The other day I sent out a tweet asking what everyone thought was the best source for browser usage stats.
I wanted to know if there were any sources I’d not yet heard of that offer reliable global statistics for usage stats for various browsers.
Well, I didn’t get too many responses to the tweet, but I decided to put together my own list of sources for reliable browser usage stats.
Analytics for the Existing Site
If you are redesigning, realigning, adding to, or maintaining a website or web app that already has an established audience, then the #1 place you should look for browser usage statistics is in the existing analytics data of that website.
But what if you want some general stats for a project not yet built? Well, in addition to doing research on the market and audience you’re targeting, there are a couple of sources you may want to use as a basis for deciding on what browsers you want to support.
StatCounter Global Stats
How Does StatCounter Compile its Data?
Stats are based on aggregate data collected by StatCounter on a sample exceeding 15 billion pageviews per month collected from across the StatCounter network of more than 3 million websites.
How Does Net Applications Compile its Data?
We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on-demand network of live stats customers. The data is compiled from approximately 160 million visitors per month. The information published is an aggregate of the data from this network of hosted website statistics.
How Does W3Counter Compile its Data?
This report was generated … based on the last 15,000 page views to each website tracked by W3Counter. W3Counter’s sample currently includes 47,262 websites. The browser market share graph includes data from all versions of the named browser families, not only the top 10 as listed below.
How Does StatOwl Compile its Data?
Our data is made up of an average of 28 million unique visitors per month to the network of web sites that we collect data from. We do our best to collect data only from web sites that have a broad appeal taking things like target market, audience, geographic location and type of web site into consideration. We attempt to cover a good mix of all of these indicators to provide as accurate a look as possible into Internet browsing trends.
How Does Clicky Compile its Data?
Marketshare is calculated from over 300 million daily page views across the 300,000+ web sites that use Clicky Web Analytics.
What About W3schools?
Unfortunately, if you do a Google search for the phrase “browser usage stats”, the #1 result will be the browser stats page from W3schools. And it’s very likely that many developers are using those stats as a guide for new projects.
How does W3schools compile its data?
W3Schools is a website for people with an interest for web technologies. These people are more interested in using alternative browsers than the average user. The average user tends to the browser that comes preinstalled with their computer, and do not seek out other browser alternatives. These facts indicate that the browser figures above are not 100% realistic. Other web sites have statistics showing that Internet Explorer is a more popular browser.
Sadly, that quote appears buried near the bottom of their stats page. Thus, many developers use W3schools’ stats without considering where the data comes from.
This is not to say, however, that their data is useless. Far from it. It’s quite relevant for developers creating sites and applications geared at a tech-savvy audience. So it is useful, but clearly should not be the first result in a Google search.
Important Note: When I linked to W3schools’ stats page, I added
rel="nofollow" to the link. If you ever link to their stats page, you should do the same. W3schools has nothing to do with the W3C, and there are many better and more accurate web development resources that you can link to if the need arises.
Know of Any Other Reliable Sources?
Much of the stuff I’ve compiled in this post was taken from this article on Wikipedia, but I’ve tried to summarize it here in a more digestable and easy-to-access format.
If you have any other sites or apps that provide good sources for web browser usage stats, let me know in the comments and I’ll add some links at the end of this post for future reference.