IE8: Fastest Browser in 'Real World Test', says MS

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has released a study suggesting Internet Explorer 8 is faster than its rivals. The firm used a different testing method than most independent studies, but insists it is a more accurate and realistic way to measure speed.

According to Microsoft, many testing systems steer clear of using live websites because there are too many variables which can affect speed. For example, the website itself may be experiencing particularly heavy traffic.

Thus, most studies concentrate on a particular aspect of loading a webpage, such as how long it takes to receive any javascript information. Microsoft argues this isn't realistic: ordinary web users simply care about how quickly they can see the information on the page.

The Eyes Have It

The firm says its own tests are much more practical because they count a page 'loaded' once you can read and interact with it, whereas some tests use an automated process which doesn't count it as loaded until every piece of data is transferred, even if it doesn't affect the user experience. (Source:

Other tweaks Microsoft made in its testing included disabling all other applications on the computer so that the results aren't affected by any strain other applications put on the computer. Given Microsoft's insistence on realism, that's an odd decision: real users usually use their browser alongside other applications. Indeed, how much memory Internet Explorer uses compared with other browsers is a relevant issue in measuring performance.

IE8 A Mozilla-Killer?

Using this process, Microsoft tested the 25 most popular websites, videoing the experience so that they could go back and get split-second results of when the pages had actually loaded. It found 12 sites were quickest in Internet Explorer 8, nine were fastest when using Google's new Chrome, and just four were quickest with Mozilla Firefox. (Source:

There were some surprising results throughout, particularly the fact that Firefox was the fastest when loading Google's Chrome was quickest in loading Microsoft's And lastly, Internet Explorer was fastest when users clicked their way to

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