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Web Browser Usage

While cleaning my office, I found some ancient web server logs. I started playing with them and realized I could run a web browser chart to see how popular various web browsers really are. The site these logs are generated from is a small site that is not actively updated any longer. I don’t want to mention the site URL as that would bias any new results that I may analyze. Here are the specifics for March 2001 and December 2005:

Browser March 2001 December 2005
Other/Unknown 3.0 9.6
Netscape 16.1 1.7
Safari 2.1
Opera 0.4 0.5
Mozilla 1.7 1.4
Firefox 9.4
MS Internet Explorer 78.8 75.3

thumbnail image of web browser usage for site 1

It is interesting to note that:

  • MS IE usage has only lost a little bit of status from where they were in March 2001.
  • MS IE peaked in April 2003 with 90.5% of traffic.
  • Firefox first appeared in October 2003.
  • Firefox peaked at 10.1% in November 2005.
  • Safari first appeared in January 2003.
  • Safari peaked at 2.7%, also in November 2005.
  • Netscape was at 16.1% in March 2001, and has been declining ever since.
  • Opera ranged from 0.4% to 1.3%, although hasn’t been over 1.0% since April 2002. The release of Opera as free without ads in September 2005 doesn’t appear to have made a difference.
  • There are many new browsers available, such as PDAs, phones, Linux-based browsers. For web designers, I see this as proof that designs should be as standards based as possible. Designing for any one web browser is an exercise in futility and headaches.

In March 2001, the site in question had 4,055 unique visitors (4,959 visits) who viewed 9,752 pages. In December 2005, the site had 3,090 unique visitors in March 2001 (4,413 visits) who viewed 11,835 pages.

The analysis was performed using AWstats, specifically Advanced Web Statistics 6.5 (build 1.857). AWstats removes spiders and robots from its analysis.