Which Web browser should I use for Moodle?

Which browser is best for Moodle?

The answer to this question should be “Whatever browser you have is fine.” In practice, while any browser will usually give you good results, every so often you may run into a case where your choice of browser does make a difference. Internet Explorer, in particular, seems to be much more squirrelly than Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Firefox and Chrome are pretty reliable. (Safari, Edge, and the various mobile browsers also seem to be pretty solid, although I have much less information about them.)

If you have problems traceable to the browser, therefore, the odds are that you're using Internet Explorer, and you have two major options available to you:

  1. The quick fix: You may be able to tweak Internet Explorer's settings and get it to work for you.
  2. The slow (but sure) fix: You may prefer to give up on IE entirely and install one of the others.

The quick fix: tweaking IE so it works (better)

Which IE have you got?

The first step is figuring out which version of Internet Explorer you have. Look first at the top of your IE window. If you have a menu bar showing (File, Edit View, etc.), then the rightmost entry on that bar should be “Help”. Click “Help”, and the bottom entry on that menu should be “About Internet Explorer”.

If you don't have a menu bar, then there should be an icon shaped like a gear in the upper right of your IE window. (There's normally a row of three icons there: one shaped like a house, one shaped like a star, and one shaped like a gear.) Click on that icon, and you'll get a menu; the bottom item on that menu is normally “About Internet Explorer”.

Whichever way you got to the “About Internet Explorer” menu item, clicking it will bring up a dialog box that tells you more than you wanted to know about which version of Internet Explorer you're running. For this purpose, all you really need is the first number before the decimal point: are you running IE 8.whatever, IE 9.whatever, or something else?

If you aren't running at least IE 8, stop right here and go to “Installing another browser” below. IE 7 and earlier aren't supported any more for use with Moodle. Trying to make such an old version work reliably for you is usually a waste of time.

If you have IE 8 or 9, however, the tweaks below may solve your problem relatively quickly and painlessly.

Tweaking the settings in IE 8 or 9

With IE 8 or 9, you can solve most Moodle-related problems by taking the following steps:

  1. Press the F12 key at the top of your keyboard. (That's a single key at the top of your keyboard that says “F12”. Typing “F”, “1”, “2” will not do it.) This will bring up the developer tools.
  2. Along the top of the developer tools, you'll see a menu bar, looking approximately like this: Developer tools menu bar At the right-hand end of that bar, you'll find settings for “Browser Mode” and “Document Mode”.
  3. If the “Browser Mode” setting doesn't match the version of IE that you actually have, set it to match, like so: Browser mode menu
  4. If the “Document Mode” setting doesn't match the version of IE that you actually have, set it to match also, like so: Document mode menu
  5. Close the developer tools and refresh the Moodle page that was giving you trouble.

The slow fix: installing another browser

Sometimes Internet Explorer simply can't be cajoled to behave. In such cases, the next thing to try is another browser. You can download Mozilla Firefox for free at http://www.mozilla.org/firefox. You can download Google Chrome for free at http://www.google.com/chrome. Both are reliable, fast browsers that are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Last modified: Sunday, 20 August 2017, 1:04 PM