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The only gateway to surfing the wide world of web is a web browser. If you want to search about anything, the first thing that you do is open your web browser and check out the results. Right? Well, a web browser is a kind of software that permits you to view various websites on the internet. We use it on a daily basis, and you are using one, right now!
There are ample web browsers available for your use, but the most common ones are here with an elaborated explanation. For instance, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. Let us initiate this article by understanding the concept of a web browser in detail!
Web browsers - In detail
A web browser is basically a client program that connects with the web server for any information as per the request of the user. After the request is received the web server circulates the data back to the browser and later it displays the results on the screen of the user. In the background, the browser sends a request to the Web servers all across the internet by using HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol.
Moving on to the next segment, here are some of the most common features of web browsers. Take a look:
- Home button: The home button helps you to go to the predefined homepage of any website.
- Refresh button: You can reload the webpages of any website by using the refresh button. At times due to the caching mechanism, you are unable to know the updated information. In such cases, when you hit the refresh button, you are able to see that particular information.
- Stop button: if you wish to disconnect the connection between the web browser and the server you can use the stop button. For instance, if there is any outside attack of malicious content on the browser, you can protect yourself with the help of this button.
- Web address bar: the space where you enter any web address is known as the web address bar.
- Bookmarks: bookmarks help you to save a particular website on your device for later use.
- Tabbed browsing: you can access multiple websites on a single window with the help of tabbed browsing. For instance, whenever you search for a topic on your browser, you get a list of options in front of you. You can open several tabs by clicking right on every link. This is tabbed browsing.
Another major term used while surfing the net is uniform resource locator. Well, here is the detailed analysis for you.
Every website has a unique address that is known as a uniform resource locator or URL. It is like the address of your house, but instead of land, it is on the internet. Whenever you type any URL in the address bar of the browser and hit enter, the browser redirects you to the page tagged along with that URL. For instance, www.abc.com.
A URL consists of the following:
- To access any resource, it uses the HTTP protocol.
- A fragment identifier is used.
- It defines the location of any server with the help of IP addresses.
After holding a decent grip over the basic features of a web browser, let us dive into the history of web browsers in detail!
History of Web Browsers
The first-ever web browser was WORLD WIDE WEB, developed by Tim Berners-Lee in the year 1990. After two years, a text-based browser named the Lynx browser was launched. It had several limitations, for instance, it was unable to display the graphical content.
Moving forward, in the year 1993, the first popular browser in the world was introduced known as Mosaic. After improvising a few aspects, Netscape Navigator came into the picture, in the year 1994. Then came the Internet Explorer, launched by the tech giant Microsoft, in the year 1995.
A few years later in 2003, Apple launched its own browser known as Safari, specially built for Mac computers. Later in 2004, Mozilla launched Firefox. In 2008, the most popular browser as of today, Google Chrome was invented. After that, Opera Mini, a mobile-based browser, was released in 2011. In 2015, the Microsoft Edge browser entered the market.
This was all about the origin of the most common web browsers available in the market. Now, it's time to understand several types of web browsers with their features in detail!
The software giant Microsoft launched this product back in 1995. Internet Explorer ruled the market at one time. It was one of the most popularly used web browsers. The user interface of Internet Explorer contains ample features. Take a look:
- Smart search suggestion
- Enhanced performance
- 33 language support
- Reader mood to view a webpage
Microsoft has currently discontinued Internet Explorer.
Mozilla Firefox has managed to be on the list of most popular browsers over the internet. It was launched in 2004. You can avail this web browser on Windows, Mac, as well as Linux operating systems. Take a look at the impressive set of features that Firefox owns:
- High security and performance
- Fast page loading
- 75 language support
- Inbuilt download manager
- Backed by gecko engine
Google Chrome is a web browser that has brought a tremendous revolution in the history of web browsers. At present, it is the most widely used browser. It is known for its strong browser performance.
Here is a list of a few features that the chrome homepage inhibits:
- Theme support
- Extremely fast and secure
- Fast page loading
- 50 language support
- Incognito mode and new tabs
Apple Inc. invented this web browser. By default, this web browser is present on all Apple devices. Safari supports the latest technologies like XHTML, CSS2, etc. Take a look at some of the impressive features of the Safari interface:
- Smart address bar
- Full-screen video and geolocation
- Extended support for HTML5
- Tabbed browsing
- Private browsing
Microsoft Edge was invented by the tech giant Microsoft in 2015. It replaced the internet explorer as the default web browser on all its devices.
Here are some of the features of the Edge interface:
- Implementation of Cortana
- Reading view
- Doodle on a web page
- Integrated share panel
- Newsfeed on the startup page
Opera is a powerfully packed full-featured web browser. It is smaller than other competitors. This browser is designed majorly for mobile phones or smartphones. It uses the Java ME platform that is ideal for everyone as it is user-friendly and fast.
Netscape Navigator was released in 1994 by Netscape. Once the internet explorer hit the market, the usage of Netscape sharply decreased.
Tor works on the concept of onion routing. Onion routing has nested layers that are responsible to encrypt data multiple times. There are several features of the TOR browser. Take a look:
- Cross-platform availability
- Anonymous usage to servers
- You can visit locked websites
- Does not reveal the IP of the source
Web browsers are simply a door to surfing the web. Since the '90s, several innovations have resulted in a gradual evolution of browsers. A lot of improvisations and modifications are made on a regular basis to adapt to modern needs.
In a nutshell, this article tries to impart knowledge about some of the most common available web browsers in the market. We hope that this information helps you in solving all your ambiguities.