Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What is a web browser?

Okay, this post isn't really for my regular readers.

What is a Web Browser?
Well let me first tell you what is not a web browser, to give you a better understanding.

A web browser is not:

  • Google, Yahoo, or Bing - these are called Search Engines, not browsers
  • You - well that's debate-able, you browse the web so you can be considered a web browser but not in the same context
  • Twitter, Myspace, Facebook are not web browsers either, they are what are called Social networking sites.
Okay so now you know what is not a web browser, here's what a web browser is:
A web browser is any program that is used to view web sites on the internet.
To get to this site you had to first open a web browser. A web browser is the program you use to get onto the web. You may be familiar with one of these names: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, they are all Web Browsers.

Did you know you have Options when it comes to web browsers?
yes you can pick from tons, but how do you know which browser to pick?

Well here's what you will want in a browser:

  • Security - Browsing the web comes with risks, you want a web browser that is secure, and helps you prevent malware and viruses from getting onto your computer
  • Simplicity - The browser should look simple, and you should be able to understand the basic functions with little to no effort.
  • Tabbed Browsing - most modern browsers have tabbed browsing. Tabbed browsing allows you to view multiple websites in the same browser window.
  • Extensions/add-ons - these are not generally important to the beginning web user, however add ons can be extremely useful. Add ons are simple programs that can be added to the web browser, adding features, toolbars, and buttons to the browser.
  • Speed - Speed is one of the most important factors in choosing a web browser for those with a slow internet connection.
  • Correct Rendering - rendering means display, basically you want a web browser that can display the websites you view correctly. There's a wrong way? yes, web developers want you to view their website so it looks a certain way, but some web browsers don't support codes that developers use, so the sites will look different, nearly every browser displays websites differently.
Okay so how can you be sure you get all of those things?
Pick from the browsers below, each has it's pros and cons.
Here I have rated each of the parts of the browser so you get a better overview. Note: you want high numbers and yeses.

Mozilla Firefox
Security Rating 8/10
Simplicity 6/10
Tabbed Browsing: Yes
Extensions: Yes(Firefox became known for having so many great extensions)
Speed: 8/10
Web Page Rendering: 9.5/10 

Internet Explorer
Security Rating: 4/10
Simplicity: 6/10
Tabbed Browsing: yes
Extensions: yes, quality is generally low
Speed: 6/10
Web Page Rendering: 6/10 (web developers dislike this browser because alot is unsupported)

Google Chrome
Security Rating: 7.5/10 (add-ons can make it more secure)
Simplicity: 10/10
Tabbed Browsing: yes(each tab also gets a seperate process preventing the browser from crashing)
Extensions: no, but there will be extensions soon.
Speed: 9.5/10
Web Page Rendering: 9/10

Security Rating: 5.5/10
Simplicity: 6/10
Tabbed Browsing: yes
Speed: 6/10
Web Page Rendering: 5/10

My Recommendation
I say you should pick either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, regardless of your skill level with computers both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are great browsers that will keep you happy, and keep you safe.

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