When using web browsers, keep these 5 tips in mind

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 10/21/19

Web browsers allow you to view and use websites.

You might have heard of or use Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or the new Edge. These browsers are crucial since they are how we can connect to websites, but they can also be the source of frustration when they don’t work correctly.

They might freeze or crash, load websites slowly, or pop-up junk ads or alerts. But here I share some things that can help:

Don’t allow browser notifications: A newer technology supported by some browsers, such as Chrome and Edge, allow websites to send you notifications at any point even if you aren’t on their website. Typically, you don’t need these notifications and are often misused to send you ads and junk alerts. The first time you visit a website that’s trying to send you notifications you will be prompted to allow or block them. Be careful; only allow those notifications on websites you really want to alert you of something.

You should periodically also check the allowed notifications in your browser’s settings to remove or block those you don’t want bothering you. The process to do this varies between the browsers, so I suggest looking up how to do it on the web or contact a computer pro if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

Utilize a browser extension to remove advertisements from websites: Website ads can be annoying, intrusive and misleading. But there are browser extensions out there that can automatically remove most of these ads. My favorite ad blocker extension is Adblock Plus (www.adblockplus.org) and is available for all the popular web browsers. Another new favorite of mine is Malwarebytes Browser Guard (www.malwarebytes.com/ browserguard/) to also block other junk and scams in addition to some ads.

Keep in mind, some websites don’t like these ad blockers because they rely on ad revenue. You might see a pop-up from some websites complaining if you have an ad blocker enabled, and some going a step further, blocking you from viewing the website.

However, you can easily disable the ad blocking for select websites.

If having browser slowness or issues, try another one: There are a couple different popular web browsers you can choose from. One of the oldest provided by default in Windows is Internet Explorer. In Windows 10, Microsoft tries to hide Internet Explorer, pushing you to use the new Microsoft Edge browser. I typically suggest using a thirdparty browser though.

Google Chrome (www. chrome.com) is my personal favorite, but Mozilla Firefox (www.mozilla.org) is another popular one, too.

If you’re having issues viewing or using a website or your browser seems slow or unstable, give another one a try. Most of the browsers allow you to import your favorites/ bookmarks and other settings over. If you see Internet browsing issues with multiple different browsers, there might be an issue with your computer and/or Internet service. I suggest contacting your Internet provider or a computer pro at that time.

Test your Internet speed to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for: Whether or not you think your web browsing is slow, you should periodically check your Internet speed. Internet providers sell their service based upon the speed, so you want to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for. This is especially the case if you think your Internet is slow. You don’t want to pay more for faster service if you aren’t even getting what you’re supposed to be already. I like to use SpeedTest.net. Simply go to that website and hit the Go button. It will then test the download and upload speeds; compare those with the speeds promised by your Internet provider.

Utilize browser syncing if you have multiple computers or devices: Most of the web browsers today provide some type of syncing of your favorites/bookmarks and other data with the browser on your other computers and devices. If you have Windows 10, it’s possible to sync Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge, but the third-party browsers provide better synchronization functionality and ability to sync with other Windows versions and mobile devices.

Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox both can sync browser history, saved passwords, saved form info, and credit cards across all devices in addition to the bookmarks.

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