What is a Web Browser?

Jessica Mishra
Last Updated: May 13, 2022

Introduction

We all have used ChromeMozilla FirefoxMicrosoft Edge, etc. We cannot even imagine our lives without them. But have you ever wondered why we need them?

 

We need them because the internet is vast and we can’t search for information on our own. Hence we use Web Browser for this. 

 

In technical terms, a Web Browser is an application used to access the World Wide Web (WWW). Let’s learn more about web browsers.

Working

The primary function of the web browser is to get information from parts of the web and display it to the user. 

  1. It fetches content like the web page, video, or an image from the server and displays it accordingly to the user.
  2. There are many different browsers available to us. For creating consistency among other browsers, we have some web standards.
  3. Web browsers have a rendering engine that translates the data fetched from the server into text and images. The fetched data is written in HTML, and web browsers use that information to create what we see on the internet.

Components of a Web Browser

Structure of Web Browser

 

1. User Interface: It ensures smooth interaction between the browser and the user. It contains features like the search bar, refresh button, bookmarks, etc.

2. Browser Engine: It bridges the gap between UI and rendering engines. It is responsible for all actions between UI and rendering engine.

3. Rendering Engine:  It is the core component of a browser. It transforms simple HTML pages into the webpage that we see. It is responsible for showing the requested content.

Rendering engine basic flow

4. Networking: This is the component of the browser that retrieves URLs using protocols like HTTP. It is responsible for security and communication.

5. Data Storage (Cookies): Websites store information about the user in files known as cookies. This is usually done so that the user does not need to enter their information again and again, like username and password. Some cookies, known as third-party cookies, store other detailed information about user interests and web browsing patterns. Third-party cookies are stored so that the site can provide targeted content or ads. 

6. JavaScript Interpreter: It is responsible for interpreting the JavaScript code. After interpretation, it sends the result to the rendering engine so that it can be displayed. 

7. UI Backend: It is mainly used for drawing widgets like windows. 

The architecture of a Web Browser

Source: tutorialspoint

 

The components in the architecture of web browsers are:

  1. Controller/Dispatcher: It takes in information and gives instructions to the device.
  2. Interpreter: It receives information from the controller and works accordingly
  3. Client Program: It specifies protocols such as HTTP and FTP.

Features of a Web browser

  1. Navigation Buttons: Each web browser has a navigation button that helps the user go to the next page or return to its previous page.
  2. Refresh Button: It is for refreshing the website or reloading the website. Most pages show local copies of visited pages, so a refresh button is used to see new changes.
  3. Stop Button: It stops the server’s connection with the web browser.
  4. Home Button: It takes the user to the default home page, where any site can be selected.
  5. Address Bar: It contains the address of the website and the website name. It also includes a drop-down menu that has all recently visited websites.
  6. Integrated search: This allows the user to search in their favorite search engine. 
  7. Tabbed Browsing: Browsers can open many tabs when users want to work on multiple websites simultaneously.
  8. Bookmarks: They help users get quick access to their helpful websites and save time.

Functions of Web Browser

  1. The primary function of a web browser is to fetch information from the World Wide Web and display it to the users.
  2. It translates all the files received from the server to make it understandable for the user. 
  3. It stores the browser’s internal cache to reload the page without using any extra data.
  4. It helps in managing multiple web pages at the same time.
  5. It helps us to go to previous or next web pages quickly.
  6. It allows the user to interact with the website by using hyperlinks.

Some common Web browsers

1. Google Chrome:

Google Chrome

 

It is a cross-platform web browser developed by Google. It was first released in 2008 for the Windows operating system. It has some beneficial features:

  1. Taskmanager, which shows the CPU usage of each tab and plugin
  2. Onebox for search bar, address bar, and history to avoid confusion and speed up the searching process.
  3. Developer tools built-in inside chrome for helping web developers.

 

2. Microsoft Edge:

Microsoft Edge

 

It was earlier known as Internet Explorer. It is a web browser developed by Microsoft. It comes inbuilt into Windows computers. It also has some valuable features like:

  1. Sidebar search that allows a quick search without having to open another tab.
  2. It allows users to install a website as an app.
  3. Pin tabs to access them quickly
  4. It also allows us to put tabs to sleep to reduce memory usage and CPU usage.

 

3. Mozilla Firefox:

Mozilla Firefox

 

It is a Web Browser created by the company Mozilla. 

  1. It is an open-source web browser, which allows developers worldwide to contribute to its code and extend its functionality.
  2. It has several tools to protect the user from online malicious activities. 
  3. It offers many add-ons for extended functionalities.
  4. It takes care of memory and CPU usage.

 

Frequently asked questions

1. What is a Plug-in?

Ans-> Plug-in or extension adds new functions to the host program without altering it. It is used for the customization of an existing program.

 

2. Why do we have to clear the browser cache?

Ans-> Browser cache has to be cleared as it can increase data in the hard disk. It also helps the user in protecting private information and allows applications to run better.

 

3. Which is the fastest web browser?

Ans-> As of 2021, Vivaldi is the fastest web browser. Followed by Opera and Brave.

 

4. Which is the safest web browser?

Ans-> The safest and most secure web browser is Brave browser as of 2021. Followed by Tor Browser and Firefox browser.

 

5. Which is the best search engine?

Ans-> The best search engine is Google. It has remained undefeated for a long time now. It has the best searching algorithms and provides quality search results.

Key Takeaways

In this blog, we discussed the web browsers, their working, components, architecture, features, and functions. Then we discussed some common web browsers and some of their features. 

 

Readers start your web development journey now with Intro to HTMLIntro to CSS, and JavaScript Introduction.

 

If you are preparing for your next web development interview, check out the blogs, 25 CSS Interview Questions, and 30 JavaScript interview questions.

 

We hope you found this blog helpful. 

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