Five free alternative web browsers for Windows

There are other alternative web browsers that deserve a fair look. Here are five solid alternative browser choices.

Considering that the World Wide Web is such an important part of our lives, using the right browser to service our needs is one of the most important components for using the Internet. Aside from the standard fare of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome, there are other alternative web browsers that deserve a fair look. Some of them are based on pre-existing major browser projects like Chromium, while others strive for a purist "from scratch" approach. For the Windows platform, here are five solid alternative choices to the browser scene.

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Five Apps

1. Avant Browser

Those looking to have it all, and then some, need to look no further than the Avant Browser. In addition to the tri-core switchable rendering engine capability, which allows you to switch between Trident, Gecko, and Webkit rendering engines effortlessly, there simply is no shortage of settings and tweaks at your disposal. You can set URL compatibility by browser engine, create mouse gestures for seamless navigation, store passwords in a password protected cache and even upload bookmarks and browser settings to the cloud for quick restoration later.


2. Maxthon

This Chinese-made web-browser has been turning heads in recent years, with its superb attention to detail and useful extras. Three features that stand out the most in Maxthon are the extension sidebar, which grants the user speedy access to installed add-ons, a very polished download manager that can upload downloads to a cloud storage area for safe keeping, and a multi-PC browser sync. Now, thanks to their massive push into the smartphone and tablet arena, Maxthon will even sync browser data to supported mobile devices.


3. SRWare Iron

Security-minded individuals that value their privacy will appreciate what this next choice has on tap. German software house SRWare has a browser based on Chromium called Iron. It does away with any unique identifying information that can tie your browser back to you, as well as disabling Omnibox auto-complete and other Google-specific code. Yet in spite of all these changes, the browser looks and functions virtually the same to standard Google Chrome, meaning all your browser extensions will work just fine.


4. Midori

Sometimes, simple really is better, and Midori is out to turn simplicity into an art form. Although you won't be looking to use this browser on rather plugin-heavy sites or for a large variety of extensions, Midori is quite swift at rendering standard web pages with JavaScript, HTML5, and other standards-compliant frameworks. Development is still rather young compared to other browsers, but its capabilities grow each day, and it's rather impressive work coming from a smaller open-source team.


5. Tor Browser

And finally, when you need a browser that makes obfuscating web traffic easy as pie, Tor Browser should be considered heavily. Several notable features are the portable EXE format for easy transport on a flash drive, the inclusion of several security conscious plugins like NoScript and HTTPS Anywhere, and the Vidalia Control Panel, which allows you to refresh your online "identity" and monitor bandwidth usage on the Tor network quickly and easily.