Since Google have launched their new browser "Chrome" a few days ago development in the world of Web browsers is becoming quite interesting. The new contender Chrome has already created a lot of buzz and includes a number of innovative features that will raise the innovation pressure for the other players. We wanted to know which one of the four most used browsers is the best for accessing PRTG Network Monitor's web interface which offers an ajaxified web interface experience.
Just last week we had added experimental support for the WebKit rendering engine (used by Safari and Chrome) to the latest beta of PRTG 7.0.9. So we could start right away testing Chrome against IE7, Safari 3.1 and Firefox 3.

The results in short:

  • Don't use IE7 with PRTG Network Monitor (or other websites with heavy Ajax/Javacript usage), it is simply the slowest browser by far
  • You can't go wrong using Firefox 3, it has the best overall experience
  • Safari seems to provide the fastest Javascript processing
  • No other browser manipulates DOM objects in the browser window as fast as Chrome
The plain numbers only tell about a speed difference of factor 4 between the fastest and the slowest browsers. From a subjective perspective (meaning: sitting in front of it and using PRTG's interface) the difference feels more like factor 10 to 20 between Chrome and IE7.


Because the support for WebKit (Safari/Chrome) is still experimental in PRTG the best choice right now is Firefox 3. The future seems to look bright for web based application users as faster browsers are coming up. Chrome has raised the bar for the others. Mozilla has already announced a new and improved Javascript engine for the next version of Firefox. Safari 4 is also expected to include a new Javascript engine. Note: We did not perform any speed tests with IE8 beta 2 yet, although support for IE8 has also been built into V7.0.9 of PRTG Network monitor as of last week. IE8 is expected to be on-par with Firefox 3, but the others are already going the next step...


Here are the detailed results of our runtime tests with various Javascript functions of the PRTG Network Monitor 7 web interface: Test 1: Installing various DOM events on the "group.htm" page:
  • Safari 3.1: 130 ms
  • Chrome: 170ms
  • Firefox 3 (with Firebug): 550ms
  • Firefox 3 (without Firebug): 170ms
  • IE7: 500ms
Test 2: "Tab switching" on the "group.htm" page (tabbing from from the sensor tree view to the "edit root group" page):
  • Safari 3.1: 90 ms
  • Chrome: 70ms
  • Firefox 3 (without Firebug): 110ms
  • IE7: 430ms
Tests were performed on a DELL Precision 390 (Intel Core 2 CPU X6800, 2.93 GHz, 4 GB RAM), all four browsers and the PRTG Core Server ran on the same system.

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