Why browser speed tests fail

We’ve all heard of browser speed tests that claim different things: “Firefox is the fastest”, “Safari crushes the competition”, “Google Chrome is faster than a potato”, whatever. The truth is, none of these browsers is faster than the other, save for IE, which sucks. Why?

Many browser speed tests are held in laboratory-standard conditions: same model computers, same programs installed, same OS, same everything, save for the browser. The only manipulated variable is the browser being used.

From a scientific viewpoint, this seems like a fairly reliable way to determine browser speed, but in the real world, this is probably the worst. We don’t all own spanking clean computers that are the same in every detail! The truth is, every person’s computer is different. Thus, Safari might run blazing fast on one computer while on another, it crawls slower than a slug in a salt bath.

In conclusion, you shouldn’t trust browser speed tests because they’re all set in non-real-life conditions. What you should do is run a speed test on your own computer under real-life conditions and see which one’s the fastest.

And the next time your friend comes to you with a claim that “X speed test proves that Y browser is the fastest,” now you can explain.