Internet Explorer is one of the most widely used web browsers today and it has come bundled with every version of Windows that has been released for many years. Windows is the operating system of choice for many users, and this is particularly true in business environments. In addition, many people who are not particularly familiar with technology will use Internet Explorer because they are not aware that there are many other browser choices available. Because of this, it is extremely important for web designers and developers to make sure that their sites display correctly in all recent versions of Internet Explorer.
However, many individuals who are involved in web design and development utilize Mac or Linux computers because of the powerful tools that they provide. Unfortunately, Microsoft only releases versions of Internet Explorer for the Windows operating system. Because of this people often have problems testing the sites that they have developed or designed to determine if they function properly on Internet Explorer because they cannot install the browser on their operating system. While it is always possible for people to purchase an additional Windows computer specifically for use in IE cross browser testing, there are several free tools available online that allow people to see how their sites function using Internet Explorer.
IE NetRenderer will allow people to type in their website URL and get a screen shot of how that site appears in Internet Explorer versions 5.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. The website also provides a Firefox plugin that allows people to use the service directly from their browser. Unlike many similar IE cross browser testing tools, IE NetRenderer can run many rendering processes in parallel using virtual machines to significantly reduce wait times.
DebugBar IE Tester
DebugBar IE Tester is a desktop application that lets individuals check to see if their site is compatible with all recent versions of Internet Explorer. However, the software is itself a Windows application, and this is not the ideal solution for a Mac or Linux user. It is also an alpha release which means that the software may not be fully stable.
Modern.ie is an official Microsoft service that gives people access to virtual machines that can be used to test websites using Internet Explorer versions 11 through 6 in addition to a number of other compatibility testing tools. Individuals will need to sign in using a Microsoft Live Account.
While it can be frustrating to determine whether a website that a person has designed or developed will work properly on all recent versions of Internet Explorer, these free IE cross browser testing tools are a great way of making sure that all web users will get the best possible experience no matter what version of Windows or Internet Explorer that they happen to be using.