Macspiration 19 – The Download Drawer 3 – Web Browsers Aplenty

If you are like many Mac users, you use Apple’s Safari for surfing the internet. You might even be one of those people who still use the now no longer supported or updated Internet Explorer (IE) for the Mac. Did you know there are many other web browser options out there? I’m going to discuss three free options in this article.

First, before I continue, a word of wisdom. If you are using IE, I highly recommend switching to Safari or one of the browsers mentioned below. IE for the Mac has not been updated in a long time (and won’t be), and many websites use technology not supported in IE. Plus, Safari and these other browsers are much faster and technology like tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking are non-existent in IE.

One of the most popular web browsers out there today is Firefox.

Firefox is a great web browser and part of the family of applications based on an all-in-one chat/browser/email program called Mozilla. Besides being fast, Firefox has many customizable features. This includes changing the look of Firefox through themes. Don’t like the default look of Firefox, download one of hundreds of themes available.

However, probably the most poplar feature of Firefox, is the ability to install extensions. Like themes, there are hundreds of extensions available for download. One of my favorites is the ability to remove Flash ads that bombard some websites and slow the page down.

Like Safari, Firefox has a search pane to quickly search Google. However, you can also customize that and have any number of sites to search without actually surfing to that site.

I could write a whole article on Firefox alone, but I’m going to stop here. Download it and experiment with the different features and see for yourself.

Another Mozilla based browser, and my browser of choice, is Camino.

Camino is a fast, slimmed down version of Firefox. It is OS X only, and still in beta (although a preview of version 1 is available to download and use). Camino has many features of Firefox, but not all of the customizable features. I personally think it is faster, and I like not having all the bells and whistles.

Finally, a third browser option, which just recently became free is Opera. (Actually, there was a free ad-based version, but now the free version is ad-free.)

Opera is very similar to Firefox, in that it is very customizable. In some cases I have found Opera to be faster than the Mozilla based browsers at loading web pages. While I prefer Camino, Opera is on my hard drive for one reason. Certain websites only work properly in Internet Explorer. Safari, Camino, Firefox, etc have issues loading these sites. However, it has been my experience that Opera is better at disguising itself as Internet Explorer and is successful in loading these sites. I particularly find this true at work. Where Camino may take forever to load a page, Opera has no problem with it. I don’t know why this happens, but it just does.

So there you go. Three FREE web browser alternatives to Safari. Keep in mind there are others out there also. Search for web browser and you’ll find iCab, Shira, Flock, and maybe others. Most of them are free, so download and experiment until you find the browser that works best for you.


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