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There are many available C++ compilers to users today but which one is the best. Well that depends on what you define as “best” but I will share my experience with you based on the main compilers I have used. As a C++ programmer it is very important to use a compiler that will simplify your work and optimize your code well. Whilst it doesn’t really matter which compiler you use, certain characteristics of certain compilers will persuade you to use them more often than not. Its all about finding the right compiler for the right person.


Note: The below programs are C++ Compilers (that process code). They are not Integrated Development Environments (or IDE’s) which are programs that you use to write code.

You may also be interested in an article about The Best C++ IDE’s (Integrated Development Environment’s).

Microsoft Visual C++ Compiler

Microsoft Visual Studio Logo


Microsoft Visual Studio includes all the tools you need to create a powerful program in any language. Microsoft Visual C++ can also do the job but is targeted at the C++ programming language. This powerful compiler offers many compatibility profiles, many options to tweak and a state of the art error checker. It also comes with the Microsoft Visual Studio C++ compiler which is a very popular compiler. The IDE and compiler work well together and there are flags you can set to tell the compiler to ignore or not ignore certain things.  

I will mention that in the latest version of Visual Studio, Microsoft have gone a little overboard with security. Many extra things that were previously ignores are now being picked up which means that some may have to set configure compiler settings to suit their owns needs.

This is my current Compiler and I recommend it to everyone. Its fast, feature-packed and overall awesome. The only downside is that it is a paid software!

Students may be able to grab a free copy here: https://www.dreamspark.com/




GCC is an incredible compiler. It is widely used by many programmers and is popular due to its many features and integration with command lines. It is included in almost every copy of linux and is used in many IDE’s on Windows as well. It is a fast, clean and an easy to use compiler. You can set multiple flags in the command line when compiling to get the most out of your code. 

Optimizations/Error control is easily achieved and certain standards may be specified if required. It is not too hard to see why GCC is a super popular compiler. Used by millions around the world, it was sure to make our list. I recommend you try using GCC to compile as a experience if nothing more. Knowing how to use GCC will help you in the future even if you do decide to compile regularly with something else.

Borland C++ 

Borland Logo http://www.borland.com/

Borland provide a C++ compiler to help you make your lovely programs. Early versions of this compiler were buggy and outdated and the parent company went through a rough patch a while ago but the compiler today works well. 

Using the compiler is fairly straightforward, however the command line code can get a little confusing at times so adaption is a must.

The free version of the compiler no longer exists but the Borland C++ compiler is found every now and again in different IDE’s.

Intel C++ Compiler 

Intel Logo

Intel do make a fair amount of CPU’s these days so it is kind of expected that they would come up with their very own C++ Compiler. 

The Intel C++ compiler is a very nice compiler. It is not as feature backed but is impressive when optimizing for the Intel chipset.

Funnily enough, this compiler does not compiles poorly optimised code for AMD cpu’s.

Whilst I would not use this compiler everyday, it will be useful for certain projects.

Other Compilers 

List of Compilers – Wikipedia

There are also many, many other compilers out there. They could be of use to you. Remember that a compiler can be developed by anybody and they can make it act however they want so do some research and see what types of projects are out there.  

the best compiler is one that is the easiest and best to use for you. That is all you need to know in order to make your decision on what the best compiler for you is.

Good Luck!


If you believe there is a compiler that deserves a mention then please let me know in the comments below.

Oh got to go, I have finished compiling!


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Comments (20)

  • grantings
    grantings (December 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm)

    thanks for this.

    i got codeblocks myself. everyone should definately give it a shot

  • barbod
    barbod (June 11, 2011 at 1:53 am)


  • Triclops200
    Triclops200 (July 11, 2011 at 1:31 am)

    These aren’t compilers, they are IDEs, please get the term straight.

  • Jake
    Jake (September 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm)

    thanks for the info im using visual studio myself

  • Alex G.
    Alex G. (September 14, 2011 at 12:13 am)

    Great write! Visual Studio is the best IDE in my opinion.

  • Brainless
    Brainless (December 12, 2011 at 6:59 am)

    Actually as your friend were saying they are IDEs and got almost everything integrated, compilers just traslate the high level code to machine level code, there isn’t designing like the way you do in MV C++ grabbing buttons, textboxs etc, just compiling eg: turbo C++ where the code is generated from command line and a series of compilers for unix and linux application development.

  • mmstick
    mmstick (January 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm)

    I think all of you should try out Eclipse. Especially with Eclipse CDT plugin (adds C/C++ programming support), Aptana Studio 3 plugin, and PyDev. It has features and support that make it vastly superior to Visual Studio, as well as ability to choose different compilers (CDT comes with Microsoft Visual C++ and GCC compiler). Not to mention it works perfectly on Mac and Linux as well as Windows.

  • mmstick
    mmstick (January 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm)

    Also, Visual Studio 2010 Express is free

  • herks
    herks (February 4, 2012 at 11:39 pm)

    Yes, I currently using Visual Studio, and I think it is the best IDEs.

  • Michael Williams
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    I also agree with others, Visual Studio is just so simple to use and its packed with features.

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