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Why doesn't my site work properly in older browsers, sorry ancient browsers?

Posted by Roar Admin on June 4, 2014

The year is 2014, The question from a client... "I just tested my site in Internet Explorer 7 and 8 and it's not working as I expected, what gives"

Some background into todays modern websites.

Most sites built in 2013 and 2014 take advantage of a myriad of new front-end "frameworks". These frameworks help today's websites be more interactive and help them to be "responsive" in nature, that is to be nicely viewed on all kinds of devices (ie. desktops, tablets and smart phones).

Now what does the web browser have to do with all of this. Well it's the engine that allows you to view an actual website. It takes all the behind the scenes html and code and renders or shows it to you, and hopefully as it was intended to be viewed by the web designer.

The problem with browsers:

The most popular web browsers are Mozilla FireFox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. These make up approximately 95% or more of the browsers used by people online. There are many others but these dominate the category.

Each browser is not made equal and unfortunately sometimes a website might look a bit different on say Firefox vs Internet Explorer and that's because they are made and programmed by different companies and organizations but still trying to keep to a standard.

The many things that the browser competitors all have in common are...

1. They are free to download - you don't pay anything

2. They update their code regularly - this is due mainly for security purposes as well as keeping up with todays modern web technologies. So it's in your best interest to keep your browser up-to-date if you want to experience the web like you are supposed to!

So getting back to the question of  why certain sites don't look good on certain older browsers. 

If for example (in 2014) you were still using IE 7 or 8 (both are almost extinct now) and you go online, you'll have a heck of a time viewing most websites properly.  You'll likely find many glitches, things don't look right at all and most sites would appear to be a mess. This isn't the web designers fault, it's the browsers fault (somewhat) and the users fault for using such a dated browser. 

Most often you are prompted by your browser to update it when a new version is available and honestly you should always do this. Each and every new browser version typically provides you with much better security and allows you to view websites as they are intended.

It's a question we receive quite often and hopefully this helps shed a bit of light on things.

Just an FYI for all you people still using an outdated browser, here are the latest browser versions and links where you can download the latest browsers (for free)

Google Chrome: (version 35): free download link

Internet Explorer: (version 11) free download link

Mozilla Firefox: (version 29.0.1) free download link

Apple Safari: (version 5)  free download link