularly good.
Microsoft has since improved its browser so much that it deserves a spot on our list. Native to the Windows operating system, Microsoft Edge is a good, all-around web browser with lots of useful features.
What came as a surprise to many is that Edge was pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder with Google Chrome on speed tests. It even surpassed Chrome on one!
Microsoft Edge is pretty light because it doesn’t have unnecessary bloat that would slow it down. It also has a user-friendly interface and is highly reliable. It’s a highly secure web browser, warning users about potentially dangerous websites.
Now, all of this doesn’t make Microsoft Edge perfect. It has fewer extensions than many browsers you’ll see mentioned here, and it collects your browser history for analytics purposes. So if security features are a deal-breaker for you, there are better options you can explore.
According to several tests, Opera is the third-fastest browser you can get, just behind the Chrome browser and Microsoft Edge. It’s fast enough for most users and has a few handy standout features.
First of all, if you like browsing social media on your desktop, Opera is a great option. Its sidebar contains shortcuts to most social networks, so you can have them at the tips of your fingers at all times.
Opera also features a built-in VPN (Virtual Private Network), which makes it a secure browser for those who want to stay anonymous online. While the VPN isn’t the best on the market, it’s certainly capable enough for casual browsing.
Another one of Opera’s security features is the ability to verify all websites you’re visiting. If there’s a threat, the browser will alert you, so there’s a lower chance of encountering malware.
As for the downsides, the main one is that Opera doesn’t receive frequent updates. While it’s one of the oldest web browsers on our list, it’s far less frequently updated than Chrome, which might be an issue in the long run, considering how quickly the World Wide Web evolves.
In addition, Opera uses quite a bit of RAM, which can slow your device down. This can cause the browser to run more slowly, which can be frustrating.
Even though it’s not available to all users due to OS constraints, Apple Safari definitely deserves to be on the fastest web browsers list. It showcases how Apple optimizes its platforms for Macs.
On a Mac, Apple Safari scored the highest on all tests, which makes perfect sense. Apple prides itself upon the fact that it can blend hardware and software into high-end tech solutions.
Safari also offers support for Chrome extensions, and it has a few of its own that you can find on the App Store. This makes the browser highly customizable, which many users appreciate.
Finally, Safari has some of the best security features in a browser. It offers a detailed privacy report, showing all of the trackers it blocks while you’re browsing.
The reason Safari’s speed couldn’t be compared to other browsers on a Windows PC is also one of its main drawbacks – it’s not available on any devices other than Apple’s. There used to be Windows support, but Apple discontinued it.
This exclusivity is among the main reasons Safari isn’t higher on our list of the best web browsers. There’s a chance Apple won’t offer it to other devices in the future either, so unless you’re a Mac user, Safari isn’t for you.
Launched in 2015, Vivaldi is a new kid on the browser block. Still, it can go head-to-head with the veterans. It’s a reasonably fast web browser, so it won’t top any lists yet, but it has various other features that make it worth considering.
Firstly, Vivaldi is among the most customizable browsers on the market. There are many themes to choose from, and you can customize the start page, toolbar, menu, and just about all other elements. This allows users to create a highly personalized browser that will match their browsing habits the best.
Vivaldi also offers great protection against phishing, a popular hacking method. Phishing is an effective way for a hacker to steal the login credentials of your accounts, so this is a welcome feature.
Finally, you can sync Vivaldi’s data across different devices. If you’re browsing on a desktop but have to leave your home, you can pick up where you left off on your smartphone.
In terms of overall performance, Vivaldi is decent, but far from the best. It eats up quite a bit of RAM, so it might sometimes be unnecessarily heavy. It also doesn’t offer iOS and iPadOS support, so Apple users can only get it on their Macs.
Mozilla Firefox isn’t famous for its speed. It scored the lowest on most browser speed tests, so it’s far from swift. It was never marketed as a fast web browser to begin with. Instead, it’s all about security and privacy.
Many consider Mozilla Firefox the most secure browser out there (excluding browsers specifically designed for online anonymity, like the Tor browser). It has a myriad of features that provide a safe, private browsing experience.
Firefox uses something called DNS over HTTPS, or DoH, a protocol that encrypts traffic to prevent ISPs, advertisers, and malicious parties from getting a hold of the user’s data. So if you value security over speed, Firefox is a solid private browser.
It also received an overhaul in 2021. Firefox got redesigned menus, tabs, and many other elements, so the interface now looks cleaner and more user-friendly.
As mentioned, lack of speed is one of the main disadvantages of Mozilla Firefox. It can get quite slow, which power users will surely find annoying. It also consumes a lot of RAM, making your entire device slower.
What you saw above are the fastest web browsers currently available. Many web browsers didn’t make the cut, but they’re still worth mentioning because of other features that users might find valuable.
If you don’t find any of the above options suitable, here are some other browsers to consider.
Looking for ultimate online protection? Look no further – Tor is easily the most secure browser you can get. Designed specifically for security and anonymity, it offers users a safe browsing experience free of tracking, surveillance, or censorship.
Tor completely hides your IP address so nobody can track your online activity, including your ISP. It’s also open-source, meaning anyone can inspect Tor’s code. This kind of transparency is hard to come by.
Tor allows you to access web pages that don’t get indexed by engines like Google or Bing. This is why many users rely on Tor to surf the Deep Web. It’s also why Tor doesn’t have a shiny reputation, as it’s synonymous with browsing the Dark Web.
As for the downsides, speed is definitely a notable one. All of its security layers result in Tor’s lower-than-average browser speed. Its interface could also use a refresh, as it hasn’t received an update in quite a while.
Brave Browser is another privacy-focused option. Although not as capable as Tor, Brave is a clean, user-friendly browser that has gained quite a bit of traction in the last few years.
It has just about all of the features you expect from a solid browser. It offers multi-platform support, incognito mode, tab group management, and other practical features.
What makes Brave truly stand out is its rewards program. Yes, Brave pays users just for browsing the web. More specifically, users receive rewards for watching Brave Ads. They get rewards in the form of cryptocurrency called Basic Attention Token (BAT).
Now, there is a caveat – as of this writing, you can’t exchange BATs for cash or withdraw them. Rather, you can only use them for certain online purchases or services.
The only other notable pitfall is Brave’s lack of extensions. There aren’t many of them, so there’s only so much you can do to increase the browser’s functionality.
Avast Secure Browser
Avast Secure Browser comes with quite a few features that prevent third parties from tracking your online activity. It’s an excellent browser if you don’t want businesses and other organizations to collect your data.
Avast Secure Browser has a built-in ad blocker that prevents advertisers from using your data to target you. It also comes with anti-phishing features and the Extension Guard, which blocks malicious extensions and downloads.
Speaking of extensions, Avast Secure Browser comes with a large library of its own. It also supports Chrome extensions, so expanding its functionality shouldn’t be a problem.
The main issue with the browser is that it requires you to pay for certain security features. If you want to use the free version, you’ll encounter some limitations.
Plus, there aren’t many personalization options, which many users consider a significant downside.
How to Determine Browser Speed
Now that you’ve seen the internet’s fastest web browsers and a few runner-ups, you’re probably interested in the methodology behind the rankings. You may want to assess the speed of a few options to find the fastest browser.
If so, here are the best tools to check a web browser’s speed.
Speedometer 2.0 is a benchmark that measures browser performance. More specifically, it measures the responsiveness of web apps, which is a key determinant of a browser’s performance.
This tool is often used to measure the speed of the most popular web browsers. It was taken into consideration in this list as well. But of course, it’s not the only one, as you need several benchmarks to draw the final conclusion.
The design of a web page plays a crucial role in the overall browsing experience. However, visual appeal won’t matter much if your browser can’t load all of the website’s graphics properly.
To assess a browser’s performance when it comes to graphics, tech experts often use MotionMark. It measures the ability to load and animate complicated scenes and graphic elements at a set frame rate.
You can run MotionMark on many different platforms, so you can check a browser’s ability to load graphics on both desktop and mobile devices.
It’s similar to Speedometer 2.0 in this regard, so the two are often used together. There’s usually not much discrepancy between the two tools regarding the results. You can use one to confirm the other’s findings and decide on the fastest browser more confidently.
Measuring a Browser’s Speed – What to Consider
Now that you have all the right tools, all you have to do is run them and you’ll see what the fastest browser is in no time, right?
There are a few things to remember before running any speed tests.
First, you need to install a fresh version of a browser to get its true speed. This means no outdated versions, and no extension that would distort the picture of a browser’s objective performance.
You also need to close all other running apps and processes. As mentioned, many browsers use a significant chunk of RAM, so running other programs might not allow the browser to use all the memory it needs.
When you run a speed test, don’t always trust the first result you get. Try to run it at least two to three times, and then calculate the average. By doing so, you’ll ensure that the result wasn’t skewed by a temporary bug.
Finally, remember that your browser’s speed largely depends on your internet connection speed. It’s hard to separate the two, so if your browser is underperforming, the real reason might be a throttled or unstable internet connection.
You can test your internet connection through online speed tests. If the results show your connection is slow, a browser won’t help much, regardless of its speed.
What to Look For in the Best Web Browser
Even though speed is often the most important factor to consider when comparing web browsers, it’s not the only one. You should take into account a few other features to get the big picture of a browser’s performance.
Here are the main ones.
Security and Privacy
In the online world, a solid private browser is a must. Many organizations and businesses track users online – and let’s not even mention hackers who take every opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities.
There’s often a trade-off between security and speed in web browsers. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a secure browser that will let you perform all your actions quickly enough. Brave browser is a great example, so you can go with that one if you want to strike a balance.
Availability of Extensions
Extensions can make a world of difference to a browser’s usability. They allow you to perform all kinds of actions without leaving the browser. They can also offer additional layers of security.
The more extensions a browser has, the better. The Chrome web store, for example, has many extensions to choose from, allowing you to customize the Chrome browser to your liking. It offers the most extensions by far, which is what makes Chrome such a popular web browser.
If a browser doesn’t have many native extensions, it should add least support the Chrome ones. This way, you can take full advantage of your browser’s built-in features without sacrificing the extras.
User Experience and Navigation
You shouldn’t have to think too hard while navigating web browsers. Most of them feature an interface that doesn’t require you to.
Humans are visual beings, so nice browser aesthetics definitively contribute to the overall user experience. The good thing is that many browsers let you change their look to fit your taste.
Of course, form should never be placed before function. Internet Explorer was a great example of a clean and user-friendly browser that most people didn’t prefer due to its slowness and bugs. Microsoft realized this, so they doubled down on their efforts to make it better, which resulted in Microsoft Edge.
Again, it all comes down to balance, so make sure your web browser can ensure it.
How many bookmarks do you have on your browser? The answer’s probably a lot if you’re an average user. You surely want to keep them neatly organized so you don’t have to sift through a bunch of icons to find the right one.
Similarly, you want all the tools you use to be in the right place. You should be able to access them on autopilot instead of intentionally looking for them.
To make this happen, you need a browser with comprehensive customization options.
As you use your device, the number of things you want it to remember constantly grows. You shouldn’t have dozens of browser tabs open at all times to access the information you frequently look for. The preferred option is for your browser to be able to sync your data and keep it stored.
Without this, you’ll have to enter your login credentials every time you want to access a platform and, say, check your social media, which is far from convenient.
Synchronization is an area where Apple is by far the most dominant player. Safari can sync between all your Apple devices, keeping all of their data in one place. If your device supports biometric authentication, you can access all the important apps and websites with just your fingerprint or face.
Building on the above, an ideal web browser would be platform-agnostic. While surfing the web, you should be able to seamlessly transition between different devices. For this to happen, you need a cross-platform web browser.
Unless you have Apple’s entire tech ecosystem, Safari is an example of a browser that can’t make this happen. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are far better options in this regard.
Internet Standard Compatibility
To browse the web without constraints, you need a browser that supports all the necessary internet standards. Otherwise, you might not be able to access web apps or certain services.
Every good browser is compatible with standards like WebGL and HTML 5. If you’re unsure whether your browser is as well, you can use online tests to determine compatibility.
Bloatware is any software that comes preinstalled with a program you don’t need. It just sits there, slowing the program down and preventing you from using it to the fullest.
Browser bloatware can seriously affect your ability to surf the web swiftly. Your web browser might take too long to load pages, or even start.
Microsoft Edge is infamous for containing features edging on being bloatware. While some users may benefit from, say, Skype Meet Now integration, many people won’t use it even once.
Choose a web browser with little to no bloatware to avoid unnecessary snags while browsing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a difference between a web browser and an internet browser?
“Internet browser” is a misnomer. The word “internet” refers to the hardware necessary for the World Wide Web (software) to run. So you’re not browsing the internet, but the Web, which means that “web browser” is the correct term.
How can I boost a browser's speed?
If you’ve noticed that your browser isn’t working as quickly as it used to, you might have to clean it up a bit. Remove cache, browsing history, and other data you might not need and that could be the reason for the lag. If that doesn’t help, consider reinstalling the browser or switching to another one.
How can I get the most out of a browser?
To use your browser’s features to the fullest, customize it to your main needs. If you’re using it for work, place all the necessary tools and bookmarks in the right place so you can be more productive. You can also install different extensions that will make your work easier.
Author: Tibor Moes
Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab
Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.
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