Microsoft's newest browser promises faster page load speeds. Does Internet Explorer 8.0 deliver? We put it to the test against the latest version of Firefox - Mozilla Firefox 3.0.

Microsoft made the final version of its latest web browser, Internet Explorer 8, available this month. It's packed with a healthy number of new features and even makes security a top propriety.

But just as important as all that is browsing speed, is how quickly IE8 can render your favourite websites. To get an idea of how IE8 compares, we put it to the test.

Our speed-test methodology

In our browser speed comparison, we pitted a near-final build of Internet Explorer 8 against Firefox 3.0.7, the current non-beta version of Mozilla's browser. We used a set of nine popular websites in our testing including Amazon, MySpace, Yahoo, YouTube, eBay and Wikipedia. To ensure we could gather as accurate page-loading times as possible, we recorded our testing sessions for review later on.

We loaded each site 10 times in each of the browsers and repeated the process the following day to rule out any network traffic or server issues. Prior to each test run, we cleared the browsers' caches as well. We also repeated the load tests to ensure that we had sufficient data to identify loading speed trends.

To ensure consistent results, we performed testing on a fresh Windows Vista installation, and we reinstalled the operating system before each round of testing. Additionally, we removed the two best and two worst scores for each page load test to produce more consistent results.

Browser testing can be tricky, as different browsers measure page loading progress differently, so getting a read of page load times strictly by the browser's progress bar could result in inaccurate or inconsistent results. Have all the images appeared? Are there elements of the page that have yet to load even though the browser's status indicator suggests otherwise? These are questions we take into account when testing browsers.

Given this, we took into account visual indications of a page's loading progress, rather than relying on what the browser's progress bars told us.

NEXT PAGE: The results

  1. We put these browsers through their paces
  2. Browser speed test results