What's A Browser?

When you want to pound a nail, you find a hammer. When you want to weed the garden, you grab a hoe. And when you want to "surf" the internet, you use a special class of software called a "browser". The browser's sole mission in life is to be your superhighway to the internet. Are you using a Windows PC? Chances are good you are using Internet Explorer (or, since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft Edge) as your default browser. Most Macs come with Safari. But there is plenty of competition in this space: Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera are just a few of the other "brands" of browsers out there, all free.

They all do the very same thing, and no one is clearly superior to another.

You should always have more than one browser installed on your computer or device. The reason? Although in theory ALL web pages should show up properly on ALL browsers, this sometimes isn't the case. If you have a page that is acting weird, try the same page in a different browser. You would be surprised how often this simple solution works.

Quick quiz:

Let's say you want to visit the CNN site, and you know the website address is www.cnn.com. Where do you type it in the browser? On line A or line B?

Here are your choices:

The answer is "A". Every browser has an "address bar" at the VERY TOP of the browser window that reflects the exact address of the web page you are looking at. If you want to change pages, and you know the specific address of the new page, type it here, hit the "ENTER" key on your keyboard, and the page will open right up.

What happens if you type www.cnn.com in the line marked "B"? You get this:

What you get is a page of possible matches for the term you searched for: www.cnn.com The first item on the list happens to be the site you want, but you had to perform an extra click to arrive there.

So the rule of thumb is: if you know a web site's specific address, type it in THE TOPMOST line in the page.

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