Don’t use IE
Internet explorer puts your computer at risk, and harms your internet experience.
To reach this page, you probably clicked a link at the top of my website warning you that you are using Internet Explorer (IE).
What’s Internet Explorer?
Internet Explorer is a program you use to access the internet, and it is always installed on any computer using Microsoft Windows.
Now, many people believe that Internet Explorer IS the internet, but that just isn’t true. It’s actually a web browser, and a little bit more. It’s this little bit more that is one reason youshouldn’t use it.
Although it’s available in many versions, with versions 5.5, 6 and 7 still being popular, they all share many flaws which make them a big no-no for accessing the web.
Update: IE8 is reputed to be much better regarding security. Only time will tell…
Why shouldn’t I use it?
Internet Explorer’s main sins relate to security and rendering. Rendering means the way the browser interprets the instructions given to it by the website, which indicate how the website should look. Internet Explorer either ignores or misinterprets many instructions. For example, my website grows wider to make full use of your screen, if you have a wide screen. But if your screen is ridiculously wide, that might be a problem. So I set a limit on how wide it can go, which some versions of Internet Explorer just plain ignore.
Other bugs cause sections of websites to fail completely, or menus that don’t display. So what you get is web designers (people like me) who have to make two versions of the website, one version for ‘proper’ browsers, and one for IE.
Unfortunately, some web designers just make their website work with Internet Explorer and forget about making it work in the other browsers. The main problem here is that one day IE might decide to follow the rules, and those particular websites will suddenly all go bad at once! Thankfully, this practice is becoming less common.
In truth, we should be making our pages work in real browsers, and ignoring IE altogether – after all, the poor rendering isn’t our fault! People would stop using IE if this practice was more common, forcing Microsoft to fix it, or IE to lose dominance. Either outcome would make the web a better place.
Internet Explorer’s security flaws are numerous and well-known. Some of these flaws enable a malicious website to install software (viruses, spyware, adware, etc) on your computer without even asking. I’m talking about some else being able to use your computer without you even knowing – perhaps stealing your banking data or maybe just logging your internet travels. There are just so many ways this can be done using IE that Microsoft simply can not keep up with the security patches.
To be fair to Microsoft, Internet Explorer is the most prolific browser and is targeted heavily by hackers and miscreants – far more than other browsers.
This does not account for all the flaws, though. IE simply is a poorly-written web browser that dominates the internet for only one reason – because most computer users don’t know there is any other way to access web pages on the internet.
So, what should I use?
Using another web browser could not be simpler. Choosing one may be tricky but remember you can actually have lots of different web browsers on your computer at once. As a web designer, I have almost every browser! The list of alternatives includes, but is not limited to:
- Mozilla Firefox – The next most popular browser, as of writing this. Works just like IE with virtually no learning curve. Just install and go visiting websites, it will even import your favourites from IE. Firefox also has some really cool features and supports a wide range of extensions that make it really customisable. It’s also very secure compared to IE.
- Google Chrome – A fairly new offering from Google. It is different to use but has some really cool features, and is fast becoming one of the most popular internet browsers.
- Safari – Safari was always the web browser used by Apple Mac computer users. It’s now available for Windows, and although it looks a bit dull (here come the Mac users to crucify me), it does a great job of rendering and does not have anywhere near the security flaws of IE.
- Opera – Opera is a fantastic web browser which has versions for every type of computer I can think of, even many mobile phones can run a version of Opera! It’s a solid performer and once again is light-years ahead of IE for security.
Don’t take my word for it
Now that you know this debate exists, I encourage you to take a look around the net and see what others say about this. You have a really great selection of programs at your disposal – all free, and all far superior to Internet Explorer.
My advice is that the only website you should be visiting using Internet Explorer is Microsoft’s own website – because you will need to use IE for getting all the latest updates for Windows, and if you use IE to go anywhere else, you are going to need those and a whole lot more!
Other sites that explain more about this: