RSS 2.0 Feed
RSS 2.0

Atom 1.0 Feed
Atom 1.0

  Why I Am No Longer Supporting IE6 

In the recent relaunch of this site, I created a new custom skin for Subtext. Since this is just a personal site, I threw things together fairly quickly, testing along the way with Firefox3 and IE7. Once I was getting closer to complete, I took a look at my new site in all the usual browsers, including IE6. Ugh, it looked terrible. I gave it some thought and made some decisions about supporting IE6. I'm not going to support it. Not on this site and not on others that I have a say in. I'm not talking about leaving my site unusable for IE6 users - they just won't get as good of an experience. I'm not alone with this decision. Read on to see why I am no longer supporting IE6.

As I mentioned above, I'm not talking about leaving the site inaccessible or unusable for IE6 users. I completely understand that there are many corporate machines that are held back by IT restrictions & policies where IE6 is the only choice. I'm not talking about making my sites inaccessible to these users, or even those who just don't upgrade due to their own ignorance. However, I'm just going to choose to no longer dumb-down my sites to support them. They'll be able to access my sites. They just won't have as good of an experience.

I know that this sort of decision cannot be made about all sites. It's a smart idea for major public sites to be able to fall back to IE6 support if needed. Most of my sites are focused on the developer, either in the form of a blog or a community site. Knowing that this is my audience I feel completely justified in not supporting IE6 and focusing only on more current browsers. When redesigning my new site, I intentionally used PNG images with transparencies among other things that I knew wouldn't look cool for IE6 users. I'm OK with that. I don't think that is me being "elitist" or anything, again the audience for this site is developers - although there is still a disturbing percentage of the traffic that is using IE6.

Letting IE6 Users Know What They Are Missing
OK. As I mentioned, IE6 users can still read everything on this site. Things are way too spaced apart and many dividers are not where they are supposed to be, but things are still quite readable. I don't want these users thinking that this is how my site is supposed to look. Come on, that would be embarrassing. Instead of fixing it however, I've decided to add a little item to the header area of the page to let them know that "I know the site looks like crap, it's because of your browser".

Users who come to this site using IE6 will see the above and can come read more on this post. I'm completely on-board with Mad Kristensen's post creating better experiences for your visitors, I'll just be focusing on creating a better experience for the users with more modern browsers.

What's Wrong With IE6?
This is a development blog, so I shouldn't have to explain this to anyone here, but off top of my head (this is a small part of a very large list):
  1. Lack of support for current standards for HTML markup, CSS, etc
  2. Support for non-standard features not compatible with other browsers
  3. No PNG transparency support
  4. Released in 2001, we've completely moved beyond everything about IE6. This is a browser that PC World rated one of the worst tech products of all time.

How Long Will Developers Have to Continue Supporting IE6?
At some point, we'll all have to be OK with putting and end to adding support for IE6 in our sites. 37Signals dropped support for IE6 in their products last Friday, Aug 15th. I've decided that for my sites, the time is now as well.

If you'd like to end supporting IE6 in your sites as well, all you have to do is focus on developing for newer browsers. Let the site suck for IE6 users IMO. To let them know that "you know it sucks and they should upgrade", has a nice little Javascript you can add to your site to drop down a little message on the top of your pages that encourages the user to upgrade their browser to IE7 or install Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.

Say No To IE 6!

Our current campaign focuses on assisting users in upgrading their Internet Explorer 6 web browser. This campaign will result in former IE 6 users having a more enjoyable experience on the web while (hopefully) creating a less stressful and complicated environment for web developers by hastening the retirement of an outdated browser.

OK. Enough for me. I'm sold. No more support for IE6 from me. IE6 users, sorry. You can still use my sites, they just won't look as nice. As a consolation prize, you will at least get to see my cool "Eek IE6!" message.


Leave a comment below.


  1. 8/18/2008 8:04 PM
    You've been kicked (a good thing) - Trackback from
  2. dzone 8/18/2008 8:21 PM
    Why I am No Longer Supporting IE6
  3. Roger 8/19/2008 2:08 AM
  4. Janko 8/19/2008 3:08 AM
    Great, mate you are my idol! :) I received a lot of critics recently why some of my examples do not support IE6. I'll just give your article as an answer.
  5. Florin 8/19/2008 3:12 AM
    I also decided to refuse IE6. People will get the The problem with that site is that it confuses people. I get emails back from people asking what the site is about.

    I could not reach the people.

    Their message should be: Upgrade your browser and save the developers!

    Yes, yes, people just don't get it, for whatever reason, no matter how baffling it might sound.
  6. Zuhaib 8/19/2008 3:20 AM
    the reason users are lazy about upgrading from IE6 is Microsoft is not including latest version of IE with its service packs. XP SP3 should have had IE7 included
  7. Nick Berardi 8/19/2008 5:04 AM
    You are a very smart man! We have been internally debating if IE 6 is even worth supporting, even with its 25% market share still. IT departments at these large hold out corporations just need to allow the push to go through and rid everybody of IE 6.
  8. Philip Dockerman 8/19/2008 5:16 AM
    May I suggest we're just as lazy to not support IE6 ?

  9. Florin 8/19/2008 6:09 AM
    Lazy? Did you consider why I should put the effort and companies should dish out the money to support a broken and non-confirming product? Did you consider how many hours professionals spend on IE6 - people that among other things, have a life, children, tasks, friends, appointments, etc? Do you realize that sometimes they are forced to sacrifice precious time tweaking their web apps just to fit Microsoft's way? Don't you find it to be arrogant for a company such as Microsoft to demand this from us, mere mortals?

    If companies want their pet functionality in their browsers, wouldn't you prefer them to simply enhance but not break their browsers? No! For financial reasons, MS insists on 'forcing' their way on you.

    Lazy? Give me a break.
  10. Will 8/19/2008 6:53 AM
    There's also
  11. synodinos 8/19/2008 8:15 AM
    Ryan you are right on target!

    "Internet Explorer 6 on its way out (or not)?":
  12. Digg 8/19/2008 9:06 AM
    Digg - Why I Am No Longer Supporting IE6
  13. Jason Haley 8/19/2008 9:10 AM
    Trackpack from Interesting Finds: August 19, 2008 - [Rough Cut]
  14. Gravatar
    Pingback from Clánky - <!> Save Developers nepodporujte IE6
  15. Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew 8/19/2008 9:20 AM
    Pingback from Dew Drop - August 19, 2008 | Alvin Ashcroft
  16. Ryan Farley 8/19/2008 9:31 AM
    @Janko, thanks! It's got to start some time!

    @Florin, I agree, the site is confusing to the sort of people that it is targeted at. People who are less-technical, and likely have not upgraded their browsers, need more instruction than that. They need to be told 1) What is wrong with their current browser and 2) how to upgrade to a newer version of IE.

    @Philip, I don't think we are lazy to not support IE6 any more. The support for it *has* to stop at some point. I mean, we're no longer supporting IE4 or Netscape2, or Lynx, are we?

    @Will & @synodinos, thanks for those links. Those are great.

  17. SeanJA 8/19/2008 9:41 AM
    Uhh... I am using IE 5.5, so it should probably not say EEK! IE 6!
  18. Ryan Farley 8/19/2008 9:43 AM

    Uh, that it so sad. BTW, my code to display that actually just checks if you're on IE and *anything* less than v7.

  19. Ryan Farley 8/19/2008 9:48 AM
    Just came across another link that ties in to this:

    Mozilla drags IE into the future with Canvas element plugin

    "IE's shortcomings won't hold back the Internet for much longer, however, because Mozilla plans to drag IE into the next generation of open web technologies without Microsoft's help."

    Hehe :-)
  20. Sean Carpenter 8/19/2008 1:10 PM
    I like this idea in principle, but we found it wouldn't fly. As part of a re-launch of a whole bunch of public sites on ASP.Net MVC we looked into our traffic by browser since we were converting to a CSS-based design. 40% of our traffic was still on IE6 and that's just too many people to provide a sub-optimal user experience to. Especially when many people have no control over the browser they are using (IT policies, etc.).
  21. Ryan Farley 8/19/2008 2:17 PM
    Thanks for the comments Sean. I agree that not everyone can decide to make the IE6 cut off quite yet (but I also believe that day is approaching).

    For me, most of my own sites are targeted at developers. That's an audience that is more likely to upgrade, assuming they are prevented from doing so by IT restrictions. However, even for my own company website (which is visited by as many business types as tech types) I've decided to stop supporting IE6. I'm not going to do anything crazy to make the site a bad experience for them, I'm just not going to spend the extra hours to make it the best experience for them either.

    It's sad that there's so many out there still holding on to a 2001 piece of software, and a bad piece of software at that. :-(

  22. Ryan 8/20/2008 8:38 AM
    Although I agree if the internet is to start looking better we need to spend less time worrying about outdated browsers, it's hard to stop supporting IE6, I'm curious as to what percent of your users are still using it? I know for my friends and family most of them still use IE6, not by choice but several reasons.

    They don't notice the difference. It's a hard time getting them to actually switch to Firefox, a lot of them don't really see the difference at first, "the web is the web". Generally what I have to do to get them to convert is to show them how add ons work, usually finding one that looks really cool to them, something they will find interesting. And most people don't like the idea of having to download a browser, they want what "came in the box", upgrades apparently scare them. I have to pretty much do all of the upgrades for my friends.

    Windows 98 does not support IE7, and I couldn't get it to update, which is good for MS at least, they know when to stop supporting old tech too I guess. However a few people I know have machines that are just too old to support XP, so they don't really have the choice to upgrade, so it's either FF (or Opera or Safari or any of the other browsers) or a new computer. And a lot of my family seems to be distrustful of FF, don't really know why, but my grandma is still using IE6.

    Upgrading on XP can be a real pain as well, if you're not "genuine" at least. Windows Update just doesn't work like it should, you can't scan your computer and simply make the updates, you need to know you need IE7, search for it and download it. I actually finally got around to updating my XP a few months, take a few hours for SP3 and IE7 to work, and finding an actual download link on MS's site was not too easy too, something I don't think the common user will be willing to go through.
  23. Bruce Clark 8/20/2008 10:13 AM
    Great posting. I support your decision. IE6 is a hindrance to developers' time. And most good developers should have a site that looks *decent* in IE6, just not pixel perfect.

    This is okay! IE6 users that are locked in can still use it, but really the time and effort can be put forth for those with a better browser to enjoy the site more.
  24. Ryan Farley 8/20/2008 10:28 AM
    @Ryan, I feel your pain. I support my family with their computers as well. Fortunately, they take my word as to why the need to upgrade and they do it. Even the most computer illiterate of my family is on the newest browser. The sort of people you describe, that are still on Win98 or just don't know how to upgrade (or what the benefit would be) are definitely not who this site, or any of my other sites, are targeted at. My company is one that deals in technology (a consulting company). We don't deal with people on Win98 or non-genuine copies of WinXP or people that don't understand the benefits of upgrading (notwithstanding the companies with IT restrictions preventing upgrades). However, my sites, even this blog, sees a significant amount of IE6 traffic. These are developers, IT professionals, etc who understand, or at least *should* understand the value of upgrading and have not (not counting those who are prevented from upgrading by IT). These are the people that this movement is directed to. I seriously mean no offense, but your family and friends who are refusing to upgrade because they don't see what the difference is will eventually get left behind as far as web technology is concerned. I don't think that the development community should be required to support these sort of users indefinitely. Besides, maybe they would understand why they need to upgrade if every site they went to told them that they needed to and stopped spending all the extra time to cater their sites to these users with antiquated browsers.

    @Bruce Clark, amen! That is exactly what this is all about "have a site that looks *decent* in IE6, just not pixel perfect"

  25. cfx 8/20/2008 10:45 AM
    I think its even better to be non-technical about it. most of these people do not know they are using IE6. they are often just using some computer and don't know the difference between OS and browser.

    so framing it in terms of "the developers" (what are they ?) or "standards" or some confusing message about lots of different upgrade options is simply speaking the wrong language the wrong people.

    I say on non-customer-serving websites just returns a simple message: "IE6 is no longer supported". they will eventually get the message.
  26. Ryan Farley 8/20/2008 11:14 AM
    @cfx, that is an excellent point. That is why I am liking the route better than the The site doesn't say anything about "developers". You can add their script to your page and it will float a small box to the user saying that they have an important upgrade available. They click the link and it takes them to the Microsoft IE upgrade page. I like that better - although it is just the sort of thing I always tell my non-tech family members to never click on :-)

  27. Scott Hulbert 8/20/2008 11:55 AM
    Hey Ryan,

    Why not use Dean Edward's IE7/8.js files that will fix a lot of the issues. The way I see it, using a Javascript solution means worse experience for IE users but things will still display decently and it saves you tons of time.
  28. Chuck 8/22/2008 1:20 PM
    Don't forget that there are a lot of companies out there, stuck on IE6. The poor saps working in these companies have no input as to when/if the company will upgrade to IE7.
  29. Janko At Warp Speed 9/3/2008 1:27 PM
    Pingback from Janko At Warp Speed - Amazing web development articles of Summer 2008
  30. CarbonGraffiti 9/3/2008 1:29 PM
    Pingback from CarbonGraffiti - The Reverse Tipping Point: Say goodbye, IE6
  31. Think about it... 10/21/2008 12:45 PM
    Having IE6 is mandated by my company. We are a Fortune 50 company with thousands of internal applications. Continually certifying them to the newest IE/Windows release costs millions of dollars. My company made a decision to skip Vista & IE7. There simply is no compelling business reason to upgrade while XP & IE6 are patched/supported by MicroSoft.

    A lot of businesses are making these choices rather than lay off IT workers just to play 'chase the browser, chase the OS'.

    Good luck with your crusade.
  32. Ryan Farley 10/28/2008 10:15 AM
    @Think about it...

    Thanks for the comment. As I mentioned earlier, I realize that there are many who are restricted by their corporate IT departments and only allowed to use IE6. That is fine. I don't intend to make my sites inaccessible to them, I just don't want to be held to catering to the lowest common denominator, dumbing down my sites and making them less than what they *could* be because of them. These corporate IE6 users will still be able to access my sites, it just won't be as nice of an experience as those with more up to date browsers will have.

    However, I don't understand your reasoning of "businesses are making these choices rather than lay off IT workers just to play 'chase the browser'". How does a company's decision to support a version of a browser equate to laying off IT staff?

  33. PG 12/12/2008 3:32 AM
    Hi guys.
    Guess what. I'm a web developer, prefering IE6. Suppose our kind must be rare these days, eh?
    I'm not going to be very specific, cause there are a lot of reasons. Summing it up:

    * IE6 is much more responsive than IE7. I'm not talking about page rendering, I'm talking about gui. IE7 smells like Vista. And that's a bad thing.

    * IE6 has a more configurable gui. This one's weird, but true. And sad. Sad but true.

    * IE6 eats less resources.

    Of course it would be a better world without IE6, but without a better substitute + 23% IE6 users out there I don't think that this will happen tomorrow. When IE8 arrives I will have my fingers crossed that Microsoft learned their lesson.

    Firefox is another sad story. An application that doesn't follow windows standards is bad. Talking about bad, using a frickin sql server for handling browser history and bookmarks is just plain stupid! Take a look at the disk access when FF3 is running. Hell, you just have to use your ears to hear what's wrong with this idea.
  34. Atlanta real estate 1/20/2009 7:53 AM
    The funny thing is that very few of us still support IE. Everybody got fed up with it over the years and now we have more options....and I don't mean Netscape Navigator! lol
  35. Tom 2/28/2009 12:44 AM
    Gravatar is down
  36. Ryan Farley 2/28/2009 1:52 AM
    @Tom, ah, so it is. The crusade must be over. Did we win? Hehe :-p
  37. Jeanette 5/8/2009 6:17 PM
    I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, lots of my clients still run IE6 for some odd reason and I have to support it. I wish that everyone would move on.

  38. Jason 5/11/2009 1:17 PM
    I am the Sr. Programmer/Analyst for a small software company, so I understand your rant about supporting IE6. My decision to stay away from web development was influenced heavily by the aggravation of developing the same code for multiple, constantly-changing platforms. I agree with everything you said, except I don't agree with your tone.

    You wrote:
    "I'm not talking about making my sites inaccessible to these users, or even those who just don't upgrade due to their own ignorance."

    That is elitist. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't make them ignorant.

    I am using IE6. I actually upgraded to IE7 to fix a problem, and rolled back the next day when it didn't fix the problem. I didn't like it. I don't remember all the things I didn't like about it. But one of the primary things is that I have a very, very minimal interface. (My browser buttons are small, with no text, directly beside the menu bar.) I don't like those huge buttons at the top of IE7. I installed Firefox... and uninstalled it. Same issue. I read that it might be possible that I skin it to achieve a minimal interface. But any effort is more effort than just staying with IE6.

    As far as add-ins. If I go to a site and it requires an add-in, any add-in other than flash, I close the site. No site is that important. There is no greater source of problems, frustration and aggravation than a programmer attempting to try out something "cool" on my computer causing it to hang, respond sluggishly, or worse.

    And that leads to my last point, I don't care what your site or any site looks like, as long as the site is legible. I got to your site while searching for the answer to a problem. As long as I can read the solution I am happy.

    BTW: I don't think your site looks bad in IE6. And I don't care what it looks like in IE7 or IE8. I really don't want to disparage the effort you made in making your site look good. The people that do care will upgrade.

    Just my thoughts.
  39. Ryan Farley 5/11/2009 3:19 PM
    Hello Jason, welcome to 2009 :-)

    You say that my statement "I'm not talking about making my sites inaccessible to these users, or even those who just don't upgrade due to their own ignorance." is elitist. I completely disagree.

    You are actually choosing to continue to use outdated software. You are making a conscious decision to continue using software that is proven to perform drastically slower than all other newer alternatives. You have decided to use a browser that does not support all the wonderful advances we have made over the last 8 years in web development. These are facts, not some fanboy opinions about a particular browser.

    To me, that *is* ignorant, not just a difference of opinion.

    And all for what? To have your toolbar a certain way? There are many tests floating around that measure browser performance for rendering HTML, processing Javascript, etc. IE6 isn't even in the same ballpark as *any* other browser, yet that is what you're choosing to use?

    This isn't about "a programmer attempting to try out something "cool" on my computer". This is all about the advancement of technology and not letting an antiquated browser hold it back.

    I do appologize if my tone sounds rude or elitist. But come on, anyone who actually chooses to stay with IE6 is just simply missing facts.

  40. Jason 5/12/2009 9:10 AM
    I understand your argument and I said, I agree. Our difference of opinion is rooted in the fact that you do this for a living and to me it afterthought, at best.

    It is a browser. The sites I go to come up quickly, almost instantaneously. Do I care if they come up a few milliseconds faster? No. And I have already stated, I don't really care how they look.

    My choice on which browser I am going to use is about as important to me as the choice of whether I am going to wear a blue shirt today or a red one.

    The choice is obviously very important to you because it directly affects how much work you have to do and the quality (or perceived quality) of your work. I respect your position. I just wanted to point out that to some of us, I believe for most of us, the browser doesn't really matter. Am I consciously using outdated software when there may be something better, yeah. But as so often in life, "better" is quite relative. And I view the choice of which browser to use so insignificant that a mundane and almost irrelevant feature, such as the size of the buttons can be a deciding factor for me... Inertia is also a big factor. I work with computers all day. I want to do as little as possible with computers when I am not at work.

    Again, this is just my opinion. I simply thought you might like to have some perspective on those of us who choose to use IE6 and are not locked into that choice by an IT department. We may be ignorant but I will note, it has been said that ignorance is bliss. And I am (blissfully) still not upgrading. ;)

    Have a great day!
  41. Bandit 6/3/2009 2:23 AM
    IE6 makes web developer work harder. (And also my blog)
    Because it You'll waste a lot of time to make website to look good for IE6.
    Other browser is ok but not on IE6.

    So I think I'll not support IE6 to!
  42. Chris 7/15/2009 8:20 AM
    IE6 has so many security issues and holes. MSFT should just stop supporting it now. I don't really understand why that isn't getting more attention in this discussion.
  43. SoN9ne 7/28/2009 7:33 AM
    IE6, last I checked, has 142 known vulnerabilities; 22 of which are unpatched and rated- moderately critical in severity.

    Go ahead and wear the blue shirt, the red makes you look like a douche.

    You should listen to the IT department, they speak for a reason. If your car company issues a recall for a major flaw in their design will you get it fixed? Same concept, just instead of your life at stake its your digital life. Since you have the blind eye, how much do you care about your identity? IE6 has vulnerabilities that can allow malicious scripts to steal your personal information.

    Not trying to be mean, just tired of people supporting IE6 when they have no clue what they are talking about or just too lazy to hit a button to upgrade. Don't be scared of change, most of the time updates are security fixes, updates are important. Then again you are using IE so security must not be that big of a deal for you.
  44. Ryan Farley 7/28/2009 8:27 AM
    Well said S0N9ne. Thanks.
  45. Spanien Immobilien 9/6/2009 12:28 PM
    Bin ein sehr moderner mensch der gerne Technik mag - es wir mir zu viel entwickelt - bevor die alten IE etc. funktionieren.
  46. Hunter 9/7/2009 9:42 PM
    I still have IE6 (the whole reason I am here is because I just visited a site that displays a huge pop-up for IE6 and was looking for a way to disable that). I have downloaded numerous "browsers," most of which, unfortunately, are based on IE's kernel and more or less look like a glorified skin.

    The idea was to update the security and standards while not messing with the interface and features. There is no such browser. IE8 has gigantic buttons and likes to use fading icons on pages. Firefox is bloated to say the least, expects you to keep a library of addons, and inappropriate for the old computer I have. I tried Opera and found it unsuitable for me also. I tried Chrome, which forbids that you turn tabs off (tabs are a no-no with me, I use the taskbar in windows for that purpose).

    I used to look forward to browser updates, but I am not really behind all the special effects changes incorporated into browsers today.

    I am also comfortable with the fact that not all pages display correctly (about 85% which I visit do), but it was the idea that a developer essentially vandalise their site for some visitors to force them to use a different browser which bothered me. There are no such "features" for Netscape or other antique browsers, because not enough "ignorant" people use them to justify the effort.

    I will continue with IE6 until the irritation caused by the constant use of a browser with a design I dislike is exceeded by the irritation caused by pages rendering incorrectly. That point has taken years to arrive, and will probably still take years to come. I am tired of IE6's quirks (such as it's complete and total inability to always open maximised), but I sadly have found nothing better!

    Thanks for the interesting discussion.
  47. a 10/21/2009 6:55 AM
    IE 6 sucks! Kill it.
  48. Dean P 11/24/2009 6:11 AM
    Sorry, but the 'lazy' argument is just 'crazy.'

    Instead, clients need to understand that if we take the time and expense to include IE6 support, that we limit other features they could be implementing with said time and effort ...

    ... simply by upgrading to a browser designed for this decade.

    Seriously, if I were a veterinarian, I'd find myself telling our patients for whom we measure technology in canine lifecycles that:

    "I'm sorry Mam, but in dog years ... your browser is dead!-)"
  49. Rich Alger 1/23/2010 1:25 AM
    We have also experienced the bane of ie6. About 6 months ago our company went though it's many web apps to see if they would be ready for ie7. Kind of crazy since ie8 was already out. One of my co-workers often brings up the lack of rounded corner support still in ie8. FF has supported that for years.
  50. Ryan 4/5/2010 8:15 PM
    Google, YouTube, and other giant sites have stopped supporting IE6. That should tell us all something right there.

  51. Mark 4/26/2010 8:59 AM
    Agree with your sentiments.
    Also, I clicked on the link labeled "creating better experiences for your visitors" and got a Runtime error. Oh, the irony!
  52. Gravatar
    Thanks for the lead on the java script over at, I cant stand ie either.
Comments have been closed on this topic.



Also see my CRM Developer blog