Thursday 27 January 2011

2011 Browser Usage Stats

Browser Coverage and Other Visitor Statistics

I like to regularly check one of my largest systems web traffic stats to see what kind of browsers our users are visiting with and I have previously posted reports which have showed IE maintaining its position at the top of the stats every time.

One of our sites is used by a large corporate company that heavily restricts the type of browser their workers can use to access the Internet which means that they have to use IE 6 but even accounting for that it surprising to see that IE 6 is still at the top of the browser usage report even though IE 8 has been out for a long time and IE 9 is on the way.

One other reason I can think of that explains why so many people are still using IE 6 is that it seems to be the useragent of choice for spoofers and hackers. I have an automated system that I have built that logs, identifies, and then bans these bad bots and users and I have built up quite a large database of known IP / Agents so I can regularly check to what kind of tricks they are up to.

The latest batch of hackbots that I have spotted are using stripped down URL Encoded HTML without quotes for attributes and without protocols in the links e.g


When URL Decoded becomes

<iframe src=//>

Even though there are no quotes around the src attribute and no protocol at the beginning of the URL this HTML will still work and is a common technique used by minifiers (including Google) to cut down on the size of HTML files.

Obviously the whole point of this is to beat injection and hack tests that rely on pattern matching in a similar way to those sql injection attacks that are all uP aNd DoWn aiming to beat people who have forgotten to make their systems sql injection detection routines case insensitive.

Any how here are the latest browser usage reports for the first month of 2011

Top Browsers

BrowserUsage %
IE 6.048.12
IE 8.016.04
IE 7.012.14
Firefox 3.66.71
Chrome 8.04.82
IE 5.54.31
Safari 5.01.83
Firefox 3.01.06
Firefox 3.50.97
Safari 4.00.41
Opera 9.00.36
Opera 8.00.36
iPhone 4.20.34
Firefox 2.00.31
Mozilla 1.90.26
Iceweasel 3.00.26
iPhone 4.10.22
IE 9.00.21

Top Operating Systems

Operating SystemUsage %
iPhone OSX1.23


ct web design said...

48% using IE6??? Where are you getting that number? Gonna need a source cited here!

Rob Reid said...

As I explained in the article all my browser usage stats are taken from one of the large systems I work on and I explain some of the reasons why IE6 is so high e.g clients at one of the largest companies are not allowed to install any other browser apart from IE6. Also a lot of spoofers, script kiddies and hackbots like to pretend to be IE6 although I have tried filtering out known bad bots as much as possibly could before reporting.

This system runs over 200+ sites and yesterday logged 694,918 page loads (not hits)

ct web design said...

Just wanted to throw this out here:
Thats a giant difference between the numbers from your system. I had a customer refer to your numbers as a reason why we should support IE6 in our coding, but I can't justify that.

Rob Reid said...

Cheers for the link.

As I said the issue with IE6 is mainly down to large companies who have built intranet systems or internet sites in IE6 some time ago and are loath to update because of the time, expense and support requests they know they will have to deal with due to end users asking where the menu bar has disappeared to and so on.

Because Microsoft has said they will continue to support it until 2014 they have little impetus to change and this is why IE8 had to come up with so many workarounds for these large intranet sites that will basically continue to use IE6 until they are forced not to.

I wouldn't expect to see similar results to my own stats on a wider scale unless they were for similar types of site (e.g jobboards) but I suspect that the stats from W3C schools are not indicative of the true figures either.

I am making an educated guess here but I reckon the browser breakdown goes pretty much along these lines:

IE 6 - large corporates with old code, older PC users who have not updated their browser since purchasing their computer many years back and people who honestly think the little blue e explorer icon really is the internet.

IE 7,8 people who still think the little blue e explorer icon is the internet but have bought their PC's more recently or have had windows updates installed. Developers who hate the browser but are forced to use it to ensure their code works in it.

Firefox - More technical minded people including web developers and designers who moved to Firefox sometime back due to the great plugin support and its support for standards. Maybe some older people who have watched an episode of Click on BBC news one night or have suffered a previous virus infection due to IE and have had their more technical minded children who cleaned up the mess for them convince them that the little blue e is not really the internet and that the little red fox can still give you access to Friends Re-United just without all the virus infections.

Chrome / Safari - Developers like myself who moved from Firefox once it became too slow due to all the plugins I had installed. Designers who use Macs. Techies who like the simplicity and the speed and those developers who have worked out that the inbuilt developer toolbar is just as good as Firebug but without the hanging.

Opera - People who just like to be different :) Nothing wrong with the browser at all (haven't looked lately though since Opera 10)

I am guessing that the large majority of users who fall into the IE 6-7-8 category (non technical minded people) would never ever venture onto the W3Schools website and would not even know what CSS or XHTML was if twenty dummies guide books fell on top of them. Therefore I doubt their stats are that much more accurate of the web browsing crowd in general as they are using their own log files to generate the stats so the type of visitor to their site (developers and designers) will affect the browser usage stats.

Personally I use Chrome for all my surfing and web development unless I need specific plugins like the webdev toolbar, hackbar or HTTP Fox etc then I will use Firefox. I have Opera, Safari, Lynx, Sea Monkey and even NN4 installed but rarely use any of them apart from the odd test.

I have XP so I don't have IE 9 as of yet only IE8 which I cannot even use as it crashes my PC whenever I try to open the developer toolbar to do anything useful. I have seen IE9 in action on someone else's PC and it looked pretty fast.

Anyway thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

I think you should place flashing red text stating your stats are NOT the norm by any means what so ever. 48% for IE6, lol!!! Try 2.5%. :)

Rob Reid said...

Where have I said the stats were for the whole country/world??

I think the first two paragraphs explain exactly where the stats are coming from and I also go on to explain the reasons why IE6 is shown so high i.e hackers/scrapers use it as their browser of choice and large companies that use Intranets are still stuck with IE6.

Read the article first before making a stupid comment please.

Anonymous said...

You were clear about your sampling method. I've followed the W3School stats for several years, but that site gets a technically skewed readership. I recently found the following site that collects statistics from a broader range of sites and is probably a more accurate global representation.