What’s in a web browser? More than you might think. On the surface, they perform many of the same tasks: rendering HTML, letting you bookmark pages, etc. The differences between them might not be immediately clear. In fact, plenty of people just stick with the default browser that comes with their computer (usually Internet Explorer/Edge for PCs and Safari for Macs) and never consider an alternative.
The reality is that there are some rather important differences between Internet browsers, with some better equipped to smoothly handle certain types of webpages and programs, including many that are used in the business of online auctions. So what about you? Are you using the best browser available for your purposes?
We’ve ranked the top browsers for online auctions from least to most recommended, with the emphasis on which run the quickest and most efficiently with common online auction software. Luckily, all of these options are completely free to download. Let’s take a look.
#5: Internet Explorer
The browser that’s lowest in our ranking might be the one you’re most familiar with. While the once-ubiquitous Internet Explorer has now been replaced on most new Windows machines with Microsoft Edge, plenty of people with PCs more than a couple years old still use it as their default browser. For years it reigned as the go-to browser simply for its automatic inclusion on most new machines, with many people never even considering that there were alternate options.
This has changed in recent years, with major competitors such as Chrome and Firefox taking ever-increasing market shares. And not for no reason. Although it did improve somewhat in later versions, IE was a very security-compromised browser for many years, making users rather vulnerable to malicious viruses that could steal personal data or corrupt machines.
Internet Explorer also has a reputation for failing to adhere to current web standards, making it very difficult for web developers to integrate software smoothly. This is the main problem for auctioneers using IE for online auctions – most of the software you use to conduct your auctions is going to perform less than optimally if you’re using it.
While IE did address some of these problems in its latest releases, it is now considered a discontinued browser, and if you care enough about the issue to be reading this blog, you should probably go ahead and switch to something else. At the very least make sure you’re using the latest version of IE, which can be downloaded here.
What Internet Explorer long was to the world of PCs, so Safari is to Macs and other Apple products. As the default browser for Apple, this is the go-to for iPhone and Mac users, but is almost entirely ignored by PC users (in fact, Apple has quit supporting their Windows version).
As far as default browsers go, it’s perfectly serviceable. In typical Apple fashion it is very minimalistic, but if you know where to look you can find most of the functionality that exists in other browsers.
While it isn’t the fastest browser available, it is very efficient with what it has, using up far fewer memory resources than most competitors. In our experience using it on various auction software platforms (uploading lots and photos, experiencing dynamic refreshes, etc.), it works well 90% of the time, with some minor hangups when attempting to upload large media files in bulk.
Overall it is a better default browser than IE, and one that is certainly acceptable to use. You can download the latest version of Safari here. However, stronger options exist…
#3: Microsoft Edge
Edge is Microsoft’s answer to the long-standing criticisms of Internet Explorer, addressing many of the problems that long bogged down their flagship browser. It’s probably fair to think of Edge as simply a rebranded IE, an attempt to escape the stigma that exists around the “Internet Explorer” moniker. It comes pre-installed on all machines running Windows 10, and is indeed a better browser than any of the iterations of IE.
Edge still has some of the same stubborn design problems that have always been associated with the first-party browsers, including its resistance to letting users customize things, as well as forcing other first-party applications (that you probably don’t actually want to use).
It runs pretty quickly and certainly interacts better with most web environments than IE did, but still not as well as its third-party competitors. The aforementioned lack of customization and extension support is a pretty serious ding against it, as the simplicity of the forced bare-bones minimalism certainly doesn’t make up for the control and functionality that the major competitors offer.
#2 and #1 Tie: Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Our top two ranked browsers come down to a tie. Firefox and Chrome are both great, open source browsers that work well on both Macs and PCs, as well as having great mobile versions. Both are very developer-friendly, meaning they reliably run all of the auction software we tested in all expected functions.
Chrome, in particular, is well-respected (with good reason), now being used by over 52% of all Internet users, marking a sharp difference from the days of IE dominance. While Chrome has a reputation of using slightly more battery power, this is due to the speed and agility with which it handles and executes processes.
Firefox, for its part, can boast much of the same performance record as Chrome, while offering marginally better efficiency. The minor downside is a slightly more antiquated interface and cross-platform responsiveness, but nothing that would bother most people. Firefox may actually interact better with some older web environments than Chrome, due to its older framework.
Overall, both are solid bets that you can’t go wrong with, with the decision really coming down to user-preference. In our experience, they both consistently performed better with auction software than any of the other options, experiencing fewer bugs and performance issues. Both are developer-friendly, and have robust support for extensions that can greatly improve your Internet browsing experience (if you have not installed the AdBlock extension, do yourself a favor and do it now).
You can give Chrome a try yourself by downloading it here.
Firefox can be found here.
Different browsers have different strengths and weaknesses, and these are always changing with every update. Some will perform certain tasks better than others, or interact better with a certain software or program. No matter what the case, the ones we’ve ranked highest on our list are always a safe bet. Between those, it will largely come down to user preference.
The good news is, they’re all free to try. You can download as many as you want, and easily hop between them. Find the one that you’re most comfortable with, that works the best with the software or web pages that you use in your daily life. If you encounter some problem while doing online auctions (or anything else), try to do it again in another browser. A lot of times problems are browser specific, and trying a different one could quickly solve your issue.
Whatever consistently performs the best for you is your winner.