The Best of the Tech Helpline: Four Reasons Why You Need to Update Your Browser Today

 November 11, 2019
Best of the Tech Helpline

How old is your browser? If you are using Firefox or Chrome on your desktop or laptop computer, are you sure you have the latest version? One in three callers to the Tech Helpline use a version of Firefox that’s at least seven years old! Why should you be concerned about searching the web using an outdated version of any of the popular browsers?

This article reviews four reasons to make certain your web browser is updated today.

1. Safety risk

Old browsers use outdated encryption — and that’s what protects you and your computer from harm. By not having the most updated version of a web browser, you are exponentially increasing the risk of being exposed to viruses, adware, malware and even ransomware by simply ending up on the wrong website.

Older browsers also are prone to have glitches — also called “bugs.” Software bugs in your browser can cause your web browser and even your computer to freeze or crash. You can fix these bugs quickly with a simple browser update.

2. Faster-loading webpages

You may not realize it, but an older browser will slow you down. If you find yourself frequently waiting for a webpage to load, your browser may be a candidate for an update.

Browser technology has improved vastly over the last five years, and it’s getting better all the time. What good is paying for high-speed internet if the browser you are using is not loading each webpage as fast as the newest version?

And if an older browser is freezing or crashing, how much time are you wasting rebooting your system just to surf the web? Updating a browser can be the solution for a faster online experience.

3. Everything works

Webpages are becoming more sophisticated, and that means different types of media files are being embedded inside these pages. Videos, PDFs and new types of graphic images often are only fully compatible with an updated browser.

If you are seeing blank spaces on a webpage where an image or video likely should be, it’s likely your older browser is causing the problem. By using the newest version of a web browser, you are more likely to have an online experience where everything works. Older browsers are not compatible with a lot of new technology. The result is a very frustrating online experience because you are missing out and not getting all the information available. An update can fix the compatibility problem.

4. Never-ending updates

The best thing about a new web browser is that it’s supported, meaning when a new virus or bug is discovered, an update is issued. If your browser is out of date, that’s not the case. In fact, many browsers no longer are supported.

For example, if you are still using Windows XP or Vista, and you are using Internet Explorer versions 8-11 or Firefox, none of these older browsers are supported.

And when you update to the newest version of your favorite browser, choose “automatic updates” to make certain that your browser will protect you from new nefarious online threats and fix any software bugs quickly.

This contributing article is from the Tech Helpline, a service of the WRA.

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