View Full Version : What is the FASTEST (and best) browser for Mac OS X (Opera? Safari? other?): DATA PLZ

06-09-2004, 12:18 AM
I'm trying to find out what the FASTEST and BEST browser is for OSX.
When I say FASTEST I mean FASTEST.
When I say BEST I mainly refer to standard compliance.
I would love to get hard facts, as opposed to user opinions. Opinions are valuable, but when it comes to speed I'd much rather look at a graph of benchmarks, but I couldn't find any, hence my post...

I have eliminated NN and IE and am now in the process of deciding between Opera 7.51 and Safari 1.2.2 - unless of course somebody tells of something that is faster and better than these two...

I personally like Opera more than Safari (more features, seemingly better standard compliance, less weird things happening with dhtml/js than in safari), but like I said this is not so much about opinion, more about facts...

If you have links to benchmarks please post them! If you have made tests please post the results.
Thanks a lot.

06-09-2004, 01:44 AM
I tend to use Safari for speed and switch to Firefox when I come up against a site that needs something more standards compliant.
Haven't used anything else for a while now.

06-09-2004, 07:33 AM
Opinions are valuable, but when it comes to speed I'd much rather look at a graph of benchmarks, but I couldn't find any, hence my post... Sounds like somthing you should embark upon doing for the rest of the world!

Craig R. Arko
06-09-2004, 08:22 AM
And remember to update the results every few months, as new releases of the various browsers happen pretty often.

I'll cast a vote for links as the fastest, however.

Sorry, I meant FASTEST. :rolleyes:

06-09-2004, 09:29 AM
I don't know links... are you making fun of me like the other guys or is there a browser called links? where? is it standard compliant?

06-09-2004, 09:41 AM
I wasn't making fun, I was seriously suggesting that it might be useful to have a website with benchmarked link/compliance results for the various OS X browsers, as you suggested. I don't know of one that exists (doesn't mean it doesn't already), but since you're interested in this (and suggested it), I elected you to make it a reality.

I think maybe C.R.A. meant Lynx (sp?) as the fastest browser, since it does text only.

Craig R. Arko
06-09-2004, 09:41 AM
Links (http://links.sourceforge.net/) is a textbased console run http browser; and it's highly standards compliant for those standards it actually supports, like most other browsers.

It is definitely faster than any GUI browser, and I'm mostly making fun of the notion that there exists a fastest and best browser. Different ones work better under different conditions and different sites, and a person generally needs to have more than one available to work efficiently. Plus some of them do change as fast as nightly, so the target moves faster than the testers do.

06-09-2004, 09:43 AM
Ah.. is Links a knock off ancient Lynx?

06-09-2004, 09:44 AM

Craig R. Arko
06-09-2004, 09:45 AM
Yes, with table (and a few other standards) support. Easy install via fink.

06-09-2004, 09:47 AM
I am glad you are all having fun here ;-)

I have four browsers installed on my machine, but I'd like to do my personal browsing on the one that loads pages faster and better, that's all...

06-09-2004, 09:49 AM
http://www.apple.com/safari/ Yeah.. but that's 1) only against IE (which is hardly fair), and 2) an Apple benchmark. A real-world benchmarking would be more interesting I think.

Oops, forget #1. But #2 is still in effect.

06-09-2004, 09:50 AM

That is EXACTLY the kind of hard data I was looking and hoping for...
Can anybody suggest benchmarks like those that have Opera in it? Opera was left of that graph, even though Camino is in... hmm, I wonder why? Was it intentional because Opera performs better than Safari? I wouldn't be surprised... Java performance/compliance is definitely better on Opera.

Craig R. Arko
06-09-2004, 09:55 AM
I have four browsers installed on my machine, but I'd like to do my personal browsing on the one that loads pages faster and better, that's all...

I think you're missing my point that there isn't a "the one." It varies by the sites you visit and the version of a particular browser, so any benchmarks will be personalized and not universal. Only you can determine what's best to use for your personal browsing. Does that make any sense?

06-10-2004, 09:12 AM
Yellow's and Craig's comments above are very valid, and no one's having fun with you (yet). Since you already have 4 browsers loaded, and you are the one who's chasing the data, I suggest the following:

1) get a stopwatch and a data logging system (I like pencil+paper.app best, available at stationery stores everywhere)
2) find or create a few big, fat, table and picture laden pages.
3) click 'GO!' on the browser and stopwatch simultaneously.
4) repeat several times, always comparing apples to apples* so it's statistically valid. Try with javascript-rich pages, picture-laden pages, looooong text pages and so on.
5) record and tabulate the results. Make pretty graphs. Post them here and return some knowledge to the community. Maybe start your own poll here.

And remember the name at the top of this page - osxHINTS. It doesn't say Craig 'n Phil's one-click free answer zone, although that does happen a lot.

*groans permitted here, but it wan't intended.

06-11-2004, 04:56 AM
I'd like to do that, since it is always a hot topic, and decide independantly from apple what the fastest browser is, with descriptions etc to make the features a fair point. I dont see how speed could vary that much from machine to machine...and anyway any dramatic performance differences will be interesting anyway... I'll make it a summer project and post it on my website :) watch this space

06-11-2004, 09:40 AM
looking forward to it, please post the link

06-11-2004, 05:41 PM
And if you settle on Safari for "normal" Mac-based browsing, you can speed it up a tad (that's a very small amount) by telling the terminal: defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitInitialTimedLayoutDelay 0.25. I got that, and a good explanation of what that does, from: MacDevCenter.com: Speed up Safari [May. 21, 2004]http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/4924

06-11-2004, 09:25 PM
safari for speed - but keep a copy of explorer around (yuck) for those times when Safari comes up short.

06-12-2004, 08:24 AM

Maybe you'd like to check this one out.

Called Shiira, something in between safari and camino...

Haven't tried it myself yet, but heard some good things about it.



06-12-2004, 11:17 AM

06-16-2004, 08:13 PM
You will also have to test each browser at the same time of day to get a fair comparison. Broadband speed will vary day-to-day and hour-to hour, depending on the volume of internet traffic

06-16-2004, 09:41 PM
There is no single Fastest and Most Compatible browser, even on the PC side of the fenz:) though because it is a more monoplistic:) its usually IE6 or nothing :eek: :eek:

Most Sites tend to code for IE5 to IE6 PC first.... That said designers, design and then test. Good sites, IMHO test with all the major Browsers and versions on multiple platforms (PC, MAC, Linux, Unix etc.).

Problem is too many varibles for perfection, and too much desire to have Cool websites. One has to balance LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) aginst the look/functions you want.

In a word or two:) On OSX their is not one browser that will work 100 percent for every site and be the fastest too.

Safari is most folks current fav, but people use Netscape, Mozilla, firefox, Camino, Opera etc, etc. for various reasons.

I personally start with Safari but have to switch to other browsers for some sites and vs. versa.

You can go to Google and see browser use percentages by type and version to see what designers deal with.


Safari uses KHTML but is not broken out in the stats...

06-17-2004, 08:20 AM
There is no single Fastest and Most Compatible browser, even on the PC side of the fenz:)
----- Snip-----
Safari is most folks current fav, but people use Netscape, Mozilla, firefox, Camino, Opera etc, etc. for various reasons.

And, very unfortunately, the "various reasons" include that a number of secure sites will only function in IE. These include my online banking site, and although Webex will work on a Mac, it will only function properly in IE, to name only two. So, alas, I have IE installed even though I'm a committed Safari user on my Mac, and although I prefer Firefox on my Windows XP laptop (job requirement, not choice), I must have IE there too if for no other reasons that XP updates are integrated with it.

11-24-2007, 04:13 AM
If you're looking for pure unadulterated speed in a Mac web browser, choose either Safari or Camino.

Safari 3.04 is a good, but basic browser, with few useful plugins. The base of Safari, webkit (http://webkit.org/), is still under development, but at a slower rate than that of Mozilla Gecko and it's missing some big features.

Camino 1.53, build on Mozilla Gecko 1.8.1 (http://wiki.mozilla.org/Gecko) is just as fast as Safari 3.04, but has great search functionality (which comes from Mozilla's Find As You Type feature) which is great for finding links within a page and opening them by simply pressing Enter. Stability is great, although you won't get any plugin support on Camino. Another big big plus with Camino is its ad blocking feature, especially with its ability to block Flash animated ads, which are very difficult to ignore since they're bouncing around all the time.

You can read more about the fastest Mac browsers here (http://installingcats.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/camino-fastest-best-browser-on-mac-os-x-leopard/).

11-24-2007, 10:28 AM
I find Firefox really slow for downloading things (movies and images) onto the hard drive. Opera and Safari download fast in comparison. Things that can take two minutes to download on Firefox will just take two seconds to download with the other browsers, and I don't need a stopwatch to see the difference. Opera is really fast I've noticed for opening links. Camino seems a little slower, Safari is fast. Firefox is OK.

J Christopher
11-24-2007, 11:29 AM
I've yet to find a Mac browser that is consistently faster than Demeter (based on Shiira v.1.2). It has more features and customization options than Safari, faster than Safari, Opera or Camino, and FAR faster than Firefox. It offers the benefits of being a Cocoa based application.

Shiira is a great browser, but the support has been better since hurrikenux Creative renamed to Demeter and began support of Shiira v.1.2, for which the Shiira developers seem to have stopped supporting.

11-24-2007, 12:02 PM
Never having heard of it, I've just downloaded Demeter for a test drive. It does seem to be consistently faster than Camino. Haven't sorted out how to import my Camino bookmarks, but that might occur to me.

11-24-2007, 12:23 PM
I've switched from Shiira to Demeter after being underwhelmed with Shiira 2.x; Demeter isn't perfect (tendency to crash on waken-after-sleep) but it has most of what I liked about Shiira 1.x plus the ability to drag-and-drop text from the browser body.

If you can get your bookmarks exported to Safari, Demeter (like Shiira) can piggyback, using your Safari bookmarks without bothering to "import" them. It can do so with Firefox bookmarks also but doesn't do that for Camino, sorry.

11-24-2007, 12:57 PM
Camino can export its bookmarks as a document that Safari can import, so that's easy. I've done it.

11-24-2007, 01:14 PM
After playing with Demiter a bit, however, I'm back to Camino. Demiter doesn't do tabs the way I want them (no matter how I fiddle with the prefs) and it doesn't do ad blocking unless you supply the list of adds to block. Not good enough yet - fast for sure, but not quite there.

11-24-2007, 06:06 PM
I'm not sure how Demeter or Shiira are any faster than Safari, as they all use WebKit to render webpages.

11-24-2007, 07:53 PM
I think the answer is that Camino has a few more features and the code for these slows it down marginally. Otherwise you're right -- you wouldn't pick one or the other for the speed difference.

J Christopher
11-24-2007, 09:17 PM
I'm not sure how Demeter or Shiira are any faster than Safari, as they all use WebKit to render webpages.

I've always wondered that myself, but it has always been the case, since Shiira was pre-1.0 beta.

Jay Carr
11-24-2007, 10:29 PM
It's just streamlining the code as best you can, I would assume. Just because you use the same WebKit doesn't mean you implement it the same way.

I'm just waiting for the day when we don't even use browsers to use the web...

11-25-2007, 05:36 AM
As far as im aware, safari will always be the fastest browser, just because Apple make it and they know how to make it uber fast. Camino is faster than firefox because its native, but firefox is a very powerful browser which is still very fast and has loads of useful addons.

11-25-2007, 07:19 AM
yes, the reason why I am sticking to FireFox is because of the excellent plug in support and software development community...
I hope FireFox will one day become as fast as the other browsers...

11-25-2007, 08:02 AM
I like running Firefox but it it rather slow and unresponsive particularly when you start to add the plugins. I use Camino as my browser most of the time and am pleased with the results

11-25-2007, 03:49 PM
I'm not sure how this will affect us, but I heard that parts of Firefox for Mac have been completely rewritten, and it's now partly written in Cocoa. The beta version (3.0b1) seems a bit faster.

11-25-2007, 05:27 PM
Check out OmniWeb. http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omniweb/

I love it's tab feature...puts Safari tabs to shame. It's favorite bar expands to add more bars when you add lots of bookmarks. It's Workspaces is similar to Leopard's Spaces and really nice for projects. I'm not saying it's the fastest, but feature wise it's tops.

If you're going to use multiple browsers, I suggest getting IC Switch. I like the feature where it puts a small icon in the menu bar that allows you to toggle which application you want as default for email, web, FTP etc. Quick and easy way to change default application for testing purposes. http://flip.macrobyte.net/software/ic-switch_en

11-26-2007, 02:29 AM
I agree with the add-ons for Firefox. I can't live without the Unplug plugin for capturing videos and the Scrapbook add-on. I'll never lose a webpage because it became a dead link because I archive all my bookmarks with Scrapbook. Firefox's Bookmark system is the best too. Plus I like the tabs on my older version of Firefox (1.5). I don't lose track of tabs and I don't have to scroll left and right looking for them. I can keep 25 tabs open and this is what I often do. Safari and Camino, etc - you can't see tabs on your browser when you go over a certain number of them and have to click the arrow to see them. And it's harder to closer these tabs.

I've had lots of problems with Photobucket with Opera and with Safari, the "download more images" doesn't work on Safari, I'm restricted to downloading 3 at a time.

I find Camino the best for Photobucket though it often freezes with jumbo-sized images. So I find that even though Safari might be fast, I don't use it a lot. I use Firefox and Opera for browsing - Opera has even better tab features than Firefox - you can fit like 40 tabs on the browser window, and you have a choice of opening tabs in the background or not.

But Firefox is the best for bookmarking and archiving so this is my main browser.

If I want to download a file, I do it on Opera as it's very fast. (Firefox is too slow for this as I've said.) I keep Camino open for Photobucket. So I work with three windows (Firefox, Camino, Opera) open when I do my blogging (I download lots of images and videos when I work on my blogs). I use OS 10.39 so my browser versions might be older.

I haven't noticed much difference in speed with opening webpages but I personally find Opera and Safari the fastest. What I like about Firefox though is that you can see the scroll bar at the bottom so you can check if the page is loading and the progress of it. Opera and Safari (at least the versions I have) don't have that progress bar or not as good one as Firefox, and so they seem slower to me though they're not. I'm impatient and like to check often how the loading of a page is progressing. Without that visual cue I sometimes think Safari and Opera pages aren't loading and end up refreshing or clicking the link again which ends up slowing me down.

11-26-2007, 03:59 AM
I think Opera is fastest. Opera is safe, secure, powerful and fully customizable, the Opera Web browser is faster and more secure than other browsers available on the market. Opera delivers robust security and a far-richer feature set than any other Web browser and it's free.

11-27-2007, 11:06 PM
I agree that Opera is very good, I just wish:

- Photobucket worked properly on Opera
- it had a plugin for video downloads like Unplug (you have to look through the cache which takes longer)
- it had an add-on like Scrapbook which makes archiving SO easy

... then it would be the PERFECT web-browser.

02-18-2009, 06:46 AM
If you are okay with paying for a Web Browser, and really want better performance, then you may like to have a glance at OmniWeb 5.8. Its pros include better and faster browsing capabilities, and a whole lot of out-of-the-box features. The only con is that it costs $14.95. Hope this helps!