Since IE8 is such a backward browser, I was wondering if there are any web-sites on the Internet that just don't support IE altogether (and block it via conditional comments, for instance)?

I remember stumbling upon web-sites that block Firefox in the past (like ~2004).

The justification of blocking IE is (obviously): You don't want to deal with IE bugs, and you don't want to have to maintain IE-specific hack and workarounds.

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    Keep in mind that unless you are in a situation where you can dictate browser usage (intranet, site admin) blocking any major browser is a bad idea. The only thing you really accomplish is turning away users. That usually doesn't benefit any website. – John Conde Jan 30 '11 at 15:26
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    @John You're missing something, there is one important benefit of blocking IE: The source code of your web-site a) is allowed to include modern HTML/CSS/ES/... features, and b) is not polluted with IE-specific hacks/workarounds. – Šime Vidas Jan 30 '11 at 15:31
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    It's a bold statement to say it's worth blocking the majority of internet users just so you don't have to possibly deal with IE bugs or not take advantage of newer technologies. As an experienced developer I find IE bugs rarely make an appearance and usually don't take long to overcome. Plus with graceful degradation I can use newer CSS techniques and still have IE users use the site and have a great experience. – John Conde Jan 30 '11 at 15:36
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    I don't know of any company that would just throw away potentially 13% of their revenue when they can keep that 13% with very little effort. Would you? Unless they explicitly say to do it, and you don't talk them out of it, then you should be attempting to support every browser. Excluding browsers is very frowned upon and unprofessional (and, like I said above, unnecessary). (Once again, if they explicitly say to do it then that's a whole different issue). – John Conde Jan 30 '11 at 22:24
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    IE6 is not difficult to ensure compatibility for. You don't have to make everything the same in IE6 as other browsers, it just has to ultimately provide the same information/perform the same action. Remember, it's not the age of the browser, it's the size of the userbase and IE6 has a large userbase. And every almost technology degrades gracefully usually with no special code required. Just making a site accessible and usable assures that. And if SE abandoned IE6 most reactions would be positive except those from IE6 users who would then leave this site. That's why they haven't abandoned IE6! – John Conde Jan 31 '11 at 1:13

I'm sure you can find some site on the whole net but I would imagine these sites aren't very succesful unless they have a really specific audience to start with(Like developers for example).

I looked at one of my sites with a very mixed audiance(sports club website). And I have about 65% IE users. Blocking that many visitors it would be much harder for the site to get traction and reach critical mass.

I would say IE8 is a quite capable browser as long as you stay away from CSS3 and HTML5. Older versions are a pain in the arse though. Instead of blocking the access it would be much wiser to show a warning explaining why it look and work bad. This way the site can show what it has to offer while hopefully encouraging the user to get a better browser. I would expect any larger site adapted to IE atleast partially. Noone is going to download a new browser because of a site they haven't seen the content of.

If you were searching for examples I'm sorry I couldn't help you. I think it is very rare to block all versions of IE and I have never seen it.

  • I'm just trying to find any web-site (with unique content) on the Internet that is blocking IE. :) – Šime Vidas Jan 30 '11 at 15:27
  • @Sime: Not supporting is not the same as "blocking". You might find some that don't specifically support IE (but will probably render just fine in IE8), but there's no sense in blocking a browser. The user could easily spoof their user agent (you could end up blocking FF users), and if the site renders poorly on their screen, they'll leave on their own. You gain nothing from actively barring people from your site. – Lèse majesté Jan 31 '11 at 4:01

To block Internet Explorer is suicide in my opinion.

I hate the browser, I think it's slow and buggy and rather rubbish at the job it's mean to do. If I could choose not to support the browser, believe me I would!

However, it is important to recognise a lot of people still use Internet Explorer, something around the 60% mark (I may be wrong on this but I know it's a massive number), and if you block access to that website you are blocking the access of 60% of the traffic on the web to your site. 9 times out of 10, these people won't even bother going back to your website on a different browser ever again.

If you are that bothered about writing code to fix IE bugs, then I would suggest you take a look at the way you actually code your HTML and CSS. It is very possible (and easy) to write HTML and CSS that will work on ALL browsers (with the exception of IE6) without using conditional tags to load IE specific fixes.

As I have mentioned IE6, I would suggest developing a very low-res version of the site to run on this browser. So instead of having a nice site that's got gradients and transparent PNG's, when some one in IE6 see's the site they will see a very basic layout with a reminder to either install Google Gears, or upgrade their browser.

You must remember that while most of the people who go on the internet do own their own computers, they may not have decent enough hardware to run a better browser OR want to upgrade their browser. A guy in the office the other day said he loved using Internet Explorer, while he could see why people may hate it, for him there was no other option to view websites. He wanted to use IE.

But it is very possible to write CSS and HTML that will look the same in Firefox and Chrome as it will in IE 7 and IE 8. I think you need to look at your coding skills and practices before cutting IE out.

  • @mickburkejnr There are dozens of features that are not implemented in IE8 and below. If you want to use those features and support IE8 at the same time, you'll have to write additional code (hacks/workarounds) specifically for IE. The other option is to avoid those new features altogether. So the available options are: a) don't support IE8, b) don't use features that are not supported by IE8, c) use features that are not supported by IE8, but write additional IE-specific hacks. I am developing web-pages for developers (e.g. W3 Viewer), so I can afford to block IE8. – Šime Vidas Apr 14 '11 at 15:12
  • @mickburkejnr I believe, your option of choice is b), correct? – Šime Vidas Apr 14 '11 at 15:13
  • @Sime What would these features be then? I've never come across any specific need to do extra work for IE. As the internet is platform-agnostic, be free for all people and accessible, your choice of blocking IE would go against this. Thats why people spend time making it work across all browsers, for everyone to view and for everyone to view. – mickburkejnr Apr 14 '11 at 15:39
  • @mick CSS: about 26 CSS selectors (:not(), :checked, :last-child, etc.), a dozen of CSS properties (box-shadow, border-radius, opacity, text-shadow, etc.), media queries, 2D transforms, transitions, RGBA color values; HTML: CANVAS, AUDIO and VIDEO elements, new semantic elements, new form field types and attributes; APIs: Web workers, Offline web-applications, Geolocation; JavaScript: A dozen of Object static functions, a dozen of Array methods; Other: TrueType fonts, SVG 1.1 (Note: this is not a complete list.) – Šime Vidas Apr 14 '11 at 16:21
  • @Sime Well HTML5 tags aren't going to work in IE 7 or 8! The use of HTML5 Shim will help that, as well as CSS3Pie. Honestly your wasting your time blocking out IE altogether especially as the issues are lying with HTML5 support in browsers that were built years before HTML5 was even released. It is to be expected!!! – mickburkejnr Apr 14 '11 at 22:50

Personally, I have not encountered any sites that exclude IE. From IE7, there are very few issues with IE. This is mostly minor cosmetic ones you can ignore. It usually don't break the page, just makes it look slightly different than you intended.

If someone bans a page, it is probably as a general protest against Microsoft, rather than not wanting to pollute code with workarounds for IE.

You might not have a large percentage of IE users in your area, but world wide, IE still has a good share. See this page on w3schools that measures the browser statistics hit on their page. The statistics for IE degrades gradually, but is still miles ahead Safari and Opera. It is still one tiny step ahead of Chrome, but it seems like it is Chrome that takes over the IE users, as IE degrades at about the same speed as Chrome increases.

That said - w3schools is a site that is not quite representable for a normal user, because it is a site mainly for web developers, and technical (especially web technical) people are more reluctant to IE than normal internet users. Most non-technical Windows users will stick to IE because they don't bother to switch to anything else.

From a users perspective, there are a lot of sites, which are primary designed for IE (because it historically has been the larges user base). These sites are mostly tested also for Firefox, but that's where it stops, which leaves the browsers that are stricter to the standards out of the loop (Firefox works good with the standards, but also allows for more buggy HTML than many other browsers).

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