Not a premium member yet? Save 100's of hours on lesson prep with a comprehensive library of GCSE Computer Science resources - including worksheets, tests, and PowerPoint presentations.
Download the complete GCSE Computer Science bundle including all teacher resources and student revision:
- 200+ Computer Science/ICT resources
+ any we release in the future!
- Access to all student revision notes
- OCR, AQA, Edexcel and WJEC compatible
- New 9-1 GCSE spec
A web browser, also known as an internet browser or browser, is a software program that you utilise to access the internet and view web pages on your computer. Browser can be considered as your gateway to the internet.
The main intention of an internet browser is to convert the code that websites are designed in into the text, graphics and other features of the web pages that we are all used to seeing today.
The First Web Browser
The first web browser was called World Wide Web and it was later changed to Nexus. It was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and was released in 1990. It gave people a basic way to view web pages, but it was a long way from the online experience we have today.
Before Mosaic, which is the first popular graphical browser, was released in 1992, the internet was text-based, plain and required technical knowledge to use. Because of this, only a limited number of people had the ability and the interest to use the internet.
Mosaic helped make the internet universal. The graphical interface made navigating the web simple to understand and the ability to display graphics next to the text on websites made web pages more fascinating to browse. People no longer need to have the profound technical knowledge to go online.
With more people going online, companies went online as well. E-commerce, social media and many other things we take for granted today would be impossible without internet browsers.
Modern Internet Browsers
Internet browsers have advanced into compelling tools that let you securely and rapidly access your favorite websites.
Modern internet browsers have many useful attributes. For example, tabbed browsing allows you to open many web pages in individual tabs, instead of needing a resource-intensive separate window for each page.
Another helpful feature that many modern browsers support is the ability to mute sound in individual tabs.
Internet Browsers Available Today
Most browsers are available to download for free. The most popular internet browsers today are as follows:
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Edge (formerly Internet Explorer)
- Apple Safari
- AOL Explorer
Each of these internet browsers has advantages and disadvantages. AOL Explorer is a tailored version of Internet Explorer which provides AOL members easy access to news, weather and other useful information. Chrome and Firefox are powerful and quick web browsers that are used by millions of people.
Due to the way they are coded, some websites display better in one internet browser than another. For this reason, it is recommended having at least two browsers available on your computer.
Many internet browsers support plug-ins. These are programs that you can download to tailor your browsing experience. Plug-ins can assist you to fill out forms automatically, review your grammar and spelling, notify you with reminders, etc.
Plug-ins can help you while you work or play online, but not all browser tolerates them. Firefox and Chrome each allow plug-ins, but not all are available for each system.
Here are some questions to note when looking for the right browser for you:
- Which extra features are important to you?
- Do websites load quickly and reliably?
- Is your browser using too many resources and slowing down other programs you’re using?
How Internet Browsers Work
- Type a website’s URL into your browser’s address bar.
- The browser locates and requests that page’s information from a web server.
- The browser translates that file and loads the page for you to view and interact with. All of these happen in just a few seconds.