Chrome may be the most widely used browser, but it’s not necessarily the best. Alternatives exist that may better meet your needs.
One of these options is Firefox. It’s a rare browser not based on Chromium, the project that powers Chrome, unlike other rivals like Edge or Opera. It’s also backed by a team with a long and storied history in browser development and a deep interest in online privacy. Therefore, using Firefox can improve your PC’s performance, protect you better on the web, and also make your life easier. You’ll find that it offers built-in functionality that doesn’t exist in Chrome or requires third-party add-ons.
Just like we did recently with Vivaldi, the browser for enthusiasts, we’ve highlighted the top 8 reasons to quit Chrome and switch to Firefox. Let’s dig.
Automatic blocking of autoplay videos
Many websites offer videos and other media that play automatically when you load the page. But not all of them automatically mute the sound, despite the near-universal hatred for having a sudden noise blaring in the background. Autoplaying video can consume bandwidth unnecessarily when you’re on a connection with limited data.
In Chrome, if you want to block sites that perform poorly with autoplay, you need to find and install a third-party extension. Firefox, on the other hand, keeps tabs on hand by default. By default, the sound is muted and for YouTube, audio and video autoplay is blocked. And blocking video from autoplaying on the web by default is a quick and easy change to Firefox settings.
Faster website navigation
A fresh install of Firefox automatically blocks trackers that can slow down browsing. The more scripts to load as part of a website, the more you will experience them. Even though they are running invisibly in the background, they are still there. Stop them from working and your web browsing should be much faster.
Firefox also blocks cryptominers from accessing your device, aka cryptojacking, which is when a website allows malicious code to use your computer to mine crypto- change. Indirectly, this protection feature also contributes to browsing speed. If your system resources are blocked by a cryptominer accessing your device, your PC will feel sluggish, including when browsing online.
Less system resource intensive
Chrome has a reputation for hogging system resources, namely RAM, but sometimes it also hits your CPU harder than expected. Google has taken steps to reduce these issues, but Firefox hasn’t had the same issues with regular memory leaks. It is also generally light on system resources. Even when you start piling up tabs and windows, browsing sessions don’t slow down.
That said, Firefox can also sometimes suffer from memory bloat, if you like to leave lots of tabs open for days on end. But you can quickly fix this problem by using firefox task manager to nuke and then bring back a tab gone crazy. Or, if your browser is set to remember your browsing history, completely close the app and reopen it. (Your tabs should be restored automatically.) You don’t need to restart your entire system.
Equally easy synchronization on all devices
Part of Chrome’s appeal is the seamless nature of Google’s ecosystem: accessing your bookmarks and syncing open tabs across devices is simple. But this feature doesn’t need to be a reason to stick with Chrome. Firefox also lets you easily browse the web on all devices.
It’s as platform-independent as Chrome, so you can switch between Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS without a hitch. Create a Firefox Sync account and your browsing history, bookmarks, tabs, saved passwords and more will follow you on every device you log in to. You will also be able to use additional privacy and security-focused services such as Firefox Relay (email masking) and Firefox Monitor (data breach monitoring) from the same single account.
Deeper safeguards for privacy
In addition to automatically blocking third-party cookies and trackers from collecting data about your browsing habits, Firefox also blocks fingerprinting, a more insidious method of monitoring people on the web. A digital fingerprint gathers information about your PC’s hardware, software (like your operating system and browser), add-ons, preferences, and sometimes more like themes and customizations. Tracking a fingerprint can span months or even longer, meaning anyone looking at the data can get a clear picture of your privacy and habits. Think of it as a more invasive form of someone stalking you through public Instagram and other social media accounts, but instead they learn information you do not have chosen to share publicly. Maybe not even with your closest friends and family.
Firefox also allows users to enable DNS over HTTPS (DoH). Normally, when you enter a URL (e.g. https://www.pcworld.com) into your address bar and hit enter, finding the IP address that the domain name resolves to is done by plain text. This means that anyone on your network can see what sites you are accessing. But if you force the process to take place on an encrypted server, you thwart such attempts at curiosity.
Sometimes you just want to read the article on a website, not browse through pop-ups, video embeds, ads, and whatever else the site owner slams onto the page to keep the lights on (ahem). Having all the extras on the page can really slow down your ability to scroll.
You can reduce visual distractions with extensions that remove ads, block scripts, and more, but Firefox gives you a one-click option to remove clutter from a page: Reader Mode. Click an icon in the address bar and you get a clean, uncluttered view that only shows the text in a large, readable font and the images that go with the story. You can scan through text much faster.
Honestly, Chrome once offered a reader mode, but the development team can’t decide whether to keep it or not. Some versions of Chrome let you turn it on, some don’t. After Mozilla implemented this feature in Firefox years ago, it’s here to stay.
open source code
Ask current Firefox users why they changed, and you’ll often hear “It’s not Chrome.”
What makes Chrome so bad, you ask? The big problem for most is that all your data is locked by a company that makes money from advertising. (Remember the saying that if a service is free, you are the product.) This is a big privacy issue.
But beyond that, it’s also harder for the community to verify Chrome’s security. Although it is built on an open-source project (Chromium), the official Chrome browser mixes Google’s proprietary twist on this code and keeps the end results a secret. Users cannot examine for themselves how things are built. Many people don’t see this as a problem, but knowing how something is made can tell you a lot more about its weaknesses and anything else that might not work for you. With Firefox, this is not a problem.