IE has become more stable over the years, according to Sauce Labs

If you use any web browser, you sometimes have to deal with the occasional crash to desktop. This week, Internet software testing service Sauce Labs released new data collected from its own test that shows how much web browsers crash on its service, and their data shows the Internet Explorer family has the most crashes on their systems.

In a post on their blog, Sauce Labs says they went through all 55 million browser tests over the years and Microsoft's IE family of browsers has the highest rate of crashes, at .25 percent. The Safari family is second with .15 percent. Opera, Chrome and Firefox all had crash rates between .12 and .10 percent.

However, the overall IE crash rate doesn't tell the entire story. As Sauce Labs shows in the graph above, the crash percentages on their services have improved tremendously as Microsoft has released new versions of IE. The chart shows that while the old IE 6 had a crash percentage of over .30 percent, the current IE10 has a crash rate of just 0.05 percent.

Comparing crash rates from current browsers, Sauce Labs shows that Apple's Safari 6 has the highest at .12 percent, followed by Opera 12 at .08 percent, IE10 at .05 percent and Chrome27 at below .02 percent. Firefox 22 doesn't even have a crash rate listed on the chart. Sauce Labs states, "Half of the browser versions we analyzed had error rates lower than .07%. That’s pretty low, and suggests that browsers are getting more reliable as more versions come out."

Source: Sauce Labs | Image via Sauce Labs

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Windows Phone third party Instagram app changes name due to new rules

Next Story

Sony PS4 to launch on Nov. 15 in US, Nov. 29 in Europe

29 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I've had very little trouble from IE. And most that i've encountered is because of a plugin, not the browser itself.

Considering there are ~40 known vulnerabilities in IE, and ~260+ in Chrome... yeah. As much as I like IE, they're at version 11 and have yet to fix the abysmal bookmark management, which is bad enough on Chrome and Firefox, but it's even worse on IE.

Completely pointless stats. Unless they can definitively attribute all crashes to a specific component in the browser, this just makes no sense, because there's no way to know whether they crash was caused by the code in the browser or in some extension/plugin.

Also, most Firefox plugins are written in JavaScript, which if "bug out" can not crash the browser at the application level. They can make it freeze, slow it down or stop responding - but technically, neither of those count as "crash" for moronic company's software. On the other side IE plugins are all native code, which means they can easily crash the browser process even with the slighest bug.

So really, it's a shame to publish all these charts and results without proper editorial commentary exposing the above flaws in the methodology.

I don't know about others but when viewing online streaming content such as the BBC Iplayer, 4oD i have issues at times with firefox, chrome. Sometimes it wont login or give me bandwidth errors (i have a 78mb connection and bandwidth is no an issue no on my end anyway). Also have random crash every now and again when watching something.

Could be a flash/java issue but when it happens i swap to IE and the issue goes away, never once had IE crap out on the streaming sites. The same issue happens on 4 of my machines btw its not jut a 1 off on 1 machine.

Might be the web design on the sites having more support for IE but i dono. Chrome does seam to crash more than IE for me these days also and i have not used firefox full time for ages (it got a little bloated)

I don't think there was much of any issues for the end user. People not upgrading past IE6 was a big pain for us web developers. We STILL get hits from people using it now but we just don't support them anymore. Now IE8 and XP is the legacy pain.

Exactly. That has been the major problem with IE, not its stability, as far as I can tell. But thankfully IE 10 is finally getting there with the masssive load of HTML5 features added. There sure was a looong transition period to something modern from IE 6 to IE 9... (OK, to be fair, IE 9 does indeed support HTML5 canvas and video/audio)

Chrome seems to hang a lot more than any other browser. Is that considered an error? Firefox I had to drop because of them blocking plugins. It makes it useless for enterprise environments. I still start it up to make sure my applications renders reasonable but don't pound on it like Chrome and IE.

uberlaff said,
My personal experience is completely different than this... just sayin.

experience depends on plugins that are installed on your browsers.

the more plugins you have, the more likely that one among them is poorly coded and making your browser crash.

even crappy antiviruses or GPU drivers can make a browser crash, although less likely.

so, unless we're talking about fresh install of the OS/browser, results will be very different from one computer to another.

uberlaff said,
My personal experience is completely different than this... just sayin.

If you have an equally scientific test to report, please post it for us to review.

Until then, we don't know if you are poking the fan on your CPU with a pencil while putting your HD on a paint mixer every time you open IE.

I still dislike the interface of IE but it has certainly improved drastically since the release of IE9. Letting IE6 stagnate for so long was a mistake Microsoft definitely seemed to learn from.

I like IE. It has become a good browser but I don't use it because the extensions available for Firefox and Chrome make the browser so much more than just something I use to access a website. IE is like driving an automatic. Sure it has its place but personally I prefer a stick (a la Firefox and Chrome).

In my opinion IE10 is one of the worst browsers they made! I have Always used IE as my main browser but there are a lot of problems with it! Lot of crashes, favorite bar which disappears after a full screen movie (like youtube). If Chrome would give you the possibility to pin the favorite bar on your left side of the screen it would become my main browser.

Btw. I have no plugins installed, just the default browser without any ****! And yes, I'm a developer and I have multiple browsers installed for my customers.

Johannespreekt said,
In my opinion IE10 is one of the worst browsers they made! I have Always used IE as my main browser but there are a lot of problems with it! Lot of crashes, favorite bar which disappears after a full screen movie (like youtube). If Chrome would give you the possibility to pin the favorite bar on your left side of the screen it would become my main browser.

Btw. I have no plugins installed, just the default browser without any ****! And yes, I'm a developer and I have multiple browsers installed for my customers.

everyone I know have absolutely no stability issues with IE10.

the problem definitely comes from your PC. It can be faulty GPU drivers, a crappy antivirus (I remember when IE8 was released, Kaspersky antivirus made IE8 64bit crash every minute, despite the fact there was no addon visible in the addon management window).
It can also be caused by a malware, or by any app that hooks into IE such as fingerprint reader utilities.

anyway, one thing is sure, IE10 on a clean windows install doesn't crash (at least I don't remember ever seeing it crash).

Unfortunately, just starting IE with no add-ons or disabling everything in the management interface doesn't stop everything. Antivirus tools often hook into IE at run-time which can cause reliability and performance issues.

I remember some years ago that ZoneAlarm would drag down performance over time and in bad cases causing several seconds of delay when creating a new tab. Synergy (the mouse and keyboard sharing software) is another tool that you wouldn't expect to affect IE but it can.

So, what I understand in this article is that IE, Firefox just don't bother you with error pop-ups anymore, they hide it ?

boumboqc said,
So, what I understand in this article is that IE, Firefox just don't bother you with error pop-ups anymore, they hide it ?

Can't comment on IE, for me it gets used once to download another browser.. but as far as Firefox goes, last time I remember it actually having a crash to the desktop was way back around version 4 which was pretty bad if I recall. Once in a while the Flash plugin may take a dump (just like Chromium and IE, nothing new there and out of the browser's control) but the browser itself is rock solid, even with a metric crapton of addons.

boumboqc said,
So, what I understand in this article is that IE, Firefox just don't bother you with error pop-ups anymore, they hide it ?

since IE8 tabs isolation prevents the whole browser from crashing, and now the user only see a tab refresh when a crash occurs. But even when this happens, crashes are still accounted, and the user is notified by a popup. Personally I hadn't any IE crash in months, even with flash player enabled.


IE has always been much more stable than other browsers.

I remember even IE6 was MUCH more stable than Firefox back in 2006.

the numbers provided here are very misleading.
a lot of people install apps that are bundled with potentially unstable plugins than can make IE crash. On a typical computer there are always several useless but unstable plugins installed by 3rd party apps, and IE crashes often because of them. Sometimes even plugins installed by the OEM.

since most users don't disable plugins they don't need, that explains the higher crash rate reported here.

users of older versions of IE/Windows are more likely to have more crappy plugins installed over time, thus the likeliness of having crashes is significantly higher.

in IE11/Win8 every legacy plugin is now blocked by default because of the Enhanced Protected Mode that is enabled even on IE desktop.

that means among ordinary users, crash rate of IE11/win8 will be even lower than any other browser, or even lower than ie11/win7 due to that side effect.

link8506 said,

since IE8 tabs isolation prevents the whole browser from crashing, and now the user only see a tab refresh when a crash occurs. But even when this happens, crashes are still accounted, and the user is notified by a popup. Personally I hadn't any IE crash in months, even with flash player enabled.


IE has always been much more stable than other browsers.

I remember even IE6 was MUCH more stable than Firefox back in 2006.

the numbers provided here are very misleading.
a lot of people install apps that are bundled with potentially unstable plugins than can make IE crash. On a typical computer there are always several useless but unstable plugins installed by 3rd party apps, and IE crashes often because of them. Sometimes even plugins installed by the OEM.

since most users don't disable plugins they don't need, that explains the higher crash rate reported here.

users of older versions of IE/Windows are more likely to have more crappy plugins installed over time, thus the likeliness of having crashes is significantly higher.

in IE11/Win8 every legacy plugin is now blocked by default because of the Enhanced Protected Mode that is enabled even on IE desktop.

that means among ordinary users, crash rate of IE11/win8 will be even lower than any other browser, or even lower than ie11/win7 due to that side effect.

Wow. An MS fanboy clutching at straws if ever I saw one. Are you really using plugins as a justification for IE's crashes? Almost everyone who uses firefox uses plugins. It's renowned for its plugin bloat because of this, yet it has far fewer crashes than IE.

IE was a terrible browser from its beginning until version 10 for many reasons, stability just being one of them.