What Makes a Browser?
Most web browsers include the following elements:
- An Address Bar - This is where you enter the URL or address of the website you want to visit.
- A Home Button - This is a button that returns you to your starting point, aka your home page.
- A Stop Button - This is used to cancel a page that is loading.
- A Refresh Button - The Refresh button reloads the current page.
- Back and Forwards Buttons - These buttons allow you to move back to the previous page or forward to the next. (Often displayed on the top of your browser as left and right arrows.)
- A Search Bar - This is used to search the Web, most modern browsers now combine the search bar with the address bar.
Internet Explorer or IE is the web browser included with the Windows operating system since 1995. Due to the widespread use of the Windows operating system, Internet Explorer was considered the default web browser for many years. With a 27% share of the market, Internet Explorer is currently the second most popular web browser.
Firefox debuted in 2002 and was first named Phoenix, then Firebird before the final change to Firefox, due to naming conflicts with other software companies. Today, Firefox is currently the third most popular web browser in the world with a 22% market share. Firefox is free to download and is built on an open source platform. It is also one of the more secure web browsers available. To learn more, check out the Mozilla Firefox site.
Coming in at number one in popularity (and my personal favorite), and with a 45% market share, is Google Chrome. Built on the open source Chromium Browser, Google Chrome has surged ahead of the competition since it’s introduction in 2008. Google Chrome has a very clean looking interface with very few buttons, no toolbars allowed, and extensive enhancements available from the Web Store. Google Chrome is also very secure and will often prevent you from visiting a malicious website (although you can override this feature). Google Chrome is also very customizable, although some of the more advanced tools are hidden.
Although not as well known as “the big three” Opera is a great web browser with a very clean interface and a greater focus on privacy than the others. Although originally a paid product, Opera is now available for free. With original development way back in 1995, many of Opera’s features have been copied over the years by other browsers. Opera has seen greater success in the mobile world and is also at the core of the Nintendo Wii’s web browser.
Tor is a web browser originally designed for the US Navy to provide the user with a secure, private, web browsing experience. Because of its unique encryption and information relay, your browsing sessions are far less traceable. This makes Tor an excellent choice for anyone concerned about online security and privacy. .
Safari is the default browser included on devices from Apple since 2003. There was also a version for Windows but it was discontinued in 2007. If you don’t own a Mac, you’re most likely to use Safari on iPad or iPhone. Like its counterparts, Safari can sync your content across multiple devices.
There’s no “best” browser. If you like what you’re using, then that’s great! If you are dissatisfied, download another popular browser and give it a try. We often have more than one browser installed on our personal systems and will use them for different things. Occasionally, you may have trouble with your browser properly displaying a web site. An easy possible solution is to simply switch to another browser and try the same site on there. Try different browsers to see what they have to offer!
Do you have a question or topic you’d like us to address? Email and let us know!