Every year and with every release the question comes up what is the fastest browser on earth? Many websites like Safari or Opera claim this on their home page. However, what is the truth? Everyone has their own opinions and you will see threads of arguments and comparisons and reviews on the web. Also you will see different browsers for different operating systems have different speeds.

  • At this point on my speed tests of just opening pages (nothing objective) Firefox feels that fastest.
  • Firefox has made an effort to increase speed and if you look at browser speed tester (I know it is not the sun spider test etc)  www.speed-battle.com it seems to back this up.
  • There is a derivative of Firefox called Pale moon browser,  this is even faster.

The problem is all the professional testing of speed makes me feel empty. No definite answer on the quickest web browser, just a lot of details on the features and standards and tech jargon, talk about bench marks for browser quickness under different conditions. But what if you’re an average guy running some version of Windows and does not have loads of special needs and you have a reasonable Internet speed and a modern computer, not something from the dark ages like 2001, what is the best browser for speed?

The speed experience

Forget the Sunspider or any other fancy benchmark. Load a heavy page and clock the seconds. This will give you a better indication of load time than anything else. You can run three or for tests.

Clear your cache and try to load large clunky pages like Huffington Post. Pick your favorite three. Time them based on in the lower right hand corner when it stops loading (it says ‘waiting for or looking up or connecting to example.com).

  • Cold start tests are again not as important as most of the day most people are online. It is more about loading a page.
  • Cold restore is just not that important, nor is DOM/CSS.
  • Java Script and Memory usage is important and Firefox wins compared to Opera, Chrome Safari and IE.

Browser speed will depend on:

  1. Browser
  2. Browser version
  3. Configuration, options, preferences
  4. Operating system
  5. Plug-ins
  6. Add ons and tool bars
  7. Skins
  8. Other programs running in the background
  9. Firewalls and Internet connection really does not determine intrinsic speed but rather overall speed.
  10. Download accelerators that are part of the whole experience.

Type of pages you go to:

  1. Imagine rich
  2. Java rich
  3. Text rich
  4. Flash pages

It begs the question, what is speed. Is speed the pieces that load that you want to see or is it when the page stops loading even if they are not relevant parts. The latter I feel Firefox does particularly well.

Therefore, no test will tell you definitively which browser is the fastest as there are too many variables. However, generally Chrome and Firefox in the technical tests are neck and neck but the opening page tests Opera and Firefox seem a little faster. In the old days a few years ago there was a difference. However, at this juncture it is either/or when it comes to noticeable differences.

  •  Text browsers like Dillo of course will be faster but the user experiences is limited.

In the number of speed tests I run I have found a faster experience with Firefox.

I also like Firefox because it is truly free and not tied to a company (even though I respect Google). The plug-ins are richer in FF and the community is more robust.

I have tried most Browsers and tested them on the gamut of different OS. I have a two strong opinions.

  • Although you will not notice any huge difference between the latest and greatest versions of  web browsers as they have all come a long way, one is fastest.  In fact, these tests for me depend on the speed of my Internet that day and exogenous variables from test to test. I tested the browsers and got different speeds so many times that I decided the best way to test it was just see how they feel to me. Come on the differences now are in milliseconds.
  • I have one browser that performs the best for me, and that includes speed.

Here is my ranking of speed tested on my DSL Internet connection. It is a comparison of browsers for speed when you strip off all the plug-ins and add-ons and just run the browser for Google searches.

Fastest browser

  1. Mozilla Firefox – I have  tried to dethrone this but it still is the fastest. Maybe I am emotionally tied to this one but it is fast. Try it yourself.  If I load it with plug-ins and it is a cold start then, it takes more time but Firefox, is the fastest browser. It works best on Linux but on Windows it is still king. It is of course open source free. If you do not use this just try one search and you will see.
  2. Opera – the newest version is fast and free. It is really good. It might be even as fast as Firefox. I have to recheck this again. I would highly recommend a comparison between these two browsers.
  3. Chrome – light weight and uses less resources than even Firefox, somehow I am still on Firefox. I have Google everything already.
  4. Safari – I like it but I think it is best optimized for the Mac and lots of Apple whistles and bells on it.
  5. Internet Explorer – on Windows 7 this runs like the rest of them with the newest release but I am still using Firefox as it seemed faster

There are others like Lunascape (I like the look and speed of this but did not give it enough chance to see if the claims (JavaScript tests) were correct, but on my test Firefox still was faster) and Konquerer (more Linux) that are also good.  Netscape is gone, why do people still talk about it. Therefore, I would give the world’s fastest browser award to Mozilla Firefox, with Opera close behind. I purposely kept this article short as if you are looking for speed, I imagine that you are looking to browse without waiting, you do not want a 3 page article.

I invite you to try this yourself. Try it with your own computer. I use Firefox and in terms of speed there is no comparison. Let me know your thoughts