Browser usage on GOV.UK

Earlier this year James Weiner and Ben Welby wrote about the browsers and devices that we are supporting on GOV.UK. We made these decisions using browser/device data from various sources including Directgov, BusinessLink, central government departments and several other big sites.

Now that GOV.UK has been getting real traffic for a while, we are starting to gather our own usage data. I wanted to share quick snapshot of the data so far. The figures we’ve collected aren’t much different from what we expected before launch.

All of this data is from 11th November to 11th December 2012.

OS Type Browser Version Percent
Desktop Internet Explorer 9 22.44%
Desktop Chrome 23 20.09%
Desktop Internet Explorer 8 15.75%
iOS Safari 6 8.71%
Desktop Firefox 16 6.48%
Desktop Internet Explorer 7 3.07%
Desktop Safari 6 2.81%
iOS Safari 5.1 2.32%
Android Android Browser 2.3 1.79%
Desktop Firefox 17 1.54%
Desktop Safari 5.1 1.42%
Android Android Browser 4 1.29%
Desktop Internet Explorer 6 1.02%

View the data on Github

As expected, Internet Explorer is the top browser with around 42% of the traffic. IE9 is the most used version (22.4%) followed by Chrome (20.1%), IE8 (15.7%), Safari on iOS devices (8.7%) and Firefox 16 (6.4%).

In January around 3% of visitors to Directgov used IE6, this has dropped to just over 1% on GOV.UK.

This data looks at all of GOV.UK. If we extract out just the Inside Gov part of the site, the figures change quite a bit, reflecting the change in audience.

OS Type Browser Version Percent
Desktop Internet Explorer 8 24.96%
Desktop Internet Explorer 9 19.7%
Desktop Chrome 23 18.22%
Desktop Internet Explorer 7 6.57%
Desktop Firefox 16 6.29%
iOS Safari 6 5.8%
Desktop Safari 6 2.32%
Desktop Internet Explorer 6 1.64%
iOS Safari 5.1 1.6%
Desktop Firefox 17 1.46%
Desktop Safari 5.1 1.39%

View the data on Github

Internet Explorer is still the top browser but gets a much higher percentage of visits – around 53%. IE8 (not IE9) is the most used version (24.9%) followed by IE9 (19.7%), Chrome (18.2%), IE7 (6.5%), Firefox 16 (6.2%) and Safari on iOS devices (5.8%).

IE6 use is around 1.6% for Inside Gov traffic.

As we know this data is valuable to many people, including those outside government, we are planning to share these figures regularly, as we do with the GOV.UK Performance Dashboard. More on that soon.


  1. Interesting. Will you publish OS usage as well? I like the fact that many visitors do not use IE, a characteristic that increases their chances of using GNU/Linux by several times.

  2. Interesting to note the comparatively low use via mobile.

    I suspect this isn’t down to any problem with the site but the nature of services accessible through it.

    1. Be aware there’s a (very!) long tail of ‘mobile’ browsers, which if you add up gives around 19% of the total. That said, definition of ‘mobile’ gets trickier and trickier!

      1. Very true, which strengthens the case of the former in the Responsive vs separate mobile site debate.

        Would be interesting to see the above stats broken down by device type.

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