Web browser

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A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is a software application for accessing information on the World Wide Web. Web browser_sentence_0

When a user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web server and then displays the page on the user's device. Web browser_sentence_1

A web browser is not the same thing as a search engine, though the two are often confused. Web browser_sentence_2

For a user, a search engine is just a website that provides links to other websites. Web browser_sentence_3

However, to connect to a website's server and display its web pages, a user must have a web browser installed. Web browser_sentence_4

Web browsers are used on a range of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Web browser_sentence_5

In 2020, an estimated 4.9 billion people use a browser, with more than half of them in Asia. Web browser_sentence_6

The most used browser is Google Chrome, with a 66% global market share on all devices, followed by Safari with 17%. Web browser_sentence_7

Other notable browsers include Firefox and Microsoft Edge. Web browser_sentence_8

History Web browser_section_0

Main article: History of the web browser Web browser_sentence_9

The first web browser, called WorldWideWeb, was created in 1990 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Web browser_sentence_10

He then recruited Nicola Pellow to write the Line Mode Browser, which displayed web pages on dumb terminals; it was released in 1991. Web browser_sentence_11

1993 was a landmark year with the release of Mosaic, credited as "the world's first popular browser". Web browser_sentence_12

Its innovative graphical interface made the World Wide Web system easy to use and thus more accessible to the average person. Web browser_sentence_13

This, in turn, sparked the Internet boom of the 1990s, when the Web grew at a very rapid rate. Web browser_sentence_14

Marc Andreessen, the leader of the Mosaic team, soon started his own company, Netscape, which released the Mosaic-influenced Netscape Navigator in 1994. Web browser_sentence_15

Navigator quickly became the most popular browser. Web browser_sentence_16

Microsoft debuted Internet Explorer in 1995, leading to a browser war with Netscape. Web browser_sentence_17

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. Web browser_sentence_18

Eventually the market share of Internet Explorer peaked at over 95% in 2002. Web browser_sentence_19

In 1998, Netscape launched what would become the Mozilla Foundation to create a new browser using the open source software model. Web browser_sentence_20

This work evolved into Firefox, first released by Mozilla in 2004. Web browser_sentence_21

Firefox reached a 28% market share in 2011. Web browser_sentence_22

Apple released its Safari browser in 2003. Web browser_sentence_23

It remains the dominant browser on Apple platforms, though it did not become popular elsewhere. Web browser_sentence_24

Google debuted its Chrome browser in 2008, which steadily took market share from Internet Explorer and became the most popular browser in 2012. Web browser_sentence_25

Chrome has remained dominant ever since. Web browser_sentence_26

In 2011, the first version of HTTPS Everywhere was launched, while NoScript got its main awards and Mozilla launched the stable version of Tor Firefox browser, the free add-on to navigate the dark web. Web browser_sentence_27

Microsoft released its Edge browser in 2015 as part of the Windows 10 release and rebuilt it as a Chromium-based browser in 2019. Web browser_sentence_28

(Internet Explorer is still used on older versions of Windows.) Web browser_sentence_29

In terms of technology, browsers have greatly expanded their HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and multimedia capabilities since the 1990s. Web browser_sentence_30

One reason has been to enable more sophisticated websites, such as web applications. Web browser_sentence_31

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. Web browser_sentence_32

Function Web browser_section_1

The purpose of a web browser is to fetch information resources from the Web and display them on a user's device. Web browser_sentence_33

This process begins when the user inputs a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), such as https://en.wikipedia.org/, into the browser. Web browser_sentence_34

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). Web browser_sentence_35

In the case of https:, the communication between the browser and the web server is encrypted for the purposes of security and privacy. Web browser_sentence_36

Once a web page has been retrieved, the browser's rendering engine displays it on the user's device. Web browser_sentence_37

This includes image and video formats supported by the browser. Web browser_sentence_38

Web pages usually contain hyperlinks to other pages and resources. Web browser_sentence_39

Each link contains a URL, and when it is clicked or tapped, the browser navigates to the new resource. Web browser_sentence_40

Thus the process of bringing content to the user begins again. Web browser_sentence_41

Most browsers use an internal cache of web page resources to improve loading times for subsequent visits to the same page. Web browser_sentence_42

The cache can store many items, such as large images, so they do not need to be downloaded from the server again. Web browser_sentence_43

Cached items are usually only stored for as long as the web server stipulates in its HTTP response messages. Web browser_sentence_44

Settings Web browser_section_2

Web browsers can typically be configured with a built-in menu. Web browser_sentence_45

Depending on the browser, the menu may be named Settings, Options, or Preferences. Web browser_sentence_46

The menu has different types of settings. Web browser_sentence_47

For example, users can change their home page and default search engine. Web browser_sentence_48

They also can change default web page colors and fonts. Web browser_sentence_49

Various network connectivity and privacy settings are also usually available. Web browser_sentence_50

Privacy Web browser_section_3

During the course of browsing, browsing history cookies received from various websites are stored by the browser. Web browser_sentence_51

Some of them contain login credentials or site preferences. Web browser_sentence_52

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. Web browser_sentence_53

Finer-grained management of cookies usually requires a browser extension. Web browser_sentence_54

Features Web browser_section_4

The most popular browsers have a number of features in common. Web browser_sentence_55

They allow users to set bookmarks and browse in a private mode. Web browser_sentence_56

They also can be customized with extensions, and some of them provide a sync service. Web browser_sentence_57

Most browsers have these user interface features: Web browser_sentence_58

Web browser_unordered_list_0

  • Allow the user to open multiple pages at the same time, either in different browser windows or in different tabs of the same window.Web browser_item_0_0
  • Back and forward buttons to go back to the previous page visited or forward to the next one.Web browser_item_0_1
  • A refresh or reload and a stop button to reload and cancel loading the current page. (In most browsers, the stop button is merged with the reload button.)Web browser_item_0_2
  • A home button to return to the user's home page.Web browser_item_0_3
  • An address bar to input the URL of a page and display it.Web browser_item_0_4
  • A search bar to input terms into a search engine. (In some browsers, the search bar is merged with the address bar.)Web browser_item_0_5

There are also niche browsers with distinct features. Web browser_sentence_59

One example is text-only browsers that can benefit people with slow Internet connections or those with visual impairments. Web browser_sentence_60

Security Web browser_section_5

Main article: Browser security Web browser_sentence_61

Web browsers are popular targets for hackers, who exploit security holes to steal information, destroy , and other malicious activities. Web browser_sentence_62

Browser vendors regularly patch these security holes, so users are strongly encouraged to keep their browser software updated. Web browser_sentence_63

Other protection measures are antivirus software and avoiding known-malicious websites. Web browser_sentence_64

Market share Web browser_section_6

Main article: Usage share of web browsers Web browser_sentence_65

See also Web browser_section_7

Web browser_unordered_list_1

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web browser.