What’s the best modern web browser in 2023?

If you’re looking for the best web browser, it might pay to look beyond the obvious candidates.

Wednesday, 8 February, 2023

It’s easy to overlook the significance of web browsers in modern life.

Without them, the internet as we know it wouldn’t exist. They’re the gatekeepers to the vast majority of things we do on desktop computers, plus a great many smartphone activities.

Other than using productivity tools or playing games, most online activities depend on a web browser displaying online content retrieved from a remote server.

As such, you might imagine our choice of web browsers would be agonised over, in the manner of selecting a new car. Yet many consumers give no thought to it at all.

Microsoft’s decision to bundle Internet Explorer into Windows back in the late 1990s gave IE the lion’s share of the global web browsing industry, despite plentiful competition.

In a similar vein, the Edge browser is baked into the latest version of Windows, encouraging consumers to accept it without a second thought.

(Apple has spent the last 20 years bundling Safari into macOS for the same reasons, while Google pre-installs Chrome on every Android smartphone).

However, you can use any browser you like to peruse the internet. Simply install a chosen program onto your computer, and then set it as the default platform for viewing webpages.

The best web browser of 2023 shortlist

To steer you in a suitable direction, we’ve compiled a shortlist of packages which could justifiably claim to be the best web browser of 2023, highlighting their USPs.

You might decide that your current platform isn’t the most appropriate choice after all…

Microsoft Edge

Launched: 2015. Best for: Simplicity

Although Microsoft sometimes make mistakes – as our potted history of the Windows operating system makes clear – they generally know what they’re doing.

When it was time to replace IE with a modern browser capable of parsing HTML5 content effectively, they developed a simple and intuitive platform with excellent security.

As well as being pre-installed on all modern Windows devices, Edge dovetails with other Microsoft software like Teams, Outlook and Office. It’s also extremely fast.

Google Chrome

Launched: 2008. Best for: Reliability

Although the HTML5 web coding standard is designed to provide a universally decipherable language every browser can interpret, glitches and inconsistencies do occur.

That’s unless you’re using Chrome – the market leader, and often the interface websites are tested on before going live. No other browser displays content as consistently and accurately.

Easy to use and effortlessly reliable, Chrome is often the quickest to display content in benchmarking tests, while webpage bookmarking is an object lesson in simplicity.


Launched: 2016. Best for: Customisation

Co-developed by the CEO of Opera Software (home of another highly rated web browser), Vivaldi is only seven years old but has already carved its own niche in this congested market.

Its USP is being able to endlessly personalise the interface – from start pages, menus and toolbars to keyboard shortcuts and quick commands for Function keys.

Its Chromium underpinnings ensure compatibility with most Chrome add-ons, but you can also pin websites to the sidebar, change how tabs work or allocate nicknames to search engines.


Launched: 2004. Best for: Security

Firefox has spent the last two decades developing an excellent security reputation, despite being open source (anyone can modify it if they wish).

It blocks pop-up adverts by default and offers an integrated password manager. More sophisticated protection includes blocking social media trackers, and browser tracking.

One caveat: Firefox tends to hog system resources, which isn’t ideal if you’re using an older machine with limited RAM.


Launched: 2002. Best for: Privacy

Let’s start by acknowledging that the Tor browser is very slow, while its appearance is a throwback to Millennial interfaces like Netscape Navigator.

Yet due to the randomised way it distributes data around the internet, Tor is extremely difficult to hack, track or crack. In terms of maintaining privacy, it’s peerless.

It’s also the only access point to the Dark Web – a murky world where good and evil rub shoulders, yet a valuable resource for many people.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!