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How to Benchmark Your Web Browser: 4 Free Tools

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Whether we’re comparing Firefox to Chrome or testing the real-world speed benefits of a 64-bit browser, I see a lot of comments saying one browser feels faster. When people compare web browsers, they don’t usually perform rigorous benchmarks.

Instead of trusting your gut and worrying about the placebo effect, use these browser benchmark tools to compare browsers. If you’ve seen news articles comparing web browser performance, this is usually all they do – run the browsers through these tests and create pretty graphs.

Peacekeeper

Peacekeeper is a browser benchmark created by Futuremark, developers of the popular 3DMark and PCMark benchmark tools for PC gaming and general PC usage. Unlike the other browser benchmark tools here, which each come from a specific camp of the browser wars, Peacekeeper was created by a neutral third-party, hence its name.

All you have to do is visit the Peacekeeper website and click the “Test your browser” button on the page to get started. You can benchmark any type of browser, including one running on a smartphone or tablet.

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Peacekeeper runs your browser through a JavaScript benchmark that tests rendering, DOM update speed, web worker threads – which allows multi-threaded JavaScript – and other features.

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Peacekeeper also tests for HTML5 features like WebGL, for browser-based 3D graphics, and HTML5 video. It’s the most consumer-focused, polished tool here, with its graphics, animations, and videos.

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The tests take about five minutes. After they’re done, you’ll get a benchmark number, which you can compare to other devices. If you’re comparing different browsers on your computer, run the test in each browser and compare the numbers (higher is better!) to see which is actually faster.

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SunSpider

SunSpider is a browser benchmark created by the WebKit team – WebKit being the rendering engine that powers Google Chrome, Apple Safari, the default browsers on Android and iOS, and others. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Start SunSpider now!” link to run SunSpider.

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Like the other browser benchmarks here, SunSpider isn’t as “pretty” as Peacekeeper – you won’t find any animations or 3D graphics.

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SunSpider won’t show you any arbitrary score numbers, just the amount of time each benchmark took to run (lower is better). If you want to compare browsers, you’ll have to do it yourself by performingtwo separate tests and pasting the URL of another test result into the text field.

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Interestingly enough, my (unscientific) sample test found that Firefox 11 was actually faster than Chrome 18. Not the result I would have expected, considering that this benchmark came from the WebKit camp!

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V8 Benchmark Suite

The V8 Benchmark Suite is used by Google to tune V8, the JavaScript engine used in Google Chrome. It’s a quick benchmark that starts as soon as you load the page.

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Given the benchmark’s links to Google Chrome, it would be fair to wonder whether it’s the best method of comparing performance across different browsers. It provides a score – again, bigger is better.

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Dromaeo

Dromaeo is Mozilla’s benchmark. It uses some of its own tests, as well as tests taken from SunSpider and V8. The test takes significantly longer to run than the others – around fifteen minutes.

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You’ll see the number of runs per second for each test. More is better, of course. There’s no easy way to compare two different test runs, but you can bookmark a test run and revisit it later to compare the results manually.

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Let us know how the benchmarks stack up for you – does a 64-bit browser actually offer improved performance on your system? I’m dying to know!

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 04/16/12

Comments (15)

  1. Sarris

    I’m running a heavily customized Gateway system w/ an I5 processor, 8GB ram & 4gb Readyboost, and an Nvidia 9800 GT video card w/ Windows 7 x64 SP1.

    My Peacekeeper speed shows as 2364 w/ Pale Moon x64 and 1376 w/ IE 9 x64.

    So……. Pale Moon x64, at least on my machine, is almost twice as fast as IE 9.

  2. Sarris

    Also, 6939 on V8 Benchmark Suite

  3. Phuktifino

    Peacekeeper on Chromium 20.0.1103.0 result 3624 6/7

  4. cam2644

    These are all interesting tests. I find little difference in speed etc between Firefox and Chrome but I’ll stick with Firefox because I am concerned about data collection on Chrome by Google for commercial – and for now legal -purposes. Firefox -Mozilla- have no commercial gain to be made from your browsing.

  5. andybrmn

    When considering a browser for personal use, if I need a benchmark to determine which is faster, then browser speed won’t be the deciding issue. The decision will be based on which browser does best what I need to do and which has the least annoying annoyances. Now, if I can detect a speed difference without bench-marking, that is a whole different story. I began using Chrome because it was noticeably faster than my previous browser. I stay with Chrome because it does not annoy me.

  6. Rodger

    Peacekeeper
    Chrome 18.0.1025.162m – Score 4549
    Waterfox 64bit 11.0 – Score 2713
    IE 9 64 bit – Score 1743

  7. Rodger

    V8 Benchmark Suite
    Chrome 18.0.1025.162m – Score 13478
    Waterfox 64bit 11.0 – Score 8519
    IE 9 64 bit – Score 811

  8. BigSean

    PeaceKeeper was made by future mark who are heavily sponsored by Google so it always shows Chrome
    as being the best regardless of which browsers you benchmark against. Surprised no one on here knew that!

  9. Brian

    I have the latest Browsers on Win7 quad core. 32 bit only – 64 bit is limited. Chrome trounces Firefox by a wide margin (2714 to 1543. IE 1440 with only 3/7 HTML5). I have about 10 Firefox addons like Better Privacy, Print Edit and Adblock so am not sure if the addons make a difference to the score. I will re-benchmark with addons disabled.
    I like Firefox for other reasons. Firstly, I use Roboform a lot and it does not offer to autofill on Chrome. So Chrome is painful for that reason. Secondly, Ghostery and Better Privacy work on Firefox and not Chrome. Thirdly I like the toolbars much better.
    As regards Google tracking, you can turn it off.

    https://www.google.com/history/ and clear it and pause it. Won’t track you any longer.

    Also for targeted ads:

    http://www.google.com/settings/ads/preferences/

  10. johnH

    ty for the tip bigsean; but i just got this:

    Opera 11.62 Click for details 2054

    Chrome 18.0.1025.152 Click for details 862

    but its true, nowdays theres more to browser than speed

  11. twistedvincent

    Peacekeeper:
    Firefox 11 – 1875
    Chrome 18.0.1 – 3109
    Cool Novo(Chromeplus) – 3212
    Opera 11.62 – 3068
    Palemoon X64 – 2045
    IE9 – 1053
    ———————————————————–
    Sunspider
    Firefox 11 – 214
    Chrome 18.0.1 – 227
    Cool Novo(Chromeplus) – 234
    Opera 11.62 – 227
    Palemoon X64 – 211
    IE9 – 925
    ———————————————————–
    V8
    Firefox 11 – 7560
    Chrome 18.0.1 – 8925
    Cool Novo(Chromeplus) – 9314
    Opera 11.62 – 4660
    Palemoon X64 – 6185
    IE9 – 538

    What can I say…I was bored….

  12. Roi

    Chrome 19
    — Peacekeeper: 4348
    — SunSpider: 144.6
    — V8: 17277

  13. rocky

    thanks for sharing the information about the How to Benchmark Your Web Browser: 4 Free Tools

  14. cityboy3

    Is it just me r all these benchmarks from GOGGLE and FIRE FOX things that make you go mmmmmmmm!!!!

  15. anonymouse

    benchmark test software or not Opera is the best because of all the features being built in rather than Addons (ala Firefox) and no data collection (ala Chrome)

    anonymouse

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