I run a small business on the Internet selling groceries to British expats around the world. My computer is used to build and maintain the business Web site, receive orders and process them, and to build a small worldwide community of expats who I feed with a little bit of rubbish from my twice-monthly newsletter.

In addition to my work, I use the Web to research on current areas in which I am interested and to keep in touch with friends across the world. My wife now also uses it to a large extent to keep in touch with friends and family around the UK and the globe.

IE was a constant pain: despite a broadband connection at home, the browser was slow, and I did not like opening a new browser to go to a new page. IE didn’t feel intuitive at all, and appeared to have been built by geeks with geeks in mind — not novices. As time went on, I became more aware of and worried by the holes in the software which could lead to security issues.

I had used Mosaic then Netscape Navigator before moving to IE, having found that a lot of sites were not giving the same results as IE. Some 18 months ago, I tried and liked an earlier version of Opera, but again found there were one or two issues with it, so I went on to Avant (an IE plug-in) — that was fantastic!

After some months, my son-in-law told me that Opera had brought out a new version of their browser, so I went back to it. I now use Opera all the time, and cannot see myself using anything else. My favourites and bookmarks are there from the other browsers I have used — they are easier to manage, and all the sites I go to work very well in the browser.

One of the real benefits from using Opera is that I can alter the way in which a Web site appears in the browser. If I want to see how a Web site looks in IE then I can do so just by changing one option in Opera. Similarly, there are other browser types available. This is very important when I am trying out a new page on my site.

It is easier to open multiple sites at the same time, or to re-open sites which you visited before you closed the browser down. It has email and chat functions, it’s faster, and it’s free — all in all, much better than IE!