Other than Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera there are other web browsers that deliver a solid user experience, such as Avant and Maxthon. However these have no real benefits anymore coming as they do with few additional facilities over and above the big three. Besides, as with other web browsers, Avant and Maxthon suffer from using IE based code which compromises their security in the same way IE has been plagued.
Any such applications based on the IE coding map are compromised when it comes to the tightest levels of security and cannot be relied upon to give total user confidence during web browsing activities.
Then there is K-Meleon, a stripped down version of Firefox, open source and optimized for a Windows platform. Being such a ‘Lite’ application it delivers the fastest program launch and page retrieval speed that is on a par with Opera. However it has minimal add-ons making it a ‘sit-and-go’ application with no real customizability and limited security features.
Which takes us back to IE, and its current version 7. As far as progressive developments go IE7 has come a long way. It is increasingly functional and clearly meets the specification requirements of most users. IE7 is also highly intuitive, visually stunning and (surprise surprise!) features many of the fantastic add-ons that other browsers have introduced previously, i.e. tabbed browsing, misc. application links, etc.
What is impossible to deny and what will always detract from IE however is that it has too many security holes, and too many malicious people/programs that want to exploit these gaps in what is still the most popular web browsing application on the planet. It is impossible to trust your browsing integrity using IE7 because it continues to have a lack of security and robustness. Being a Microsoft application it is always going to be ‘out there to be shot at’.
First, the code behind it is so open to exploitation. Second, IE is continuously forced upon users with every PC coming as standard with a Microsoft delivered operating system/bundle of applications. Third, there is a culture of naivety when it comes to Internet security, many PC users being too blasé when it comes to protecting their Internet browsing identity and habits.
Such is this flippancy of end users, monopolizing install strategy of Microsoft and unstable IE coding structure, that it will be virtually impossible to ever lock down IE completely. What is more, as Microsoft isn’t renowned for its responsiveness to issue resolution, security holes are not patched up quickly enough to prevent malicious attacks.
In all, for a complete web browsing package with a fantastic user interface, great customization and complete security my advice would be to try Mozilla Firefox. And if you don’t require additional whistles and bells, instead are most interested in a basic web browsing experience that is quicker and equally secure, then go with Opera. Either way, you will not be disappointed.