Get the Right Start

Many people are particular about the state of their computer when logging on or booting up. They take the time to set certain applications to start at log in or for various application windows to be placed just so. The idea is to have your machine set up in the exact manner that helps you to do whatever it is that you need to do.

But what about the browser? With the focus on cloud computing and web applications, for many people, the browser start page is now the more important item to have set properly so as to meet your needs.

This shift has brought about the proliferation of many new ‘start’ pages that employ different approaches. Which suits you best will depend on your needs.

Here’s a few that caught our eye.

Information Portals

There has been a lot of focus — from the big players — on the portal page. This is the type of site that focuses on bringing all of your important web applications onto one page. It’s a “one-page-for-all-your-needs” mentality.

Email, pictures, RSS feeds, calendars and your tasks can all be accessed from one of these pages.

The Big Names

When it comes to information, including personal information, Google leads the way. iGoogle is the page that will bring all your Google tools to your browser in one nice window. Yahoo and Live (Microsoft) are of the same mold.

Other services in this field include Pageflakes and Netvibes.



Great integration with all the Google apps.

MY Yahoo


Still one of the most popular pages on the web.



Chock full of Ajax.



Highly customizable.

A More Simple Approach

But not everyone likes a crowded page with smileys and sunsets. If you prefer a simpler way to start your browsing session, give these a try.



Add only what you need, including bookmarks and notes.


A nice replacement to keep your bookmarks or favorite feeds.

Alternative Options

Maybe the portal approach is not for you. With the options that are available to you, that’s okay. Give one of these a try.

Extreme Minimalism

Nothing screams minimal like a blank page. It’s hard to be distracted from the task at hand with this home page.



Nothing to see here.

Go Straight to the Source

Another perfectly legitimate option is to admit that when you open your browser, you’re there for entertainment. Forget about a portal page, email or other tool — go straight to the social tool of your choice and see what your peeps are up to.


Blog your thoughts or catch up on the news.

Blog your thoughts or catch up on the news.


Browse through the Twittersphere.

Browse through the Twittersphere.

Remind Yourself

An interesting option from Jack Cheng, StickyScreen allows you to save a note for yourself. Maybe you need a reminder to focus on your task or some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. Use Stickyscreen to remind yourself of just that.



A nice way to remind yourself what you SHOULD be doing.

What’s in Your Browser?

This list only scratches the surface. Leave a comment and let us know what your start page is — and why.


Add Yours
  • I’ve kept the default Firefox start page. I’ve never ever thought of changing it 😛

  • Hi, I use Symbaloo and I like it.
    Take a look at

    • Hmm, that’s an interesting site I haven’t heard of. Thanks for the mention.

    • Thanks for this! I have tried igoogle but didnt like it. This is awesome! Already made it my homepage

  • I use flock, that has a nice start page with RSS feeds and last friends content from social networks like facebook, twitter and flickr.

  • Try about:blank, I implore you.

    You can focus on where you are going next, not be held back by what the jackson family is saying or what the weather is in the place you holidayed last year.

    I made the switch last week after installing a completely clean Snow Leopard and the time saved merely by not moving widgets around or tweaking colours really mounts up.

    It is about:blank for me from now on.

  • I’ve used Netvibes for while now and it’s great. It’s very customisable and I actually prefer it as an RSS reader compared to some of the more obvious choices (makes for very quick/easy glancing at what’s going on).

    I use it as a one stop shop for RSS, to-do lists, notes and various handy widgets (Lorem Ipsum generation, unit conversion, eBay monitoring, weather reports, public wish lists, Flash games on the sly 😉 etc). If I was a Facebooker I’d probably use it for that too. It also makes for easy content/widget sharing with other Netvibes ‘friends’.

  • My homepage is google reader (rss feeds).

  • Haha Tijl, I was just going to mention that.
    I use Apple Safari’s Top Sites, but symbaloo can be useful too. Only con is it’s so much to set up.

  • Mine is set to (localhost)

  • I dont’t have any start page because I constantly have at least 15 tabs opened in Firefox (and a few in Opera and Safari). So the first page I see everyday i the last I saw the day before. 😉

  • Lol that’s a new topic to discuss 😀

    I use Chrome and Opera (mostly Chrome recently cause Opera crashes a lot on my Vista :s)

    On Chrome it’s about:blank. I have the quick bookmarks well arranged and I get to the sites I visit frequently more quickly

    On Opera you’ve the speed-dial storing 16 websites I use most!

    • Good to hear from Opera users — and interesting to hear that you use the speed-dial. From my experience, it doesn’t seem like a lot of Safari users make use of the top sites feature (similar to Opera’s speed-dial).

      I know I don’t. It just a little too slow.

  • Thanks for recommending StickyScreen. This might be just what I need. Yet, I believe the best of all options given is the good old about:blank page.

    • That seems to be a popular sentiment Karen :)

  • Mine is Firefox’s default start page. I think no need to change it to Google. 😉

    • I have a different start page for each browser.Google Chrome has Google search page. Firefox has My Yahoo with bookmark links, Yahoo Answers preview, Horoscope and a lot more. I very rarely use my Internet Explorer but it’s start page is MSN home page.

  • I have soooo many different web browsers (7, to be precise), and they are all different. I change which one I use, depending what mood I’m in, and I’m welcomed by a different start-up screen with each one. The one I use most regularly though (safari) has facebook as the start-up screen…

  • I use Safari’s Top Sites, which I find works wonderfully! Some nice looking options there though as well.

  • Opera’s SpeedDial. Since I use multiple computers (All which have Opera). I fill the speed dial with all the different sites that I visit before I get started working.

  • I use Firefox and iGoogle. iGoogle has all the things I need – Local News, My Inbox, Google Talk, Google Reader etc..Its my one stop shop.

  • I use its great!

  • Top Site page of Safari 4 works for me 😉

  • I was a happy netvibes user until it started getting bloated and slow with all my feeds… So then a changed to Google Reader as homepage (and missed my “weather” and gmail and facebook, and calendar widgets) and when I discovered Feedly, feedly it was…

    But recently in a deep search for my lost productivity I decided to go for, which I think is an interesting alternative to the Sticky Homepage… What you fill is a To-Do list and it shows you one item at a time, so when you feel tempted to go to facebook you always know what you should be really doing… It works preety well for me…

    And after that, having a New tab page is very useful, I like the Google Chrome one, that you can also get in FF by installing the Google Toolbar, from there I can go to all my unproductive websites again! =)

  • using about:blank.. want to search? just use the search bar.. dun need any fancy startup pages..

  • At the moment it’s iGoogle but it takes a while to load, so I’ve turned most of the widgets off. I’m considering a switch now. Maybe about:blank! 😀

  • I use facebook in the 1st tab & twitter in the 2nd tab for my homepages.

    Cheers, Evan G

  • I used to use NetVibes for a while, then switched to iGoogle. I finally setup my browser (Safari) to open a blank page since anything else slows down the browser. In a day, I open at least 10 to 15 new tabs/windows and barely 2 or 3 of them are to visit the same page. So I figured that a blank homepage works best for me.

    Safari’s Top Sites is a nice attempt, but it takes for ever to load. otherwise that would have been perfect for me.

  • These are nice. I didn’t know some of them but I’m kinda happy with my current startpage, which is because it does not require a registration.

  • My company’s backend page :)))

  • I like Just sign in with Twitter or Facebook account or an OpenID.