Which browser is fastest? How fast? Which is slowest and why? Are Windows browsers faster than Mac browsers? Or, are Linux browsers even faster?
This Browser Speed Test compares all browsers on Windows to Mac to Linux? Is your favorite on the list?
To be fair, there’s more going on with a browser these days than sheer speed. In fact, browsers have come a long way and do a lot more than early Netscape and Internet Explorer versions.
There’s a host of issues to consider when choosing a browser: web page rendering compatibility, security, standards support, page rendering speed, ease-of-use features.
On Mac or Windows, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer often fails on security tests with gaping holes that need patching. MSIE also fails on standards support, choosing Microsoft’s own ‘standards.’
Even in the features wars, Internet Explorer falls behind. What about speed? Which browser is the Number One Speed King? Is it a browser for Windows, Mac, or Linux?
We found a browser speed test comparison that does a very good job of isolating speed issues, checking each browser on each platform, and delivering results that are surprising.
Mozilla claims that Firefox empowers you to “browse faster.” Mac users claim that Safari loads pages faster than any Mac browsers. How does Safari compare in time test against Windows browsers? Or Linux browsers?
Opera goes so far as to say that Opera is “The Fastest Browser on Earth!” A claim not denied by other browser developers.
On the Windows side, many Internet Explorer users claim they still use IE because of speed; other browsers are slow to load and slow to load pages.
What’s interesting, despite all the “claims” to speed, no one shows any research, tests, or side-by-side comparisons to back up the marketing hype.
We found a web site that’s done a rather conclusive, and exhaustive set of tests to determine which browser is the fastests, and which platform: Mac, Windows, or Linux.
The tests covered a wide variety of typical browser functions where speed could be measured.
Log in for the first time. Wait until all start up processes are complete. Start up the browser as the first application. Time and average the results. Mac, Windows, Linux.
Following the Cold Start, close the browser, start it up again. Time it, again, take an average.
CSS is a huge part of web design these days. Some web browsers load CSS quickly, others do not, others don’t use the full CSS specification, therefore the page doesn’t load quickly, and may not look appropriate. The CSS test was particularly grueling and revealing.
Most web sites use tables to display content and data. Some browsers load tables quickly, others very slowly. Which is best?
Gone are the days of non-image web pages. Sites, even Mac360, are loaded with graphics, photos, and ads. Sometimes the graphic elements come from many different servers. That affects speed.
That’s a healthy list of comparative features to test. Even more lengthy is the actual list of browsers used in the test. Not only are there plenty of Mac browsers, there’s even more on Windows, and a good number on Linux.
This test included all platforms, every browser that could be found, the latest versions, and even browsers that only render text (such as Lynx).
Discounting the text only browsers, among the major browsers in the Cold Start test, Opera for Windows was first, followed by Camino on Mac OS X, then Konqeror on Linux.
In the Warm Start category, Konqeror on Linux was tops, iCab on Mac OS 9 was next, while Opera on Windows dropped. Internet Explorer on Windows did well in warm start, partly due to much of the code being loaded early in Windows. Mac OS X browsers did not fare well in this category.
How about rendering CSS, of prime importance for modern browsers? Safari 2.0 in Mac OS X was tops, followed by Opera on Linux, Konqeror on Linux, and Opera on Windows. As expected, Internet Explorer on Windows was farther down the list, but not as far as Firefox, showing up as a slow browser on some tests.
The Rendering Tables test brings a few surprises. Opera takes top honors, both on Linux and Windows, followed by an old version of Internet Explorer on Windows. Opera for Mac OS X placed high, in the Top 10 of major browsers.
Script Speed processing is also important for modern browsers, and, guess what? Opera is tops again. On Linux. And Windows. Followed closely by Mac OS X versions. Safari fares well, Firefox and Internet Explorer are well down the list.
Handling Multiple Images is a chore for a browser as today’s web pages are graphics rich, loaded with images. Tops in the processesing of Multiple Images is Opera again. This time on Mac OS X, taking the top two spots (different versions).
In fact, Mac OS X does well with images as the new Firefox 1.5 comes in at #4, while Safari for Mac OS X is #6. Opera for Windows is #5. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer? Barely in the Top 20.
For sheer speed of loading and page rendering, this is the most exhaustive test I’ve seen. Click Here for the Test Overview, and scroll for the Speed Graphs. Everything, including graphs, tables, and listings, is on a single web page, so give your browser a moment to load the whole document.
Overall, Firefox doesn’t fare as well as expected on any platform; Mac, Windows, Linux. The fastest browser overall? Probably Opera. How about the fastest platform? Results are mixed, though Mac OS X fares well when compared to Windows XP and Linux.
Test results are often dependent on hardware as much as software. Your mileage may vary.
Tera Jean Patricks
Not bad, other than the hardware used for each test. I don’t know anyone who has hardware that old or slow. A 400mhz G4? Get real.
Jack D. Miller
Another good effort, but with bogus results. Weak hardware. The only test on OS X Tiger was for Safari 2.0. Otherwise, Mac tests were on Panther or Classic.
Carol Mary Miller
Why is speed so important? I’d much rather have bells and whistles. Where’s a comparison of those.
Can we take up a collection on PayPal to get the poor tester some up to date hardware?