Internet Explorer version 5 was released on March 18, 1999. It has almost been nine years since its initial release, and two more versions have followed.
We all know that IE5 is a buggy piece of software with fairly awful standards support, though it was significantly better than its predecessor IE4. It’s no secret that I’m no fan of Microsoft’s browsers, but I do have to grudgingly admit that they’ve come a long way.
I was comparing stats on a couple of my web sites recently, and I wondered: Do we need to continue supporting Internet Explorer 5? There have been two major versions released since, and nine years is a long time in computer years. To put it in perspective, look at this timeline:
- August 15, 1998: The original CRT iMac released
- March 18, 1999: IE5 Released
- February 13, 2000: The final original Peanuts comic strip is published
- October 23, 2001: The original iPod released
- November 15, 2001: The original XBox Released
- January 6, 2004: The iPod Mini Released
- February 15, 2005: IE7 Released
- Mid-February, 2005: YouTube launched
- September 7, 2005: The iPod Nano replaces the iPod Mini
- January 30, 2007: Microsoft (finally) launches Windows Vista
- July 21, 2007: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows released
- February 26, 2008: I published this post
It’s been a long time.
Obviously it’s not a great idea to stop supporting a browser version if there is still a sizable percentage of people using it. Luckily we have statistics software!
According to Google analytics (over a 30-day period), 21.06% of Webmaster-Source’s visitors used a version of Internet Explorer. Firefox totally dominated the user base, though that’s irrelevant here. Of that 21.06% of Internet Explorer users, 64.80% used IE7, 35.01% IE6, and a measly 0.72% used IE5.
On The Site of Requirement, a Harry Potter fan site, which therefore would likely have a somewhat less tech-literate user base, 50.48% of viewers used Internet Explorer. Checking the actual versions, only 0.63% of the IE users has IE5.5 (5.1’s usage was nonexistent). 27.04% used IE6, and 72.33% used IE7.
IE5 users are definitely a fairly small group now, according to my sites’ statistics. IE5 seems to be mainly used among “average users” who have very old equipment, though I’m surprised that they could have ten-year old computers (I’ve never had one last longer than three years). Most users who know their way around computers fairly well have either upgraded to a higher version of IE, switched to a different browser, or bought a new computer with IE7 preloaded. So, in the end, it really depends on your target audience. Keep an eye on your statistics, and you can decide whether to support IE5 based upon your user base.