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Report: The most common web browsers and browser versions today

Browser logos

The web browser market is an ever-changing landscape. It can sometimes be rocky ground for web designers and web developers trying to make their websites and services work for all the various browser versions available out there. It’s challenging work, to say the least.

That’s why it pays to be aware of what the web browser market looks like, and stay up to date. How many are using the various browsers out there? How many are using the latest versions? Which versions are the most common? How big an audience may you be annoying if your site isn’t perfect in a specific browser version?

Those are all questions you’ll want to answer, and here is what the situation looks like right now, in June 2011, based on the traffic to more than three million websites and billions of page views.

The most common web browser versions

We’ve included every single browser version that has 0.2% market share or more. The data is from StatCounter and is based on visitor statistics from more than three million websites for the first half of June. According to StatCounter their monthly sample size exceeds 15 billion page views, so the data here should be a good international average across websites.

110617 browser version usage

Observations:

  • The top browser, whether you like it or not. IE8 is the most widely used web browser in the world by quite some margin.
  • The IE9 situation. We also see that IE9, Microsoft’s latest version of IE, has not yet been able to pass even IE7. It will likely get a good boost at the end of this month, though, since an upgrade will be pushed out through Windows Update. It will have to be approved by the end user, so we’ll see how many actually upgrade. We wrote about this Microsoft dilemma with IE yesterday.
  • Safari and Mac… and IE6. The latest version of Safari, version 5, is used only barely more than IE6. Of course, it’s used primarily on Mac, which is a smaller market than the overall Windows PC market. And of course, Mac users also have access to other browsers. IE6 is no doubt closely coupled to the still-common Windows XP.
  • Firefox 4 already the top Firefox version. Less than three months after it was released (March 22), Firefox 4 has become the most common version of that browser. The shift to the new version continues to march along quite smoothly, judging by Firefox download stats.
  • Beta testing. It’s clear that a ton of users are involved in beta testing various browser versions, especially for Chrome and Firefox. Future versions of browsers are present here, like Firefox 5, and Chrome 13.
  • Chrome’s silent upgrades in action. It’s obvious that Google is in the middle of upgrading (automatically, as you know) Chrome 12 users to Chrome 13. Which version are you running right now?
  • Wow, iPad. In spite of the iPad being available little more than a year, Safari for iPad has a 0.68% share of the web browsing already.
  • Old browser versions. This chart makes it painfully clear how common it is for people to hang on to older browser versions for quite some time. Many probably only upgrade when they upgrade their OS, or their computer, judging by what we’re seeing here.

Now on to examining how browsers are doing if you ignore the individual versions (which you probably shouldn’t, but it’s an interesting data point).

The most common browsers

So what is the overall situation per browser, regardless of version?

110617 browser usage

Observations:

  • The fall of IE. It wasn’t long ago that Internet Explorer completely dominated the browser market. Before Firefox came around in 2004 it had somewhere around 95% of the browser market. These days the situation is drastically different, with all version of IE together making up “only” 44%.
  • Chrome’s amazing growth. It’s also amazing how quickly Google Chrome has become a force to be reckoned with. Chrome was released less than three years ago.
  • The rise of WebKit. If you count the WebKit browsers together (i.e. Chrome and Safari), they have almost as big a share as Firefox, 25.35% versus 28.57%. And this is on the desktop. If you look at mobile browsers, the story is a different one, with total WebKit domination.

Don’t forget your own site stats

Hopefully you’ve found this report helpful, but let us give you some final advice. It’s something you are hopefully already doing if you’re a web developer or designer, but a reminder couldn’t hurt.

If you’re designing for an existing website, it’s great to keep the above information above in mind, but don’t forget your site-specific “visitor profile.” In other words, you should of course also look at your own website’s visitor stats to see which browsers they tend to use. That can differ significantly depending on your audience.

For example, the top browsers in June so far for this blog, Royal Pingdom, are: Firefox (40.86%), Chrome (32.03%), IE (15.50%), Safari (7.23%) and Opera (1.96%). So almost 4/5 of our blog’s visitors use Firefox, Chrome or Safari. A lot of techies read this blog, and they tend to prefer Firefox and Chrome, which explains that. A different site with a different demographic would show different results.

That said, as soon as you’re designing something that you want accessible to as wide an audience as possible, the overall stats that we presented in this article becomes a very good thing to keep in mind.



33 Comments

Half of IE users can’t tell the difference between a browser and a multimedia player…

I wish Microsoft would force update IE6 to at least IE7 on all Windows XP computers.

Shame about Opera, it deserves more. 15 years of development and they barely show up on the charts. :(

are you sure that webkit totally dominates the mobile scene? opera mini is likely to be used by more people compared to ios and android.

L4Linux; +1 to that, plus IMO chrome is best browser so far.
Noticed; Firefox has more percentage than I expected.

IE was mastered, I learned something new. I think Firefox is the king of browsers. Kudos for Chrome, as a newcomer she could show herself to be reckoned with.

MS can’t “force update” on IE6 – sadly there are thousands of corporate “intranets” that use IE6-specific features and are pretty much broken with any other browser. Yes they made their beds, but a lot of them are happy with mission-critical mainframe and MS-DOS apps too

Why not discuss the fact that most computers are sold with some version of Windows – which comes with some version of IE preinstalled? The extra work it takes to select an alternate browser, and download and install it, is too much for many users, not to mention somewhat confusing for them. FF’s and Chrome’s shares are pretty amazing, in light of that fact.

And why no discussion about why techies (such as those who visit this blog) prefer FF and Chrome? Isn’t it because these two browsers are safer, faster-running, more completely standards-compliant and bug-free.

The fact that 15% of your last-month visitors came in with some version of IE shows that your audience is not 100% tech. It’s helpful to tell what’s up to that segment of your audience – knowing the advantages of FF and Chrome are could provide them with a boost, if they’ve been leaning towards changing browsers. For example, do they know that Facebook page loads fail more frequently in IE, compared with FF or Chrome, and loading three tabs when IE starts up can take more than a minute, with incomplete page rendering on some pages, if the sites are using advanced coding (for example: tab one is Gmail with advanced lab features, tab two is Facebook, tab three is Twitter)?

If you do it by engine (e.g. WebKit), you’ll get a very different picture.

Chrome 14 and Opera Next are all I need (for the time being ;) )

I think about 70% of those IE8 installs are either XP or Vista/7 users.

Given that IE9 and IE8 report themselves as IE7 when viewing sites in Compatability mode – does your analysis (and statcounter) take that into account?

L4Linux wrote, “Half of IE users can’t tell the difference between a browser and a multimedia player…”

Worse than that, Half think their operating system is IE.

Ironically, every site that reports usage data always shows their usage data and it is always upside-down from the reported data, with IE trailing far behind. This article is no exception. Nor the Huffington Post article that linked here.

I’d really like to see some more detailed demographics. Age-range, experience level, equipment, etc.

Depressing that piece of shit Chrome is gaining like this – one day I may have no choice but use it. Or perhaps stop using the web entirely.

Unfortunately many old intranet applications have been poorly designed and only work for IE 6, so many companies are stuck with it

“but a lot of them are happy with mission-critical mainframe and MS-DOS apps too”
But unlike these, it should be in most cases easy to hack the HTML/CSS to fix it so it works in IE7.

I think there’s an important element to looking at these stats that seems to be overlooked:

Firefox, Chrome, Safari and even IE9 are all very standards compliant browsers, and render in a very similar way. When looking at stats like these to make development decisions, adding the versions of IE together is not helpful – and stating that IE8 is the most popular browser is less helpful still, and in fact damaging to those developers who are attempting to make the case for standards based development within their organisation.

In truth, these figures are what developers should actually be looking at:
Firefox + Chrome + Safari + Opera + IE9 = 61.55%
IE 8: 27.98%
IE 7: 6.07%
IE 6: 3.77%

Please correct:

Chrome is not “silently upgrading” people to Chrome 13.

Chrome 13 is in the Beta channel and not Stable channel. People knowingly chose to switch to the Beta channel.

Everybody else has Chrome 12 *stable channel*.

Great info share here. Thanks for the info. Also, good to know that statcounter was the provider of the info. They offer the best services for online counter.

chrome is at its top in speed.

Running Chrome on Linux

July 2nd, 2011 at 1:16 pm


Aye, Google is upgrading people from 11 to 12, not 12 to 13 ;)

13 isn’t out yet.

if Browser then Chromer

It is an insult still exists IE6.

Study,I use Chromer 12 and IE 9

I’m a web developer and I have all the browsers with me, except one; Safari: makes strange sounds to my HDD. I’m not kidding. I had to remove it.

Sorry, but I cannot going past Firefox… I love it.

My son loves Chrome for its speed, but I’m way too comfortable with Firefox and its enormous delection of Addons.

Its going to take a long time for Chrome to catchup on the Addons.

Funny but IE still tries but it just fails even more

Study,I use Chromer 12 and IE 9!!

am i the only one or safari is really slow if you have chrome also installed? could it be on purpose?

at the beginning Chrome was as fast than firefox, but now it seems much faster

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

Thanks for the info. Also, good to know that statcounter was the provider of the info. They offer the best services for online counter.