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10 Reasons Why IE6 needs to be Killed

Internet Explorer 6 is the sixth version of the Internet Explorer browser series which was developed by Microsoft for their Windows operating system and released back on August 27, 2001. This version of IE is totally obsolete and ships with legacy versions of windows. As we all know, even Microsoft has stopped support for Windows XP and all their other older operating systems.  All the newer versions of Windows like Vista and Windows 7 ship with IE7 or above. IE6 is widely derided due to its security issues, lack of compatibility and support, to name a few issues.

On the other hand, today’s new generation browsers are available and are faster, more secure, compatible, platform-independent and free too. The best example is Mozilla Firefox. If you are not aware about the loop holes and issues of IE6, here’s brief introduction. Back in the good old days, IE6 was very popular but. with the passage of time, Mozilla Firefox and then Internet Explorer 7 were released and have both gained popularity while IE6 was thrown out by many due to its slow javascript, poor security, and lots of other issues.

We – as developers and web designers, small and large companies – need to take a bold stance and stop supporting IE6. Here are some reasons why it needs to be killed.

1. Many Security Holes: IE6 contains a computer security vulnerability, known as XSS (cross-site scripting), that enables malicious attackers to inject client-side script into web pages that can be viewed by other users. This could enable an attacker to gain elevated access privileges to session cookies, private page content, and a variety of other information maintained by the browser for the user.

To add to this, other security holes like activeX vulnerabilities make browsing on IE6 very dangerous as this browser version provides no protection against these exploits.

2. Dropping Market Share:  In 2008, the market share of IE6 estimated as 39%. Due to the popularity of IE 7+ and other browsers, its market value is continuing to decline. In January 2010, all the web-based application and services provided by Google will no longer support IE6. On March 13, 2010. YouTube announced that it will no longer support IE6 due to obvious reasons.

3. Lack of Compatibility: Internet Explorer 6 has a major compatibility problem with modern web standards. IE6 does not fully nor properly support CSS version 2 (let alone the new version 3) and this makes it very difficult for web developers to ensure compatibility with the browser without degrading the experience for users of more modern browsers. Developers often have to resort to strategies such as CSS hacks, conditional comments, or other forms of browser sniffing to make their websites work in IE6. Others, simply drop support for it altogether:

4. No PNG Transparency Support: This is another big problem in Internet Explorer 6 . No doubt, PNG files are very large in size compared to JPG and GIF files but they are generally clearer than JPG and GIF files. All other browsers like Opera, Safari, Firefox, IE7 and IE8 support PNG files. This is how a PNG file looks like in IE6.

5. Issues with Web Standards: Internet Explorer 6 doesn’t support key web standards. Not CSS nor HTML. This means that web-designers are either spending lots of time fixing IE6 bugs in their websites or simply have a page that doesn’t display correctly when viewed with IE6. Moreover, users’ favorite web tools don’t work in IE6. If this is not enough, IE6 does not support Unicode characters.

These are just few issues which make IE6 so loathsome and infamous among developers.  Not only has it got limited or no support for modern standards, it is prone to crashing, memory leakage and has far too many security vulnerabilities. It often takes developers far too much time trying to make sure their site is compatible with IE6 (time they could have spent improving their site or adding features for the majority of users who don’t use IE6).

I think it’s high time we all join hands with Google and others and say three words to Internet Explorer 6:

“REST IN PEACE.”

What is your experience with IE6? Have you spent lots of time debugging andhacking to make sure your site is IE6 compatible? Or are you on the other side of the coin – do you believe that we should continue ensuring that our sites work on the ancient browser? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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About the Author

Rochak ChauhanRochak is a technical writer for BiP. He's an avid techie and loves everything to do with technology from programming to gadgets.View all posts by Rochak Chauhan →

  1. Wouter VervloetWouter Vervloet04-06-2010

    I didn’t even take the effort to read this article, I’m sure they’re 10 valid reasons…

    But who really needs 10 reasons to put this poor, old, obsolete browser to rest?

  2. MKMK04-06-2010

    I completely and whole-heartedly agree! I am completely sick and tired of spending crazy amounts of time trying to fix IE6 bugs when we could be using the same time developing better features for the majority of users.

    That’s why when we were developing Clutterpad, we said no way to IE6 from the start!

  3. WaqarWaqar04-06-2010

    I completely agree…
    I would love to put the RIP beside IE but sadly the “oldschool” / “noobs” crowd still uses IE which bothers me… Because of them we have to waste hours and hours fixing the IE bugs…

  4. Joachim KudishJoachim Kudish04-06-2010

    Personally, I’m a web developer and I don’t support IE6 for the reasons mentioned above. I mean it’s really obsolete in practically everyone’s eyes.

    Just a small correction about the first paragraph :)
    XP is still supported: “Support for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) will end on July 13, 2010. To continue receiving security updates for Windows, make sure you’re running Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3).”
    see: http://support.microsoft.com/ph/1173

    • Rochak ChauhanRochak Chauhan04-07-2010

      I definitely agree with you and thanks for your advice..

  5. MKMK04-06-2010

    Personally, I reckon Internet Explorer [all versions] should be killed! I wish!

    Who agrees with me?

  6. Mueen ur RashidMueen ur Rashid04-06-2010

    @MK, I definitely agree with you

  7. Dave ReynoldsDave Reynolds04-06-2010

    I’m also a web developer and to be honest, I don’t do more than a cursory test with ANY version of IE. Most people who are tech savvy use Firefox, Chrome or Safari (please only on the Mac though). Between the security issues and lack of standards compliance it’s too much of a nuisance.

    Thank God ActiveX plugins are dying off…

  8. sabrilsabril04-06-2010

    yep, don’t waste your time using that buggy browser.
    it’s better to think about HTML 5 or CSS 3 future possibilities

  9. Joachim KudishJoachim Kudish04-06-2010

    @MK agreed. IE 9 looks pretty promising though

  10. MKMK04-06-2010

    @Joachim – I’m still hesitant. I’ll wait for the bugs and the lack of compatibility in real life to show up before making my decision!

    What’s so good about it anyway?

  11. Joachim KudishJoachim Kudish04-06-2010

    @MK well nothing that special really, but it supports CSS3 and HTML5 (which other browsers do too, hehe!) but at least IE 9 will match other browsers as well as be compatible with Active X (which is proprietary to IE and should also be discontinued, but that’s a whole other story!)

  12. Eric BerryEric Berry04-06-2010

    In my opinion, IE needs to switch to WebKit. There needs to be more continuity with all browsers, and WebKit seems to have it down.

  13. MKMK04-06-2010

    @Eric – I somehow doubt that will ever happen :)

  14. Wouter VervloetWouter Vervloet04-07-2010

    @Eric Berry: I actually disagree with you on that. While I admit that WebKit is great and certainly the best engine out there. However, any good product needs competition to stay on top of their game. And only Gecko as competition wouldn’t be enough.

    At the moment Trident isn’t much of a competitor, but it was this same engine that pushed the rest (WebKit, Gecko, Presto, KHTML) to be better.

  15. MKMK04-07-2010

    @Wouter I think it’s a moot point since MS is no way going to move to Webkit. However, I do agree with you – we need all the competition we can get.

  16. KaednKaedn06-27-2011

    I’ll try to put this to good use imemidaetly.