IE9 lags on popular websites: Report

For the top 200 Websites, the IE9 beta was just a hair faster than its predecessor on average first page load times

Speed is supposed to be a hallmark of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9, but the head of a Web optimization firm says improvements are negligible on the most popular Websites.

Joshua Bixby, president of Strangeloop, used Webpagetest to measure the performance of Internet Explorer versions six through nine (in beta), including video. For the top 200 Websites ranked on Alexa, Bixby found that the IE9 beta was just a hair faster than its predecessor on average first page load times, and a little bit slower on average first view renders.

On these measurements alone, Microsoft appears to have made its biggest advancements with Internet Explorer 8, not the latest version.

Hold on. What about JavaScript benchmarks that have pegged IE9 as considerably faster than IE8 and Firefox, and Microsoft's claims that its new "Chakra" JavaScript engine makes Websites faster and more responsive? Strangeloop Chief Technical Officer Kent Alstad doesn't think those claims come into play for many the Web's most popular sites.

"My conclusion is that IE9 is mostly aimed at HTML5 (especially CSS drawing) and JavaScript acceleration," he wrote in a a note to Bixby. "I suspect that these sites [the Alexa Retail 200], in attempts to be faster and more usable to more people, do not exploit these enhancements."

In other words, IE9's speed gains are focused new techniques, such as HTML5 and Ajax, which may become popular in the future. Take a small grain of salt with Bixby's conclusion: Strangeloop is in the business of optimizing Websites, so Bixby's test conveniently ties into his company's business.

In any case, IE9 has more going for it than page load times. The browser sports a new, minimalist user interface that's more in line with Chrome and Firefox 4, and it allows Windows 7 users to dock Websites in the taskbar. And according to some tests by Engadget, IE9 starts up faster than its predecessor -- but still slower than Chrome and Firefox -- and consumes less memory than Chrome. With all these improvements, IE9 feels faster even if individual Websites don't show it.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Microsoftbrowserssoftwareapplicationsmicrosoft internet explorer

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?