Not all of my readers are computer experts, which is why I would like to intersperse posts with computer basics for beginners here and there. Today it's about the term "Brower", which I would like to explain here for computer laypeople.

A browser is software that allows you to view and navigate the World Wide Web. The English word is pronounced like “Brauser”. Translated, "to browse" means something like "rummaging around" - and that's exactly what you do with a browser on the Internet.

A browser is free software that allows you to view and navigate the World Wide Web. Browsers exist on computers, smartphones and tablets.

There are various browsers for using the Internet, some of which are programmed by hardware manufacturers such as Google or Apple, but some are also based on open source projects or are programmed by independent developers.

Most of the time, a single browser is pre-installed on your computer, tablet or smartphone. The Safari browser is usually pre-installed on Apple devices such as Mac, iPhone or iPad. You can also switch browsers if you want. Many different browsers can be downloaded free of charge from the Internet.

Safari is the default browser on Apple devices. Due to its speed, its protective mechanisms and the economical use of the main memory, it is a recommendable choice (screenshot: Apple).

Safari is the default browser on Apple devices. Due to its speed, its protective mechanisms and the economical use of the main memory, it is a recommendable choice (screenshot: Apple).

What is a default browser?

The standard browser is the browser that is factory-installed on the computer, tablet or smartphone. For Apple devices this is the Safari browser, for Windows PCs it is Microsoft Edge and for Android devices it is usually Google Chrome.

Microsoft Edge is the successor to the veteran "Internet Explorer", which I was using on the Mac 20 years ago.

Microsoft Edge is the successor to the veteran "Internet Explorer", which I was using on the Mac 20 years ago.

What does a browser do?

If you type in an Internet address – also known as a URL – in the address line of the browser, the browser sends this request to the Internet and the responsible server sends back the program code and the individual graphics of a website.

So what the browser receives from the Internet is far from being the pretty website that you ultimately see. Only the browser then puts together the finished website from the code and the graphics and displays things like forms, search fields or the like.

Would you like to see what the HTML code of this page looks like here? Then simply right-click (if you're at a computer) on an empty spot on the page here and select "View Page Source". It then looks something like this:

This is what the source code looks like in HTML, from which the browser then conjures up a human-readable format (screenshot: Sir Apfelot).

This is what the source code looks like in HTML, from which the browser then conjures up a human-readable format (screenshot: Sir Apfelot).

And from this, the browser creates a pleasantly readable page.

Alternative browsers for Windows and Apple computers

In addition to the Safari browser, which can be found on Apple computers such as iMac, MacBook Pro or tablets such as the iPad, there are numerous other browsers that can be used.

Well-known browsers are these:

The Tor Browser is open source and uses a sophisticated linking of several computers to ensure that the actual user remains anonymous. The downside is that it makes it relatively slow.

The Tor Browser is open source and uses a sophisticated linking of several computers to ensure that the actual user remains anonymous. The downside is that it makes it relatively slow.

Browsers that protect privacy

There are different approaches to browsers. Google Chrome, for example, is known for diligently collecting user data while browsing.

However, there are also some other browsers that protect the privacy of users and do not track. These include the following:

  • Firefox → is developed by a non-profit organization and volunteers
  • Safari → Apple protects user data with anti-tracking functions
  • gate project → uses multiple proxies and thus prevents tracking
  • Double → Open source browser with tracking protection

If you have more questions about browsers, we're here to help. Just use the comment function to ask your question.

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