Do You Still Use Internet Explorer 6?

March 23rd, 2011
Weblog tools blog tools blogging tools

Our recent post on WordPress 3.2’s plans generated some interesting discussion, with the bulk of it centered around the discontinuation of support for Internet Explorer 6 in the Dashboard.

Internet Explorer 6, now almost ten years old, was once a power house in its own right. Now, the browser is drowning under its poor support for web standards, a pool of modern web technologies that it can never support, and a flood of hacks that many sites need to employ just to provide a decent browsing experience for IE 6 users. IE 6 was superseded by Internet Explorer 7 in 2006, followed by IE 8 in 2009, and recently IE 9 last week. Of course, alternatives to Internet Explorer, like Firefox, have been around much longer.

According to Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer 6 Countdown, 12% of the world still uses the ten-year old browser. The highest concentration of IE 6 users is in China, with 34.5% of the country still using it, but usage is down to 2.9% in the USA and 3.5% in the UK.

There certainly could be an economic issue or general inability to upgrade keeping IE 6 alive, as the browser only requires Windows 98 to run, while IE 7 requires Windows XP. Firefox seems to have finally pulled the old releases that were still compatible with Windows 98, but Opera supported Windows 98 all the way up to 10.63 (released October 2010), and potential users can still download it here.

With such a powerful and modern alternative to IE 6 available, even to Windows 98 users, the question remains as to why there are so many users still on such an outdated browser.

If you’re a fan of IE 6, please leave a comment and let us know why. If you work for a company that forces you to use IE 6, march on down to the IT department and demand to know why you’re forced to use such an archaic browser.




  1. Darren T (1 comments.) says:

    My missus works for a local authority here in the UK and I’m pretty sure she’s still locked in to IE6 on her system – and I hate to think which antiquated version of Windows it’s running on. Given the upgrade costs involved in moving an entire council’s IT setup over to a better OS and / or browser, versus the current cuts in public sector spending, it’s not likely to happen any time soon (unless a crisis precipitates a forced-upgrade).

    Multiply her local authority by all the others in the country who find themselves in a similar situation and I’ll bet that’s a large chunk of the UK’s 3.5% accounted for.

  2. Tadd (4 comments.) says:

    I stopped using IE years ago. It never worked right. I was a FireFox user until the recent updates made it crawl. Now, I use Chrome. And sometimes Safari at work (I use Mac at work).

    Though I was kind of shocked that WP would purposely drop support for a browser. It’s almost forcing hands. Some people (as noted in previous post comments) have no CHOICE but to use the outdated IE6 because of work nazis. So you’ll loose those people.

    I don’t care, honestly. Like I said. I haven’t used IE in years and I only have it on my home PC for testing out code to see if it works for everyone.

  3. Mark (1 comments.) says:

    I’m right now busy making a site IE6 compatible. Initially we’d deployed the site with a redirect to, but after looking at the stats and seeing that 55k+ hits a month were coming from IE6 users, we had to ensure that the site caters for IE6.

    Whilst we and the client agreed that IE6 is a terrible browser, that amount of traffic necessitated an IE6 compliant site.

  4. DoktorThomas says:

    One might never up-date IE. If her machine came with IE6 (early XP machines came with it), it will continue to reside and be used as MSFT’s default browser in some instances (even when an alternate is the default browser). That offers no reason for WordPrssians to code for it. Speed, in surfing, is king–not dynamic pages.

    However, if coders continue to bloat the popular alternates, some well-protected surfers may well return IE6 simply because it may be sleeker in mem use (faster) than fattening alternatives. That thought occurs frequently.

    What MSFT is counting matters little in this debate.

    As marginalized nations become more online savvy, machines with IE6 will continue to show-up. The question is, should they be effectively “locked out” of WP by code not supporting IE6?

    You know the answer.

  5. Ipstenu (31 comments.) says:

    I use it at work because, as of this morning, we’re only at 81% saturation for our IE 8 roll out. Apparently some freakin’ MORONS wrote code that was specific for IE 6, and then left the company, so we’re doing total re-writes.

    Hate. HAAAAAATE. Hate.

    And this morning’s meeting was actually “When are we going to IE 9?”

  6. John (5 comments.) says:

    @Ipstenu: why IE9? Like, why not skip straight ahead to Chrome or Firefox to avoid the constant depreciation of proprietary codes? I understand that a lot of offices are sort of “locked in” to older browsers, but why are they getting ready to repeat the process all over again instead of breaking off in a new direction?

    I ran a notice on one of my WordPress blogs for a while, basically advising anyone with IE6 to upgrade ASAP. It isn’t just for my own convenience as a developer, but also because that is a security risk to anyone who is using it. All that did for me though, was increase bounce rate & decrease time spent on site…

    • Ipstenu (31 comments.) says:

      SharePoint, actually.

      We have a HUGE SharePoint install (getting bigger every day) and it works ‘best’ with IE, since it can talk to Word and other things. Because IE is totally NOT tightly integrated with your desktop OS, noooo. (Sorry, lingering sarcasm from the old days when MSFT claimed the browser wasn’t tightly wound around the OS.)

      For WHAT we do here at Bank of Ipstenu, IE makes sense. It’s the correct tool for the job.

  7. Christopher Anderton says:

    I don’t get it. Why are people complaining? Just do a IE6 Fork of WordPress is there any demand for it. It’s Open Source.

  8. minecraftrealm (1 comments.) says:

    I’m somewhat confused on the situation of people being ‘locked’ into IE6 at work. After some pondering on this subject I was wondering why the computer technicians would lock there users to IE6 if it is not as secure as many other browsers and uses a lot more resources to run. Anyone care to enlighten me as to why they still ‘lock’ people to IE6?

    • tunaman (2 comments.) says:

      Because the company wrote webapps that only work on IE 6. Instead of using traditional desktop apps, the company thought they’d save money by writing apps that only needed a web browser. But upgrading those apps for IE 7 (or later) is expensive, and requires a lot of testing. In some cases (see the other posts), the people that wrote the IE6 web apps have left the companies, so the new web apps have to be written from scratch. And remember, we’re talking about companies with THOUSANDS of desktops, not a small business of 10-20 people.

  9. Matthew says:

    If the cost of supporting IE6 users is more than what you get from them, then it’s not worth it.

  10. Serg (1 comments.) says:

    I just recently jumped from IE6 to IE8. Still getting used to it. But I still favor FF. IE8 is pretty nice however. Both browsers are useful for testing. I currenlty have IE, FF and chrome installed and use them all.

  11. Michael Pate says:

    Do we blame Microsoft for not wanting to support IE7 on any of the previous OS releases (98, 2000, etc.) or do we praise them for creating such robust releases that people are still working in a decade after it was released and long after Microsoft tried to entice them to upgrade?

    Try going to Google on a Windows 2000 station running IE6. You get an advertisement offering you Chrome. But when you try to install it, you are informed that Chrome isn’t compatible with 2000.

    Firefox has done the best job by far of supporting everyone regardless of OS.

    • Rob (3 comments.) says:

      Actually Opera. It supports practically any platform on the planet from mobile to games console and has done so for a long time. Firefox is the young pretender in this case.

  12. roman (1 comments.) says:

    People are acting like browsers aren’t free, and can’t be updated… it’s like saying we need to start building our roads out of pillows, because people’s tires are wearing down and we want them to be able to drive to our stores… No. they buy new tires. People with IE6 can upgrade.

  13. JerryP (1 comments.) says:

    Depending on the business you are building a website for – I have found with my tourism related sites I am still getting up to 6 percent of the visitors using ie6. That is allot of people to lock out of a website. To put that in perspective the same percentage of PC users are using the MAC OS.

  14. Ngan (2 comments.) says:

    mom and pop – it will be hard for them to switch to a new user interface after so many years

  15. Darryl (1 comments.) says:

    I stopped using IE6 when I left my last job 3 years ago. I’ve been an avid FF user for years and now use Chrome just as much. It used to drive me nuts having to use IE6. From what I understand, they are still using it to this day.

  16. web guy says:

    Unfortunately IE 6 should never exist in the first place. It follows no standard. It’s really a terrible creation…
    Companies and programmers (.Net folks) are closely tied to IE6 especially for their older software. We all know how hard it is to change system once it’s running.

  17. Matt (1 comments.) says:

    Yea! On my super computer…

    I mean Nope. I stopped using like 3 years ago…

  18. Kirk M (67 comments.) says:

    Haven’t used IE6 (except for Windows Updates until I switched over to a Linux distro) personally since Firefox 2.0 came out but I had to use it at work until 2007 when they switched over to IE7. I stopped supporting IE6 on my WP powered website around 2 years ago as it simply wasn’t worth my time to make sure every-little-thing worked properly in that ancient, non-standard browser. So far I haven’t had any complaints. Of course the fact that I don’t have thousands of visitors a day might account for that? :D

  19. Tim says:

    I hate IE6. My kids think the company name is “F’ing Microsoft” not “Microsoft.” But one of my clients with a very active blog has enough IE6 visitors to warrant testing their site on everything from modern browsers down to IE6. It makes sense for WordPress to ditch IE6 (maybe, unless they plan to be big in China) but it’s really a case by case issue. And WordPress can always include a dashboard link to upgrade any IE6 users.

  20. Shannon (1 comments.) says:

    I’ve built several WP sites for a fairly large corporation (which I won’t name) that still runs nothing but IE6 in house. They, of course, require IE6 support. We charge extra.

  21. Buku Islam (1 comments.) says:

    I stopped using IE after waiting for months for Microsoft to release its newest IE 9. I can’t properly edit my shop’s CMS editor. I am trying Chrome now.

  22. Tom Coburn (67 comments.) says:

    I didn’t realize XP came with IE6, that would explain alot. All the millions of updates XP had, companies don’t run those either, so their not just talking about an IE specific issue. All I can say is, running IE6, and especially not having sp1, 2 or 3 installed in XP in 2011 is a MAJOR security risk, so those companies who are still running it, are probably getting spyware and adware of every kind, and really need to be educated on Computer security. So despite companies that won’t make the change, I think the good of the many outweigh the needs of the few, so I still think IE6 support should continue to be dropped…

  23. Manga (1 comments.) says:

    Windows 98 i think, comes bundled with IE, while Netscape didn’t have that privilege of being bundled with the world’s most popular OS. & if u try to put in both browsers, then there will be lots of issues lol. i think thats how Netscape lost the browser war.

  24. Bo4610 (1 comments.) says:

    Well I just think that IE6 is dying and we should just let it gone! IE6 is a dinosaur and a thorn in almost every modern web developer’s side. If you are a web designer or web developer, you should stop supporting IE6 and make suggestions to people to upgrade their browser instead. What do you think? Because Internet 8 and now Internet 9 are out and readily available. As a web designer, do you still want to support 3 browsers? We know that we most certainly DO NOT!

  25. Andy Bartlett (1 comments.) says:

    IE6 surely must be dead by now. After years as a web designer making late night ammends just to satisfy IE6, I cringe to think it’s still out there. Shame on those who still use it. Haha. With IE9 released I do believe even IE6 can’t cling on with all the forced updates.

  26. tunaman (2 comments.) says:

    Anyone wanna do the math on IE6’s worldwide share WITHOUT China?

  27. Gestion Propiedades (1 comments.) says:

    Looking at the statistics, ie6 is part of the majority. I prefer ie6 rather than ie7: the worst browser f the history.

    If you can have the Skills… ie6 is a rigorous test that will serve to be completely compatible with other browsers.

    Some kids complain, most are lazy or trendies… If you recognize the details that ie6 requieres to work you to have full compatibility / visualization in the other browsers.

    I’ve never seen a well made site that does not look good in ie6.

    The issue is always objective and focused. No doubt that Dribbble can use html5 because the target is a mega trendy – techie user.

    You can not flush into oblivion a lot of potential customers.


    Andrés Miranda.


  28. Permana Jayanta (1 comments.) says:

    Yes, I still using IE6 just to test what my website looks like on IE6 :)

  29. Alhadis says:

    @Gestion: That’s true, because so many “well made sites” were done by people who were paid to ensure cross-browser compatibility. You know how many sites would look like open face surgery if it were left to a developer to simply abandon the browser we love to hate?

    And Gestion, it’s not always a matter of skills. Check out the pretty effects being accomplished with subtle drop-shadows, rounded edges, text-shadows, and the like… Imagine how it’d be for every web developer to have to do that twice for every single job: One for proper browsers, and one just for IE6 users (whereupon every image would likely be replaced with a flat image – something that’s not always feasible if you’re running a CMS.) The new technologies are offering flexibility, and outdated technology like IE6 is what’s HOLDING THEM BACK.

    I think IE6 served its time, and it finished doing so a number of years ago. It needs to be culled, and with every platform that finally ousts IE6 support, there’s one more nail in the coffin of any IT department that’s STILL refusing to upgrade. Nowadays, I leave it to my client to decide whether they want their site to support IE6 – and if they do, I charge them extra for the additional time I put in to make it backwards compatible. My approach is probably controversial, but ultimately I don’t know the client’s audience better than they do.

  30. Alhadis says:

    Personally, I think a world-wide charity organisation – operated by joint efforts of IT professionals, software developers and correspondents, should be instantiated to help companies in question that can’t afford to upgrade.

    I always envisioned the movement’s name to be something like “Green Light”: something with a positive vibe to it. Logo with a traffic light – the red part being a dimmed rendition of the IE6 logo, and the green part being illuminated (naturally).

    But yeah, that’d require a hell of a lot of effort and finances. I can’t think of anything else that’d have a better chance at getting companies off their crappy technologies than an organisation that helps people on a case-by-case basis. ._.

  31. Hypnosis (1 comments.) says:

    When I watch my website´s stats there are less then 2 % users running old IE versions. Don´t think it makes much sense to spend hours and hours with optimizing the page for those few. What do you think?

  32. JoJo says:

    Who the heck still uses IE??? Its so freaking slow its just annoying.

  33. David Faux (1 comments.) says:

    IE6 is the bain of my existence! I absolute hate to reconfigure EVERYTHING to just for a small percentage of our visitors to such an extent that we no longer support it :) I eventually managed to convince the powers that we should drop support and analytics proved that the man hours cost outstripped any sales from IE users.

  34. Marco Romeny says:

    Well, remember we are talking about the admin interface here. You can still make themes that support IE6, so take the amount of IE6 users times te amount of IE6 users who are also wp editors – I bet that number is *really* small. We are talking about wp editors that are locked in to IE6 on a machine where they can’t even install opera. While that use-case certainly exist, it must be a tiny fraction of a percent.

  35. La Videoteka (1 comments.) says:

    Yes, I still using IE6 just to test what my website looks like on IE6

  36. Fizz Web Design (1 comments.) says:

    We stopped supporting IE6 last year, it’s horrendously outdated & we feel that designing a beautiful site for it to then be altered from it’s aesthetically pleasing stance just to be able to be viewed on such an antiquated browser is rather self defeating as well as time consuming.

    There is a theory that if less people designed websites to still be IE6-friendly, then people would finally have to upgrade – & get a far better online browsing experience as well.

    We do still (reluctantly) have to support IE7, but the viewing experience in that browser falls way short of the likes of Chrome, FF and Safari too.

  37. Suraj Tandon (3 comments.) says:

    I used Internet explorer to test my internet connection working or not. I never used IE for browsing. I wondered some of Indian govt sites opens only on Internet explorer.

  38. Santosh Kumar (1 comments.) says:

    I just recently used IE8. before i am using IE6 .I am having the side of IE8 because its very good more than IE6 But Both browsers are very useful for testing purpose. I am currently also using Chrome because i need both Internet explorer for my online work.

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