Internet Explorer, which has by far and away the largest percentage of users, comes with Windows. Internet Explorer or as it is known as IE, is a target for spyware, virus and other security issues due to it's popularity. Microsoft introduced Internet Explorer 6 in 2001. The rumors are that Microsoft didn't plan to go any further until Firefox started making inroads on IE 6 popularity. Please note; Internet Explorer 6 is no longer supported and is very unsafe. If you are using IE 6, upgrade immediately!
Netscape, (now part of AOL) was at one time the main browser until Microsoft included Internet Explorer 4 in Windows 95. Netscape still has a loyal following and was a favorite of many businesses. Netscape had it's share of security issues as well, but not to the same extent as IE. Netscape came with an email program, Netscape mail. Netscape is free. Official support for all Netscape client products ended on February 1,2008, see the announcement.
Mozilla and Firefox browsers have become extremely popular. One reason for the growth in popularity is the fact that if you are using Mozilla or Firefox, you probably won't get unwelcome drive-by spyware! Since they are gaining in popularity, it probably won't be long before they become targets for security issues, but the open source community that develops Mozilla and Firefox is quick to plug any security issues as soon as they are discovered.
These browsers have a feature called tabbed browsing, and once used, it is hard to imagine using a browser without this feature. Some other browsers also have this feature, in fact nearly all of them except earlier versions of Internet Explorer have tabbed browsing. The newest version, Internet Explorer 8, does have tabbed browsing. Mozilla/Firefox are open source and free. Firefox is Mozilla's award-winning next generation web browser. Firefox is my choice of browsers. There are a lot of other plus features for Firefox, it has a light footprint and if you are missing any of the features you liked in IE, chances are there is an extension to provide that feature. Extensions are small add-ons that add new functionality to Firefox. The Mozilla suite includes Thunderbird, an email program. Mozilla is more like Netscape in appearance, while Firefox looks more like Internet Explorer. Both have ad and popup blocking.
Opera is another popular browser. From the site:
Opera includes pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, integrated searches, and advanced functions like Opera's groundbreaking E-mail program, RSS Newsfeeds and IRC chat.
Chrome is becoming more popular and many folks have made it their default browser. Chrome is Google's browser.
Then there is AOL. Some people, including me, think AOL is not much better than a virus you willingly install on your computer, but hey, if it works for you and you like it, then that is what counts. Something for AOL users (since I don't use AOL, I can't personally vouch for this program.)
Off By One
This little browser can come in handy as it fits on a floppy. It is not dependent on any other browser's components. It can be used it in a pinch if IE is corrupted and no other browser is installed.
Every browser has it's share of devoted users that would not dream of changing to another browser. For a very long time, Internet Explorer was my browser of choice. But too many security issues that Microsoft was slow to patch and the terrible onslaught of spyware that takes advantage of IE users caused me to take a second look at Mozilla and a trial of Firefox convinced me to change. Firefox has a problem that is apparently not recognized by the developers, but many users have experienced this issue.
Firefox is not the only browser with the 'can't find the server' issue. Google's Chrome also has the same issue now and then.