Browser share Posted on January 12th, 2009 by

Since each web browser behaves differently, web developers are always interested in how many visitors are using which version of each of the major browsers. As new versions are released, fewer people end up using older versions of browsers and we have to worry less about our pages looking perfect in some of the less common versions. Additionally, newer browsers have better support for web standards which will allow web applications to be built faster and better. This, in turn, makes the visitor’s experience richer and the developer’s life much easier. The real payoff comes when most people have left older browsers for newer versions–we can then spend considerably less time developing our pages and web applications.

From time to time, we look at what browsers our visitors are using to access the Gustavus website. This lets us know which browsers we should be testing our work in to make sure that the most people have a good experience on our website. For those interested, below is a sample of our data:

Browser share
Browser Share On campus Off campus
Firefox 47.45% 63.83% 39.02%
Internet Explorer 38.57% 22.25% 46.06%
Safari 12.71% 13.46% 13.86%
Other 1.27% 0.46% 1.06%

Additionally, Internet Explorer 6 is typically regarded as the browser that is both frustrating for web developers and still too popular to ignore. Lets take a look at our statistics on Internet Explorer:

Internet Explorer versions share
Browser Share On campus Off campus
Internet Explorer 7 81.10% 98.27% 76.56%
Internet Explorer 6 18.46% 1.62% 23.11%
Internet Explorer 8 0.42% 0.10% 0.31%

According to this data, 7.12% of our visitors are still using Internet Explorer 6. Which, while small and shrinking, is still a significant percentage. With any luck, by the end of 2009, this number will have fallen enough where Internet Explorer 6 support will no longer be a factor.

Now is as good of time as any to upgrade your browser. Web Services uses and recommends Mozilla Firefox.



  1. Tom Lany says:

    I noticed that Firefox usage is higher among on campus users than it is among off campus users. I wonder if the fact that Internet Explorer is harder to find on college PCs has something to do with this.

  2. Joe Lencioni says:

    @Tom: That is probably part of it. Additionally, we have been advocating the use of Firefox on campus for a while and educating people on the benefits over Internet Explorer. The discrepancy may also be contributed to by off campus visitors using older hardware or locked down computers where they don’t have much choice in which browser to use.

    I have found that many people don’t even seem to know what a web browser is–a lot of people just think that Internet Explorer is “the Internet.”

  3. Tom Lany says:

    I guess you could say that Internet Explorer is kind of “the Internet” on Microsoft’s terms, with its lack standards-compliant page rendering, and other features like its built in FTP functionality and ActiveX environment (which has so many security issues that many people are unaware of). I prefer Mozilla’s approach of letting users define their own web expedience through its add-on system. Go Firefox!

  4. Joe Lencioni says:

    Speaking of IE 6, I just came across DearIE6, a website that pulls posts from Twitter saying goodbye to IE 6. You can participate by posting a reply to @DearIE6 on Twitter.