Contrary to popular belief, we certainly have no shortage of Internet browser options. Sure, if you’re a Microsoft Windows user you’re probably using Internet Explorer, or IE for short, but did you know that you have a choice?

I started my surfing career on, ahem, AOL (no comments please). That didn’t last long though! I quickly realized that I could connect to AOL, minimize AOL and open Internet Explorer (IE) to view the World Wide Web. A browser is simply a window that you look out of, from your computer, to view the Internet. It’s a program that runs on your computer, like Word or iTunes.

As time went on I found other browsers like Netscape Navigator and Opera. I seemed to always go back to IE though. It was familiar, it was already installed on my Windows machine and it just worked with web pages.

About three years ago I started using Mozilla Firefox. It was FAST! It was SECURE! Viruses that easily found their way on to your system through IE weren’t getting past Firefox. Network Administrators and geeks loved it! The only problem was that normal people didn’t know about it. I mean it’s not like you would see a commercial on TV for Mozilla Firefox, right?

My love of trying new things out eventually landed me on a browser called Chrome. Chrome was developed from the good folks at Google and, being a Google fan, I had to give it a shot. WOW! I thought Firefox was fast. Chrome blows it out of the water! Chrome also has “extensions” which are little plug-ins to enhance your browsing experience.

Every now and then I run into a website that requires Internet Explorer to function correctly so I found an extension called “IE Tab”. It allows me to open a tab within Chrome that functions like IE.

In short, there are too many browsers out there to mention here but if you’re looking to enhance your Internet experience I would suggest downloading and installing Chrome. Be careful venturing outside the top 5 browsers though. Keeping your computer safe depends heavily on whether your browser can fight off attacks from websites your “kids” visit.

(The opinions and comments are the author’s and not necessarily those of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®).