Browser are used in PCs to surf the Internet and browse webpages. Based on the English verb “to browse,” browsers allow one to perform several functions including searching, browsing, and scrolling of Internet resources. Typically, browsers are pre-installed on a computer system. Mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or phablets contain mobile browsers. Known web browsers are Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, and Google Chrome.
Worldwide, browsers differ significantly in their market shares. In Germany, Firefox is the most popular, whereas in the US, Google Chrome is the most used browser. Historically, so-called browser wars were relevant for the development of today’s market shares.
Browsers are commonly graphical user interfaces for web applications. They offer a variety of functions to retrieve resources, navigate in them, perform searches or store bookmarks.
Browser usually work with the client-server model, in which the web client communicates with a server using standardized protocols (HTTP, HTTPS or FTP). If you access a URL address in the browser, it will contact the server. The URL contains a prefix that tells the server with which protocol the data should be retrieved. By entering an Internet address such as www.sample.com the browser uses the HTTP protocol and retrieves the data stored there.
The process of converting resources into websites can be shown in simplified form.
The next node can be an HTML body which is specified this way:
<body> </ body>
This is followed by more tags such as paragraphs, images or divisions by nesting them in each HTML document.
The layout engine works successively to improve the user experience. The browser will initially show any data it received from the server without the entire document having to be parsed. The size of the files and technical requirements (client, layout engine, server, data transfer via broadband) affect the data transmission speed. Under favorable conditions, the load time will be no more than a few milliseconds. Functions such as compression, caching, and minifying can additionally improve the load time of resources.
These types of browsers provide text only and are therefore referred to as a text-based browsers or headless browsers (examples: Lynx, Links, w3m). These browsers are used to display sites from the perspective of a computer program. Search engines use text-based browsers to parse resources and include them in their index. Text-based browsers are often part of crawlers, bots or spiders. However, you can use this kind of browser as well to test sites and emulate what the crawler of a search engine sees.
Offline browsers are mostly used for browsing local documents without an Internet connection. Default browsers (for example, Internet Explorer) also let you work offline. Bookmarks can be set and sites made available offline to retrieve them later.
Furthermore, there are many different special browsers that have been designed only for a particular system. Mobile browsers are one example; library search engines are another. Browsers for PDAs and other devices often have to be adapted to these systems.
Plug-ins are small user programs that extend the functionality of a browser. Especially for search engine optimization, there are numerous browser plug-ins that enables one to check a webpage quickly and easily for specific on- and off-page factors. The metadata of a page or an IP address can be determined quickly by means of special plug-ins. Topic-specific toolbars can be installed in a browser to gain quick access to relevant data while browsing.
The security settings of browsers are extremely important when users want to protect themselves from attacks, tracking, or unwanted advertising. Typically, these settings must be specially adapted. Optional plug-ins suppress certain browser actions, such as Ghostery, AdBlocker or the disguising of IP addresses. Browsers such as Tor allowed you to surf the web anonymously without the use of personal data. Many browsers can now be visually and functionally personalized so that the browser conforms to the user’s wishes and meets high demands on data protection and privacy.
Since browsers represent the program with which you can reach websites, they are relevant to search engine optimization and web design. The functionalities of websites should be tested with different browsers and devices. This seems to be particularly necessary in the commercial sector since online shops may lose revenue if individual processes do not run smoothly. Moreover, web designers and SEOs can influence numerous factors through programming, optimization, and testing. Examples are website load times, caching in browsers, data compression, minifying of resources, different usability and user experience aspects.