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Why it’s time to kill off Internet Explorer 6

death_to_ie6(Don’t know if you’re using IE6? You can check by opening up IE and going to Help–>About Internet Explorer. If you’re using anything less than 7 (and really, you ought to be on 8 by now), you need to upgrade. You MUST (yes, I’m yelling) upgrade. You can get the latest version of Internet Explorer here .)

“You might be asking yourself two questions right about now: What’s so bad about IE6? And why do so many people still use it? The answer to the first question is relatively simple: Internet Explorer 6 is outdated technology in a rapidly-changing Internet landscape. Imagine trying to use the social web, Microsoft Office, iTunes, IM, your video games, and all of your desktop apps…with a computer from 2001 (20 GB of space, 256 MB of RAM, anyone?). It’s the same thing: a great deal of new web technology is simply incompatible with IE6.”–Ben Parr,  “IE6 Must Die for the Web to Move On.”

In other words, if you want to get the most out of the web, you can’t be using 8-year old technology; not when the web changes minute-to-minute.   As Parr points out in his post, not updating your browser is just as bad as not updating your virus software.  The results (especially in the case of IE6) are often about the same; it is much easier to end up with an infected or hijacked PC using old versions of browser software.  Newer versions of IE are geared to protect your computer from more types of viruses and attacks.  Patching security holes is a major reason for upgrading any software, and IE6 famously has holes you can drive an aircraft carrier through.

If that weren’t bad enough, keeping IE6 on your computer means that you’re not ready for the coming Web.  For the past 10 years, the standard for web markup has been CSS/XHTML (Sorry, not HTML 4.)  But HTML 5 is coming, and IE6 is flatly incapable of dealing with it.  Many larger sites have already been cutting back on or eliminating compatibility with IE6 for some time; even Facebook tells you to get another browser if it detects you using IE6.

You might be comfortable with IE6, but 1) it’s not very safe to have installed and 2) you are going to increasingly be unable to use much of the web, especially more of the large scale sites and social applications.  What are you waiting for?

UPDATE:  Talk about timing!  This article about a new movement to kill off IE6 just came out the day after I wrote this post.