Head to head: Firefox vs Internet Explorer

But there are also plenty of JavaScript-based applications out there notable examples being Google's Calendar and Docs services. And whenever you visit one of these sites, Firefox will give you a much slicker experience than IE8.


Firefox's fast JavaScript support makes web applications such as Google Docs a pleasure to use.

Winner: Firefox


There's no doubt which browser is the winner: the points stack up decisively on Firefox's side. But it's not as crushing a victory as it may appear.

Most Firefox users don't rely on plug-ins, and if you have Windows Update set to download patches automatically you'll get a comparable level of security from IE8. In many cases, switching from Microsoft's browser to Firefox won't visibly affect your online experience at all.

What differences there are between the browsers may simply reflect their different design strategies, with Firefox's open source coding teams having more freedom to innovate and experiment than Microsoft's more rigid organisation. While several of IE's features follow in Firefox's footsteps, that's not necessarily a bad thing: with a few exceptions, it means the technology has been tried and tested before landing on your desktop. Yes, past versions of Internet Explorer had their faults, but for everyday surfing IE8 is a perfectly respectable choice.

All the same, if you want the latest features and the fastest browser, it's Firefox all the way.

Winner: Firefox


Internet Explorer 8 is a mature application offering a good range of comforts and conveniences. But Firefox has the edge thanks to its slicker design, better performance and huge library of plug-ins.

Darien Graham-Smith

Darien began his IT career in the 1990s as a systems engineer, later becoming an IT project manager. His formative experiences included upgrading a major multinational from token-ring networking to Ethernet, and migrating a travelling sales force from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.

He subsequently spent some years acting as a one-man IT department for a small publishing company, before moving into journalism himself. He is now a regular contributor to IT Pro, specialising in networking and security, and serves as associate editor of PC Pro magazine with particular responsibility for business reviews and features.

You can email Darien at darien@pcpro.co.uk, or follow him on Twitter at @dariengs.