If you’re using Internet Explorer or Safari (and, statistically, many of you are), you need to get a better web browser. Here’s how to try either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome on for size.
What’s a browser, and why should I change mine?
The internet is a great, powerful tool. People all over the world access the internet to do all sorts of useful and fun things. You’re using it right now to read this blog post. But have you ever thought about how you get on the internet? In order to access anything on the web, you must have what’s called an internet browser. A browser is a program that lets you connect to the web. Lots of complicated stuff happens when you use an internet browser, but what you need to know is that it’s necessary for internet access.
There are many different web browsers, built for different people with different needs. The built-in browser for Windows is Internet Explorer. If you use Windows, you might double-click on a little “e” icon to get on the internet. That’s Internet Explorer. For people with MacBooks, iMacs, etc. running Apple’s OSX, the default browser is Safari. Safari’s icon is a compass. While these default browsers are more or less okay, there are two in particular that are much better. Firefox and Chrome, created by Mozilla and Google respectively, are the leading web browsers out there today. Both of these browsers are faster than either Internet Explorer or Safari, and they also can display more content. The default browsers sometimes can’t show you everything on a web page, which means you miss out on some videos, sounds, and even certain images. They also generally have more security flaws that get exploited, while Firefox and Chrome are more secure (and support even more security features, but we can cover those later). As a bonus, Firefox is completely and Chrome is mostly Free and Open Source Software (more on that at another time).
Clearly, it is a better idea to ditch the browser that came with your computer in favor of a better one. But which one should you install? I will show you how to install both of them, but there are more things you can do with Firefox that will be covered here. I personally prefer Firefox because it supports many more add-ons for greater customization, performance, and security, although Chrome is still an excellent choice over your system’s default.
How do I install Firefox?
So, let’s get to the installation. I’ll start with how to install Mozilla Firefox.
First off, when installing any program it is important to check the system requirements. If your computer doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, the program might not run correctly or at all. Firefox’s requirements are very lenient. The full list of requirements can be found by clicking here, but the main part is your operating system. Firefox supports Windows XP (if it’s completely updated), Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 from Microsoft, and Mac OSX 10.6 through 10.9 from Apple. If you have an older operating system, consider upgrading. Most programs created today do not support any Windows system before Windows XP, and many only support Vista and later.
If you’re concerned about your hardware meeting the minimum requirements, don’t be. Unless your computer is very, very old, you will have what you need to run Firefox. If you’re still concerned (or Firefox doesn’t work), you might want to download Speccy to see what hardware you have.
To download Firefox, go to this website, find your language of choice, and select the download that corresponds to your operating system. If you have Windows, click the first download link from the left. For OSX, click the second from the left. Your file will begin downloading.
If the installer starts running, just give it the permissions it requests. If it only downloads, go to your downloads folder (on Windows this is the folder on the left side of the file explorer named “Downloads”) and double-click on the “Firefox Setup” file. Then click “Run” or “Allow” or whatever other allowing option appears.
Next, Firefox will guide you through the installation process. It is simple and easy as long as you read and follow the directions. If you want more information or are stuck, visit the Firefox support site. It has solutions to almost all issues with installing Firefox.
What about installing Chrome?
Now let’s see how to install Google Chrome.
Again we start by checking the system requirements. Chrome supports the same operating systems that Firefox does (up-to-date Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac OSX 10.6 or higher). Again, unless you’re trying to install Chrome on your fax machine, you probably don’t have to worry too much about the hardware requirements. The full list of requirements can be found here.
To download Chrome on Windows, click the download button on this page. If you’re on OSX, use this page. You will need to follow the same steps as for Firefox above (run the installer if it doesn’t run by default, allow it to run, and follow the instructions). For additional help, visit Chrome’s support site.
Congratulations! You are now running a fast, modern browser. Double-click the orange fox to access Firefox or the multicolored ball to run Chrome.
Tip of the Week: For best results, update everything.