ⓘ Web browser


Browser service, a feature of Microsoft Windows to let users browse and locate shared resources in neighboring computers Browser history Web browser, used to access the World Wide Web File browser, also known as a file manager, used to manage files and related objects Hardware browser, for displaying under the server or network hardware devices, and allows users to interact with the hardware of these tools. used to sense, detect, display and control hardware devices in the network. Code browser, for navigating source code Help browser, for reading online help

Browser game

A browser game is a video game that is played via the World Wide Web using a web browser. Browser games can be run using standard web technologies or browser plug-ins. The creation of such games usually involves use of standard web technologies as a frontend and other technologies to provide a backend. Browser games include all video game genres and can be single-player or multiplayer. Browser games are also portable and can be played on multiple different devices, web browsers, and operating systems. Browser games come in many genres and themes that appeal to both regular and casual playe ...

Browser engine

A browser engine is a core software component of every major web browser. The primary job of a browser engine is to transform HTML documents and other resources of a web page into an interactive visual representation on a users device.

Mobile browser

A mobile browser is a web browser designed for use on a mobile device such as a mobile phone or PDA. Mobile browsers are optimized so as to display Web content most effectively for small screens on portable devices. Mobile browser software must be small and efficient to accommodate the low memory capacity and low-bandwidth of wireless handheld devices. Typically, they were stripped-down web browsers, however, some recent mobile browsers can handle latest technologies also such as CSS 3, JavaScript, and Ajax. Websites designed so that they may be accessed from these browsers are referred to ...

Offline reader

An offline reader is computer software that downloads e-mail, newsgroup posts or web pages, making them available when the computer is offline: not connected to the Internet. Offline readers are useful for portable computers and dial-up access.

Comparison of web browsers

Browsers are compiled to run on certain operating systems, without emulation. This list is not exhaustive, but rather reflects the most common OSes today e.g. Netscape Navigator was also developed for OS/2 at a time when macOS 10 did not exist but does not include the growing appliance segment. Both the web browser and OS means most recent version, example: Windows 8 with Internet Explorer 10.


ⓘ Web browser

A web browser is a software application for accessing information on the World Wide Web. When a user requests a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web server and then displays the resulting web page on the users device.

A web browser is not the same thing as a search engine, though the two are often confused. For a user, a search engine is just a website, such as Google Search, Bing, or DuckDuckGo, that stores searchable data about other websites. However, to connect to a websites server and display its web pages, a user must have a web browser installed.

Web browsers are used on a range of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In 2019, an estimated 4.3 billion people used a browser. The most used browser is Google Chrome, with a 64% global market share on all devices, followed by Safari with 17%.


1. History

The first web browser, called WorldWideWeb, was created in 1990 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He then recruited Nicola Pellow to write the Line Mode Browser, which displayed web pages on dumb terminals; it was released in 1991.

1993 was a landmark year with the release of Mosaic, credited as "the worlds first popular browser". Its innovative graphical interface made the World Wide Web system easy to use and thus more accessible to the average person. This, in turn, sparked the Internet boom of the 1990s, when the Web grew at a very rapid rate. Marc Andreessen, the leader of the Mosaic team, soon started his own company, Netscape, which released the Mosaic-influenced Netscape Navigator in 1994. Navigator quickly became the most popular browser.

Microsoft debuted Internet Explorer in 1995, leading to a browser war with Netscape. Microsoft was able to gain a dominant position for two reasons: it bundled Internet Explorer with its popular Microsoft Windows operating system and did so as freeware with no restrictions on usage. Eventually the market share of Internet Explorer peaked at over 95% in 2002.

In 1998, Netscape launched what would become the Mozilla Foundation to create a new browser using the open source software model. This work evolved into Firefox, first released by Mozilla in 2004. Firefox reached a 28% market share in 2011.

Apple released its Safari browser in 2003. It remains the dominant browser on Apple platforms, though it did not become popular elsewhere.

The last major entrant to the browser market was Google. Its Chrome browser, which debuted in 2008, steadily took market share from Internet Explorer and became the most popular browser in 2012. Chrome has remained dominant ever since.

In terms of technology, browsers have greatly expanded their HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and multimedia capabilities since the 1990s. One reason has been to enable more sophisticated websites, such as web applications. Another factor is the significant increase of broadband connectivity, which enables people to access data-intensive web content, such as YouTube streaming, that was not possible during the era of dial-up modems.


2. Function

The purpose of a web browser is to fetch information resources from the Web and display them on a users device.

This process begins when the user inputs a Uniform Resource Locator URL, such as, into the browser. Virtually all URLs on the Web start with either http: or https: which means the browser will retrieve them with the Hypertext Transfer Protocol HTTP. In the case of https, the communication between the browser and the web server is encrypted for the purposes of security and privacy.

Once a web page has been retrieved, the browsers rendering engine displays it on the users device. This includes image and video formats supported by the browser.

Web pages usually contain hyperlinks to other pages and resources. Each link contains a URL, and when it is clicked or tapped, the browser navigates to the new resource. Thus the process of bringing content to the user begins again.

Most browsers use an internal cache of web page resources to improve loading times for subsequent visits to the same page. The cache can store many items, such as large images, so they do not need to be downloaded from the server again. Cached items are usually only stored for as long as the web server stipulates in its HTTP response messages.


3. Settings

Web browsers can typically be configured with a built-in menu. Depending on the browser, the menu may be named Settings, Options, or Preferences.

The menu has different types of settings. For example, users can change their home page and default search engine. They also can change default web page colors and fonts. Various network connectivity and privacy settings are also usually available.


During the course of browsing, cookies received from various websites are stored by the browser. Some of them contain login credentials or site preferences. However, others are used for tracking user behavior over long periods of time, so browsers typically provide settings for removing cookies when exiting the browser. Finer-grained management of cookies usually requires a browser extension.


4. Features

The most popular browsers have a number of features in common. They allow users to set bookmarks and browse in a private mode. They also can be customized with extensions, and some of them provide a sync service.

Most browsers have these user interface features:

  • A refresh or reload button to reload the current page.
  • Back and forward buttons to go back to the previous page visited or forward to the next one.
  • Allow the user to open multiple pages at the same time, either in different browser windows or in different tabs of the same window.
  • An address bar to input the URL of a page and display it.
  • A stop button to cancel loading the page. In some browsers, the stop button is merged with the reload button.
  • A home button to return to the users home page.
  • A search bar to input terms into a search engine. In some browsers, the search bar is merged with the address bar.

There are also niche browsers with distinct features. One example is text-only browsers that can benefit people with slow Internet connections or those with visual impairments.


5. Security

Web browsers are popular targets for hackers, who exploit security holes to steal information, destroy files, and other malicious activities. Browser vendors regularly patch these security holes, so users are strongly encouraged to keep their browser software updated. Other protection measures are antivirus software and avoiding known-malicious websites.