Web Browser Support (A Decade On)

It’s been just over ten years since we dropped support for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 on our website. In that time, the Internet and the web have changed massively—far too much to go into detail here, but one aspect where there’s been a big shift is web browser usage.

Back in 2011, Internet Explorer was the predominantly-used browser on the market, with around 45% of the market share. Chrome was just over two years old, and had a relatively small share, with around 10% of the market.

Since then, the tables have turned, and now Chrome is by far leading the pack with around 70% worldwide market share. In fact, browser market share has largely been flipped on its head.

In the UK, market share now looks very different:

  1. Chrome: 49%
  2. Safari: 33%
  3. Edge: 6%
  4. Firefox: 4%

Other big browser news has included:

What’s Changing For Venture Banners?

While the venturebanners.co.uk website is still largely the same under the hood and continues to serve us well, we have recently launched our new checkout process. It fixes several annoyances from the old checkout all at once, but it was primarily introduced to fully support Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for more secure payments.

Since we have made use of much newer technologies to build the new checkout—both behind the scenes and on the front-end—it made sense to re-evaluate our web browser support.

As global support for all versions of Internet Explorer have largely been dropped, and after monitoring market share on our own website, we have followed suit and are no longer supporting any version of Internet Explorer. This means version 11, first released in October 2013, and any older versions are not considered or tested when developing our websites.

In the same way that versions 6 and 7 were holding things back in 2011, Internet Explorer 11 is now in that position by today’s standards. The same holds true for legacy versions of Microsoft Edge, of which version 18 (originally released in November 2018) was the last.

We publish our browser support at venturebanners.co.uk/web-browser-support, and this page is updated as new versions are released.

We have also taken the position of only supporting recent versions of modern browsers. As things stand, that means for browsers with a four-week release cycle (Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Opera), we only officially support the latest major stable version and the two previous major versions.

That covers between eight to twelve weeks (or two to three months) of browser lifecycle.

For browsers with a slower release cycle of major versions, such as Safari, we are also currently supporting the latest stable version and two versions back. This may be reduced in time, once adoption has shifted to the recently-launched Safari 15.

How It Affects Customers

In the vast majority of cases, customers won’t notice anything different on our main website. For nearly two years, customers running very old browsers will have already seen an advisory banner on our website, though this is purely informational and hasn’t had any direct affect on the website. The hope was that it would encourage users to upgrade, and slowly but surely, we have seen a shift to new browsers.

For the small percentage with unsupported browsers, they will unfortunately see our own warning page when attempting to checkout. While we don’t yet prevent any of these customers using the checkout, we do advise that the checkout will likely not function as intended, and may appear visually broken. This is simply a case of old browsers not supporting the required new features. In these cases, we recommend returning to the website with an upgraded browser.

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

If you’re running Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Opera, on supported operating system, and your browser hasn’t auto-updated in the last eight weeks, it’s almost certain that something is very, very wrong, and your machine should be immediately checked for malware. It’s likely that something nasty is preventing your machine from updating your operating system and web browsers.

In most browsers, you can go to menu/Help, then About. This page will show you what version you are running, and also attempt to check for updates. If you see errors here, don’t ignore them! Instead, speak to someone able to help fix your machine.

No, Really – You Should Upgrade

Unfortunately, we still see a handful of customers using extremely out-of-date operating systems and browsers, such as Chrome 49 or Firefox 52 on Windows XP. These are the last-ever versions provided for the long-unsupported Windows XP. Chrome 49 was released in March 2016, and Firefox 52 in March 2017.

Other examples are old versions of Mac OS X we occasionally still see running old browsers, like 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion, 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite, 10.11 El Capitan, 10.12 Sierra and 10.13 High Sierra.

It can’t be emphasised enough how dangerous it is to use an operating system and web browser years old with numerous unpatched vulnerabilities discovered since. We don’t have the space or time here to go into details, but if you’re still using this kind of software, we’d urge you to invest the time into modernising and securing your setup.

For more information on Windows XP, see Which Browser Is Most Secure on an Old Windows XP System? Spoiler alert: none!

So What’s Next?

Thankfully, with the vast majority of users already using (and keeping up-to-date with) the latest and greatest browsers, there are far less compatibility issues these days. The hope is that neither we nor our customers will need to consider browser support, versions, or compatibility anywhere near as much in the future.

Future versions of our websites will continue to only support modern browsers, and this policy will allow us to develop with modern features, develop more quickly, and deliver a consistent experience to all of our customers.

As always, if you need to upgrade, or you’re interested in switching web browsers, here are the ones we’d recommend today: