What Is the Difference Between AOL Browser & Internet Explorer?

By Chad Davis

Web browsers are used to view and navigate through websites on an Internet device. Users have the option of choosing among various third-party Web browsers to install on their devices. One of the most popular Web browsers on the market today is Microsoft Corporation's Internet Explorer. America Online has developed various Internet suites with Web browsing capabilities, including their discontinued AOL Browser.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer, formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer, is Microsoft Corp's graphical Web browsing application native to the Microsoft Windows operating system. Internet Explorer is included as a bundled component on new Windows installations and may also be downloaded via the Internet. Unlike AOL Browser, Internet Explorer focuses on Web browsing without extra bundled services. However, Internet Explorer allows third-party add-ons and toolbars to be installed which can significantly extend the functionality of the browser.

AOL Browser

AOL developed their AOL Browser as a standalone application. AOL Browser did not require an dial-up Internet subscription through AOL, as was common for their previous products. AOL Browser offered many extra features including desktop Search, AOL Mail, AOL Instant Messenger and an integrated RSS reader. The browser was distributed as a free download and could be bundled with AIM installations.

Related AOL Products

AOL Browser was eventually renamed by AOL to AOL Explorer. AOL Explorer offered the exact same features as AOL Browser but with an updated user interface. A CNET review of AOL Explorer suggested that Mozilla Firefox browser fans should give AOL's browser a try due to the many extra features. AOL's AIM provides Instant Messaging services which integrate with other services offered by AOL. The most current AOL products are AOL Desktop and the AOL toolbar for Internet Explorer. Both products provide access to services seen in AOL Browser such as AOL Mail and AOL Search.


AOL first entered the world of Windows in 1993 with their online software suite AOL 1.0. In July 2005 AOL developed the AOL Browser but discontinued development the following year in May 2006. Currently, AOL Desktop and AOL browser toolbars provide most of the features from their previous suites. In 1995 Microsoft Internet Explorer, known as Windows Internet Explorer at that time, was available in a Windows Plus! software pack for Windows 95. Internet Explorer continues to remain one of the market leaders for Internet Web browsing. Most major corporations use Web development standards that have been optimized for use with Internet Explorer.