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The Best Web Browsers of 2024

We tested the most popular web browsers to see which is the fastest and best.

  • Best overall
    Google Chrome
    Google Chrome
    • Free
    • Works natively with Google services
    • Syncs across multiple devices
    • Outperforms the competition in speed
  • Best for security
    Mozilla Firefox
    • Free
    • Blocks cryptominers
    • Prevents fingerprinting
    • Stores passwords locally
  • Best for customization
    Vivaldi
    • Free
    • Provides high customization
    • Protects against phishing
    • Syncs data between devices

Our pick: Which web browser is best?

Google Chrome is our pick for the most well-rounded web browser you can get. It’s fast and synchronizes across every device you use. You can perform a search within the address bar, group your browser tabs, and more. Want to go dark? Chrome supports themes too.

We spent many hours comparing the best web browsers in terms of speed using a handful of tests on Windows and Mac. We provide the results in our Methodology section to show which is the fastest web browser on your favorite desktop platform.

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The 6 best web browsers

Compare web browser features

BrowserAvailabilityBest featuresGet it
Best overallGoogle Chrome
  • Desktop
  • Mobile
  • Supports Google services
  • Outperforms the competition
  • Get Google Chrome
    Best for securityMozilla Firefox
  • Desktop
  • Mobile
  • Prevents tracking
  • Blocks cryptominers
  • Get Mozilla Firefox
    Best for customizationVivaldi
  • Desktop
  • Android
  • Provides high customization
  • Protects against phishing
  • Get Vivaldi
    Best for social mediaOpera
  • Desktop
  • Mobile
  • Includes a built-in VPN
  • Provides built-in social apps
  • Get Opera
    Best for MacApple Safari
  • Desktop
  • Mobile
  • Supports extensions
  • Offers the best speeds
  • Included on Apple devices
    Best for WindowsMicrosoft Edge
  • Desktop
  • Mobile
  • Installs web apps
  • Competes with Chrome in speed
  • Get Microsoft Edge

    What should you look for in a web browser?

    The best web browser should be fast and clean to give you the best browsing experience. You don’t want excessive bloat that can bog down your device and cause web pages to load at a dial-up pace.

    And while speed is great, security should be a priority too. Internet browsers should protect you from trackers, hackers, and pesky internet eavesdroppers.

    Ultimately, a browser should be your interactive window looking out into the World Wide Web—a picture frame that should never distract you from the view at hand.

    Get the best router to complement your fast browser

    We tested and reviewed more routers than we can count to determine the best of the best you can get. Go with the TP-Link Archer AX11000 if you want a lot of bang for your buck, or choose the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 if you want lots of features at a higher price. The NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 is the fastest router we’ve tested to date, but it ain’t cheap.

    Best overall—Google Chrome

    Best overall
    Google Chrome

    Free

    Features

    • Supports Google services
    • Includes tab group management
    • Outperforms other browsers in tests

    Availability

    Base code

    • Chromium

    Data this browser collects from you

    • User ID
    • Device ID
    • Location
    • Audio data

    And more (see App Privacy)

     

    Google Chrome is the fastest web browser you can get on a Windows machine. It surpasses the competition in three out of four tests, outranking even Microsoft Edge in all but one test.

    On Apple Mac, Chrome is a heavy hitter in performance, outranking Safari in two out of four tests. It’s a good alternative to Safari, but Chrome’s data collection issues are a little disconcerting. If you’re worried about how Google uses your data, Safari or Microsoft Edge may be your better alternative.

    Still, despite privacy concerns, Chrome is a great browser overall if you use Google’s services. It’s probably the ideal default browser if you shift between Windows, Android, and Apple devices.

    Bottom line: Chrome is the fastest and best web browser on Microsoft Windows and an excellent alternative to Safari on a Mac in terms of speed. However, you agree to Google’s excessive data collection in exchange for speed and convenience.

    Pros:

    • Supports a huge extensions library
    • Syncs across devices

    Cons:

    • Collects lots of data
    • Uses lots of memory

    Best for security—Mozilla Firefox

    Best for security

    Free

    Features

    • Blocks cryptominers
    • Prevents fingerprinting
    • Stores passwords locally
    • Ranks the lowest for speed in tests

    Availability

    Base code

    • Quantum

    Data this browser collects from you

    • Contact info
    • User ID
    • Device ID

    Mozilla’s Firefox browser isn’t known for speed. It falls into last place in most of our tests for Windows and Mac, and that’s okay. Firefox is more about security features than speed, which is ideal if you’re more concerned about blocking malware than loading pages in a flash.

    Firefox received a facelift in 2021. Mozilla redesigned the tabs, prompts, menus, and overall look, giving Firefox a new modern interface. Under the hood, Firefox strives to keep you safe online with tools like DNS-over-HTTPS, which encrypts browser requests versus sending the information in plaintext.

    Bottom line: If you want the best internet browser that puts security first, not data collection, then Firefox is your best bet. However, it’s not the fastest browser available.

    Want to improve your home network’s security?

    Be sure to check out our list of the best routers for security. We also offer a guide on how to keep your router secure if you don’t need a new one.

    Pros:

    • Protects against spyware
    • Blocks almost all pop-ups

    Cons:

    • Consumes high memory
    • Falls behind other browsers in speed

    Best for customization—Vivaldi

    Best for customization

    Free

    Features

    • Provides high customization
    • Protects against phishing
    • Syncs data between devices

    Availability

    • Desktop: Windows, Mac, Linux
    • Mobile: Android

    Base code

    • Chromium

    Data this browser collects from you

    • User ID
    • Device ID

    Vivaldi breathes new life into the tired, repetitive web browser design. Here you can customize the start page, create and use a custom theme, customize and move the menu, customize the toolbar, and so on. You can also assign browser commands to keyboard shortcuts, map commands to gestures, and assign quick commands to the Function keys.

    In terms of speed, the Vivaldi browser isn’t the fastest on the planet—at least, not yet. It’s the youngest in the batch, so there’s room for improvement. It ranks fourth in all four tests we run on Windows, while its performance jumps between third and last in the same tests on Mac.

    That said, Vivaldi is an excellent middle-ground browser in terms of performance.

    Bottom line: Vivaldi is great for customizing your browsing experience, but it doesn’t match the speed of Chrome or Safari.

    Pros:

    • Offers plenty of customization
    • Syncs data across devices

    Cons:

    • Lacks iPhone, iPad versions
    • Consumes high memory

    Best for social media—Opera

    Best for social media
    Opera browser logo

    Free

    Features

    • Includes a built-in VPN client
    • Includes social tools
    • Verifies all websites

    Availability

    Base code

    • Chromium

    Data this browser collects from you

    • Device ID
    • Location
    • Diagnostics

    The Opera browser is great if you want built-in social network tools. The sidebar includes shortcuts to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, and three others you can pin to the browser window. 

    Opera also supports two VPN services: Free VPN and VPN Pro. The “pro” version costs $7.99 per month and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. We show the differences between the two services in our FAQ.

    As for performance, Opera holds its place as the third-fastest browser in our tests for Windows, falling behind Chrome and Microsoft Edge. It has a similar performance level on our MacBook, falling behind Safari, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge in our four tests. Opera has a “battery saver” mode that reduces background activity and pauses animations, but we verified it was disabled before running our tests.

    Bottom line: Opera is a good web browser if you want a built-in VPN client and social tools. It provides middle-ground performance in terms of speed.

    Pros:

    • Includes a built-in VPN client
    • Includes built-in social tools

    Cons:

    • Loads some websites incorrectly
    • Updates less frequently than Chrome

    Best for Mac—Apple Safari

    Best for Mac
    Apple Safari logo

    Free

    Features

    • Provides a clean privacy report
    • Supports extensions
    • Displays tab previews
    • Competes with Chrome  in speed on Mac

    Availability

    • Desktop: Mac
    • Mobile: iPhone, iPad

    Base code

    • Nitro, WebKit

    Data this browser collects from you

    • Device ID
    • User ID
    • Diagnostics

    Safari is an excellent example of how Apple optimizes its software for Macs. It’s fast, simply designed, and somewhat customizable. It supports Chrome extensions, tab previews for power users, and easy translations using the menu bar. And while we will always recommend Firefox as the best browser for security, Safari’s privacy report panel lists every website that tracks you across the internet.

    The drawback with Safari is that you can’t get it on anything but Apple devices. That means we could measure its performance only on our MacBook, so there are no numbers for Windows-based PCs. That said, Safari and Chrome duke it out for the fastest browser, both taking the top spots in two out of four tests. If you want speed, either browser will do.

    Bottom line: Safari is the best browser for Macs, hands down. Stick with Safari if you also have an iPhone or iPad. However, if you use other platforms like Windows and Android, Chrome is the better multiplatform solution—if you can ignore Chrome’s data collection woes.

    Pros:

    • Runs superfast on Macs
    • Uses low memory

    Cons:

    • Isn’t available outside Apple’s ecosystem
    • Has a limited extensions library

    Best for Windows—Microsoft Edge

    Best for Windows

    Free

    Features

    • Stacks tabs vertically
    • Groups websites into Collections
    • Supports Dolby Audio and 4K
    • Competes with Chrome in speed on Windows

    Availability

    Base code

    • Chromium

    Data this browser collects from you

    • Device ID
    • Browsing history
    • Diagnostics

    The original Edge browser was a clunky mess despite Microsoft’s good intentions. It used the company’s in-house EdgeHTML engine and really couldn’t compete with Chrome. Microsoft scrapped its proprietary engine in early 2020 and chose Chromium instead, the browser foundation used in Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and more.

    Now Microsoft Edge is highly competitive in terms of speed. On Windows, it gives Chrome a run for its money, falling just a hair behind Google’s browser in three of four of our tests. On our MacBook, Chrome and Microsoft Edge are nearly identical in performance, both falling behind Safari.

    Bottom line: Microsoft Edge is a great native browser for Microsoft Windows and a good alternative to Safari on a Mac if you need a browser that runs outside Apple’s ecosystem.

    Pros:

    • Synchronizes across devices
    • Includes a PDF viewer

    Cons:

    • Lacks a version for Linux
    • Collects your browser history

    Are you troubleshooting speed issues?

    If you have connection problems and slow speeds, your web browser may not be the issue. We provide several guides to help you get back up to speed.

    Which web browsers are the fastest?

    To determine the fastest browser on our list, we ran four different tests three times per browser, determined the average, and compared the results.

    On Windows, Chrome tested as the fastest browser, followed by Microsoft Edge.

    On Mac, Safari and Chrome shared the top spot as the fastest browser, followed by Microsoft Edge.

    In all tests, Firefox was the slowest browser on our list.

    See the complete test results in the Methodology section.

    RankWindowsmacOS
    1stChromeSafari/Chrome
    2ndMicrosoft EdgeMicrosoft Edge
    3rdOperaOpera
    4thVivaldiVivaldi
    5thFirefoxFirefox

    Browser specs and features

    A web browser is software that downloads data from a remote server and pieces it all together on your screen. It’s your interactive window to the World Wide Web, a view that exists only when you open a tab and enter an address. All browsers provide this basic function, but there are five elements you should keep in mind while considering your browser options.

    Speed

    You want a browser that loads pages quickly and can run in-browser apps without slowing you down. A browser should have a relatively small footprint in your system memory, so it doesn’t affect the performance of your other programs and apps while you surf the internet.

    Security and privacy

    A browser should make secure connections to websites. They should also provide means to block malicious advertisements, cross-site trackers, cryptominers, and fingerprinters. Users should have tools to block and delete cookies, secure their passwords, and use the browser without worrying about how it collects their data.

    Learn more about the best internet browsers for security.

    Customization

    While you don’t want your window to the internet framed with a clunky interface, it’s a nice bonus to add a personal touch. Most of the browsers on our list provide means for customization.

    For example, you can apply a theme in Chrome obtained from the Chrome Web Store. You can create themes in Vivaldi, reposition the menu, or create your own menu.

    Compatibility

    The best browser should be compatible with the latest internet standards, like HTML5 and WebGL. A good way to benchmark a browser’s compatibility is to use the HTML5 Test website or AnTuTu’s HTML5 Test online utility. Plus, you don’t want to install a browser that can’t access all the modern functions of a website, like web apps.

    Easy navigation

    While customization is great, you want a browser that’s easy to use. Most browsers we list here are just that, with the address bar headlining your window to the internet. Menus should be tucked away and easily accessible. Settings should be just a click away, and bookmarks should be easy to save and load.

    Our verdict: Google Chrome is the best web browser

    Google Chrome is fast and available on nearly every platform. It’s our top pick in speed, as it goes head-to-head with Safari on our MacBook and Microsoft Edge on Windows. It’s also a firm alternative if you don’t want to use those native browsers.

    But Microsoft Edge is an excellent third-place browser that’s accessible on nearly all platforms. It’s almost as fast as Chrome and Safari and includes a few standout features you can’t get with most browsers, like 4K Netflix streaming.

    However, if you want the most secure browser on the planet, Firefox is the way to go, although it’s the slowest browser on our list.

    Methodology

    To determine a browser’s speed, we did the following:

    • Installed a clean, current copy without any plugins or extensions
    • Closed all open programs and unnecessary processes
    • Ran four different tests three times
    • Calculated the average

    To test Microsoft Edge and Safari on their native platforms, we ran browser benchmarks on a Windows laptop and a MacBook. We plugged both in for maximum power performance.

    Microsoft Windows

    We use a Lenovo ThinkPad with Intel’s Core i7-10850H 6-core processor, 16GB of system memory, and a 500GB SSD for these tests.

    Chrome is our biggest performer, taking the top spot in three out of four tests. Microsoft Edge always comes in at a close second, save for one test where it switches seats with Chrome. Firefox is our lowest performer of the browser batch.

    JetStream 2

    This test measures how fast a browser loads data and how quickly it executes code—higher numbers are better.

    Firefox Vivaldi Opera Edge Chrome
    101 152 155 163 168

    Speedometer

    This test measures the responsiveness of web applications by simulating user input.

    Firefox Vivaldi Opera Edge Chrome
    118 123 127 158 169

    Basemark Web 3.0

    This tool performs 20 tests—map scaling, drawing, and so on—in one sitting. It’s also popular for testing a laptop’s battery life, as it loops through all tests until the battery dies.

    Firefox Vivaldi Opera Chrome Edge
    689 737 771 924 929

    MotionMark 1.2

    This test benchmarks the browser’s capability to render and animate complex scenes within a set frame rate.

    Firefox Vivaldi Opera Edge Chrome
    541 566 581 745 761

    Apple macOS

    We use a 2018 MacBook Air (A1392) with Intel’s Core i5-8210Y 2-core CPU, 8GB of system memory, and a 128GB SSD for these tests. There’s a huge processor difference between this machine and the Lenovo notebook, so we rerun the benchmarks to compare Safari against the competition on the same Core i5 CPU.

    Overall, Safari and Chrome go head to head for the fastest browser. Safari grabs the top spot in two tests, while Chrome dominates in the other two. Microsoft Edge is the best alternative to Safari and Chrome, while Firefox has the lowest performance of the six.

    JetStream 2

    This test measures how fast a browser loads data and how quickly it executes code—higher numbers are better.

    Firefox Vivaldi Opera Edge Chrome Safari
    60 85 88 89 89 105

    Speedometer

    This test measures the responsiveness of web applications by simulating user input.

    Firefox Opera Vivaldi Edge Safari Chrome
    64 71 71 82 82 83

    Basemark Web 3.0

    This tool performs 20 tests—map scaling, drawing, and so on—in one sitting.

    Firefox Safari Vivaldi Opera Edge Chrome
    436 437 441 454 476 476

    MotionMark 1.2

    This test benchmarks the browser’s capability to render and animate complex scenes within a set frame rate.

    Vivaldi Firefox Opera Chrome Edge Safari
    176 219 231 258 264 484

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    FAQ about the best web browsers

    Internet browser vs. web browser: What's the difference?

    Although we tend to use the term, there’s no such thing as an “internet browser.” The internet is a global network of cables, servers, and switches—it’s the hardware needed to deliver information to your eyeballs. A browser is software that accesses software—the World Wide Web in this case.

    In other words, we connect to the internet and use the web. But since “internet” is easier to read and write than “World Wide Web,” we typically stick with the former term.

    What is a virtual private network (VPN)?

    A virtual private network creates a secure, private connection between your device and the destination. It requires software installed on your device that encrypts your data and establishes a direct, encrypted connection to a remote VPN server. The server then decrypts your data and sends it as plaintext to the destination.

    Overall, a VPN prevents the destination from seeing your geological location, IP address, and operating system.

    Want to see how a VPN affects your speed?

    Run our internet speed test with a VPN enabled. After that, rerun the test with the VPN disabled and then compare the results.

    Run a Speed Test

    What is a Device ID?

    A Device Identifier (ID) is a unique string of numbers derived from other hardware-identifying numbers stored on your device. Browsers use this information to identify your device.

    What is a User ID?

    A User Identifier (User ID) is a unique profile created by the browser and stored locally as a cookie. This profile includes information such as your processor, storage, screen resolution, and operating system.

    What is Chromium?

    Chromium is Google’s free, open-source code provided to all internet browser developers. These developers can compile Google’s code with proprietary components and unique designs (Microsoft Edge) or compile the code “as is” (Chromium).

    What is HTML5?

    HTML5 is the fifth generation of HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the programming language that creates websites you see in your browser. There are three components in HTML5: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that dictate how web page elements are displayed, JavaScript that executes interactive components, and HTML code that brings it all together.

    HTML5 eliminates the need for browser plugins, like Adobe Flash, Silverlight, and Java.

    What is WebGL?

    Web Graphics Library (or WebGL) is an application programming interface (API) that allows a browser to render 2D and 3D graphics. These elements are written in JavaScript and OpenGL ES for the web and are executed on your device’s graphics cores, not your processor. WebGL eliminates the need for a browser plugin, eliminating security risks and providing better animation.

    To see WebGL in action, visit the Get WebGL website to view a cube rotating in your browser without any additional software.

    What is HTTPS?

    Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (or HTTPS) is a secure version of the application layer protocol used to deliver HTML files, video, and more across the internet. 

    In a nutshell, the browser (client) sends a request to the server hosting a website. In turn, the server sends the appropriate files to your device that are pieced together within your browser. These files reside on your device as cache.

    Browsers and servers that support HTTPS communicate using the Transport Layer Security cryptographic protocol to encrypt the connection between the website and the browser, not the actual data. This encrypted connection prevents eavesdroppers from obtaining your data but only while it’s en route.

    What is DNS-over-HTTPS?

    DNS-over-HTTPS is a means of sending a browser query over a secure connection.

    Short for Domain Name System, DNS essentially translates alphabetic URLs into proper numeric ones. For instance, when you type “google.com” into your address bar, a DNS service consults its address book and sees that the numerical address is 172.217.2.110. It then sends your browser request accordingly.

    Typically this request speeds along the internet highways as plaintext. A secure connection doesn’t happen until the website responds to your browser—a handshake, if you will. With DNS-over-HTTPS, a compatible browser sends your query to a compatible DNS server using an encrypted connection. This connection prevents eavesdroppers from viewing your browsing habits.

    Free VPN vs. VPN Pro: What’s the difference?

    Opera Software launched VPN Pro in May 2022. In a nutshell, with VPN Pro, you get full device-wide coverage on six devices, a network with 3,000+ servers, 30+ unique locations, two-factor authentication, and live chat support. Here’s a chart showing what you get with both services:

      Free VPN VPN Pro
    Cost Free $7.99/mo.
    Integrated client
    Protection Opera browser only Entire device coverage (up to 6)
    No-log service
    Desktop and mobile
    No data cap
    Unlimited bandwidth
    Data encryption
    DNS leak protection
    Locations 3 (general) 30+ (unique)
    Network server count 100+ 3,000+
    Two-factor authentication
    Live chat support

    Does Incognito Mode hide you from Google and other services?

    No, Chrome’s Incognito Mode feature doesn’t completely protect you. It’s only meant to hide your activities from other people using the same device and browser. Google even confirmed in a court filing in March 2021 that users are not “invisible” when they open an Incognito Mode window. The company said user activity might be visible to websites and third-party analytics and ads.

    What happened to Safari for Windows?

    Safari 5.1.7 was the last version released on Windows. While you can find links to download the browser, Apple discontinued Windows support in 2012. We do not recommend this browser for Windows users due to the lack of updates and customer support.

    What happened to Internet Explorer?

    Microsoft retired Internet Explorer on June 15, 2022, but it still lives on in Microsoft Edge as IE Mode. To enable it for legacy websites, click the Settings and more button in the top right corner of Microsoft Edge, followed by Settings > Default browser > Allow sites to be reloaded in Internet Explorer mode. Select Allow on the drop-down menu to enable IE Mode.

    Disclaimer

    Amazon.com Prices as of 12/19/23 9:35 MST. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Highspeedinternet.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

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    Author -

    Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on network equipment testing and review.

    Editor - Cara Haynes

    Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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