What’s the fastest browser for surfing the Web?

Google’s Chrome browser debuted almost 15 years ago; Mozilla’s Firefox almost 20. These options are anything but new. Today, a new generation of browsers (like Brave) have emerged, with far more focus on privacy and speed. But which option is the fastest Web browser?

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What makes a browser fast
  • Which offers the fastest browsing
  • How to improve speed on your existing browser

Understanding the factors that affect browser speed

No one likes waiting for the Web. We expect our browsers to load pages, download content, and stream videos with lightning speed. But a lot has to happen behind the scenes to meet these expectations. Let’s start by looking at the external factors (those outside the browser itself) and internal ones (those within the browser) affecting browser speed.

Externally, Internet bandwidth (the service from your Internet service provider), cell signal, the number of devices on a network and what those devices are doing, computer processing speed, the make and age of your device’s operating system, and more can all contribute to a fast (or slow) browsing experience.

Internally, a number of factors within the browser itself can also affect browsing speed, the two most significant being layout / browser engine, and Javascript engine.

Layout or browser engine

Every browser has an “engine.” This is the core software codebase that runs the browser. Some browsers have their own engine; others might share one, and then make custom optimizations. Chromium-based browsers like Brave share the Blink browser engine. Mozilla Firefox uses Gecko, while iOS browsers use Webkit. These engines “drive” the browser through the webpage—they determine how, and in what order, the page’s different elements are processed.

This loading order can affect browsing speed—page elements load at different rates, and in different order, on different browsers. And some browsers handle particular on-page elements better than others.

Javascript engine

Javascript determines a user’s interactions with the webpage. For example, when you fill in a Web form or click a button on a page, Javascript works in the background to make those interactions happen. Every browser uses some form of Javascript engine, but the engine can vary. Brave and other Chromium-based browsers use the V8 Javascript engine.

Web browsers: more than just their underlying code

As discussed above, most popular browsers share their underlying code. For example, Brave, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera are all based on the open-source Chromium browser engine. Thanks to this shared source code, you can expect broad similarities in feel and functionality. However, the way each browser is built on that engine can bring radical differences in performance.

A browser performance case study: Brave vs. Chrome

Brave’s browser speed derives from its radically different approach to Internet privacy. Because Brave blocks third-party ads and trackers, it streamlines the website loading process. This increased speed is especially noticeable with slower internet connections, or on older computers. There are two significant benefits here that result in a faster user experience:

  • Reduced bandwidth use: Brave cuts out third-party ads and trackers, so it doesn’t need to load those elements on the page. Fewer elements to load means less bandwidth used (basically less data being drawn from your Internet connection). And reduced bandwidth means an overall faster experience on every page.
  • Reduced Javascript CPU use: Javascript runs automatically while viewing a webpage—it’s part of the core that allows most pages to function. Brave doesn’t remove Javascript, but by blocking third-party ads and trackers, it does execute fewer of these scripts overall.

Over time, these two factors can add up to hundreds of hours saved—time you would’ve otherwise lost while waiting for webpages to load. And Brave calculates this for you in its count of estimated time saved. It’s a quick and easy way to see how much faster the Brave browser is in comparison to Google Chrome, despite their shared codebase.

How to choose the fastest browser

So how do you choose the fastest Web browser? Consider the following:

Balance speed and privacy

Speed isn’t the only important factor in the realm of browsers—privacy matters, too, so be sure to examine both when choosing a new browser. Some browsers, like Tor, will maximize privacy. But they can also be complex to set up, and lead to significant slowdowns in browsing. Chrome may be faster, but it also allows many third-party ads and trackers through, and brings numerous other privacy risks. A browser like Brave offers the best of both worlds, combining speed with enhanced privacy.

Choose features that fit you

Each browser has its own unique set of features—its own personality. Some are optimized for gaming. Others for email or other apps. Brave, for example, offers private video calls, a browser-native crypto wallet, a truly private, independent search engine, even offline playlists. And of course, default privacy that’s optimized for speed. All right out of the box. Whatever you’re looking for, be sure to check each browser’s custom feature set before downloading.

Use a next-generation, supported browser

In general, the fastest browsers are the newest ones. So, whichever browser you choose, be sure you’re using a new, modern browser (e.g. something newer than Internet Explorer) that’s still being supported and developed by the company that makes it.

How to improve browser speeds

You’ll probably notice an improvement if you upgrade your Internet connection, invest in a new computer, and download a browser optimized for speed. If you’ve already done those things, there are also ways to improve speed within the browser.

Read our guide to improving your browser’s speed.

Brave: the fastest Web browser for your device

Lastly, let’s take a quick look at the fastest browser overall for each operating system.

Fastest browser for Windows

Edge is the default option for many Windows products. But Brave, Chrome, and Opera all work on Windows machines as well. And, given that Edge is particularly ad-heavy, you should consider changing your default browser. As previously discussed, Brave’s default ad-blocking gives it a real advantage over even these other Chromium browsers. Brave loads pages up to 2x faster on Windows.

Fastest browser for Android

Android devices can come with a variety of default browsers. But, as with Windows, Brave is the clear browser winner on Android. It’s exponentially faster, and brings unmatched privacy.

Fastest browser for Mac and iOS

Safari is the default option for all Apple products. But Brave, Chrome, Edge, and Opera all work on macOS and iOS. And, given that Apple users can now change the default browser, it’s worth considering a better alternative to Safari.

Brave offers advanced security features that Safari lacks. And, given its Chromium codebase, it brings smoother (albeit more private) integration with popular Google apps like Gmail and Google Docs. So if you want something that prioritizes your privacy and provides an extra jolt of surfing speed, consider adding the Brave browser to your Apple device.

To enjoy faster, more private browsing, just download Brave for your device today.

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