What is a Browser?
Browser – The application which is used to access, browse and search the internet. Examples; Internet Explorer or Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari.
A web browser takes you everyplace on the internet. It retrieves information from other parts of the web and displays it on your desktop or mobile device. The information is transferred using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which defines how text, images, and video are transmitted on the web. This information needs to be shared and displayed in a consistent format so that people using any browser, anywhere in the world can see the information.
Unfortunately, not all browser makers choose to interpret the format in the same way. For users, this means that a website can look and function differently. Creating consistency between browsers, so that any user can enjoy the internet, regardless of the browser they choose, is called web standards.
When the web browser fetches data from an internet-connected server and it then uses a piece of software called a rendering engine to translate that data into text and images. This data is written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and web browsers read this code to create what we see, hear and experience on the internet.
Hyperlinks allow users to follow a path to other pages or sites on the web. Every webpage, image, and video has its own unique Uniform Resource Locator (URL), which is also known as a web address. When a browser visits a server for data, the web address tells the browser where to look for each item that is described in the HTML, which then tells the browser where it goes on the web page.
Websites save information about you in files called cookies. They are saved on your computer for the next time you visit that site. Upon your return, the website code will read that file to see that it’s you. For example, when you go to a website and the page remembers your username and password – that’s made possible by a cookie.
There are also cookies that remember more detailed information about you. Perhaps your interests, your web browsing patterns, etc. This means that a site can provide you more targeted content – often in the form of ads. There are types of cookies, called third-party cookies, that come from sites you’re not even visiting at the time and can track you from site to site to gather information about you, which is sometimes sold to other companies. Sometimes you can block these kinds of cookies, though not all browsers allow you to.
When you go to a website and the page remembers your username and password – that’s made possible by a cookie.
Nearly all major browsers have a private browsing setting. These exist to hide the browsing history from other users on the same computer. Many people think that private browsing or incognito mode will hide both their identity and browsing history from internet service providers, governments and advertisers. They don’t. These settings just clear the history on your system, which is helpful if you’re dealing with sensitive personal information on a shared or public computer.
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