What Is a Web Browser?
If you’re reading an article on the internet such as this one, you’re probably doing it through a web browser or some form of a web browser. A web browser is a software application which is used to search and explore websites.
A program like Microsoft Excel is used for spreadsheets and a program such as Microsoft Word is used to create documents. In a similar vein, a web browser or browser is used to explore or “browse” the internet, hence the name web browser.
Should you try a different web browser?
Many people stick to the default browser that comes with their computer. For example, most Windows users stick with Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge and most Mac users stick with Safari simply because it is what came with their computer.
While there is nothing with the default browsers that come with modern computers, it can be beneficial to step outside your comfort zone for a moment and look at other web browsers. Depending on your needs, a different browser could prove more useful to you than your default web browser.
The internet is a much more welcoming place than it was in the early 90s. You can use that to your advantage by reading reviews of different browsers to compare their pros and cons.
Trying out different browsers is also recommended by many people because it will give you a different perspective on what is possible on the internet. It won’t affect your computer at all so why not?
What does a web browser do when you use it?
When you click enter after typing in a URL such as www.digg.com, the entire web page isn’t actually stored on a server. Most web pages requested are individually created as a response to a browser’s request.
What is actually happening is that your browser is calling up a list of requests to get content from different resource directories on which the content for a certain page is kept or stored.
It can be explained in a simpler way like this. Suppose you have a recipe for a cake. You’ll have a list of ingredients which is your request for content. When these ingredients are combined in the right order, a cake is baked which is your webpage.
A page is made from content from many different sources. An image can come from one server, text can be delivered from a different server, scripts from another and so on. When you click on a link to another page, the page that you were viewing disappears. This is how most websites operate.
Your browser is able to make lots of different requests and interpret the responses correctly so that you can view and interact with different websites and web pages.
The most popular web browsers
These web browsers are the most popular for a reason and that is because they do what they’re supposed to do better than the competition. The list is ranked from most popular to least popular.
- Google Chrome – Google Chrome is the king of market share when it comes to web browsers with a whopping 67.66% market share.
- Firefox – While Firefox is second, it’s not exactly close with a respectable 10.96% market share.
- Internet Explorer – Oh how the mighty have fallen. Once the top dog in terms of market share, IE now sits at a paltry 6.97%
- Safari – Coming bundled with all Macs isn’t enough to push Safari to the top. Safari holds 5.13% market share.
- Edge – Even though Microsoft continues to push Edge on its customers, it is still only used by a measly 4.24% of users.
- Opera – Even though it is a decent web browser, almost no one uses Opera. It sits at a pathetic 2.48%.
While this list might make it look like the opposite, all of these web browsers are quite competent at what they do, and you can’t go wrong by using any of them.