A web browser, or simply "browser," is an application used to access and view websites. It’s a software program that allows a user to locate, access, and display web pages. Browsers are used primarily for displaying and accessing websites on the internet, as well as other content created using languages such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Extensible Markup Language (XML).
Web browsers date back to the late 1980s when an English scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, first developed the ideas that led to the World Wide Web (WWW). This consisted of a series of pages created using the HTML language and joined or linked together with pointers called hyperlinks. Following this was the need for a program that could access and display the HTML pages correctly in the browser.
A variety of web browsers are available with different features and are designed to run on different operating systems. Common browsers include Internet Explorer from Microsoft, Firefox from Mozilla, Google Chrome, Safari from Apple, and Opera.
The browsers have also mobile versions that are lightweight versions for accessing the web on mobile devices.
The capabilities of modern web browsers allow web developers to create highly interactive websites.
For example, Ajax enables a browser to dynamically update information on a webpage without the need to reload the page.
Advances in CSS allow browsers to display responsive website layouts and a wide array of visual effects. Cookies allow browsers to remember your settings for specific websites.
How does it work?
The Internet, the World Wide Web operates on a client/server model.
You run a web client on your computer - called a web browser. That client contacts a web server and requests information or resources. The web server locates and then sends the information to the web browser, which displays the results.
When web browsers contact servers, they’re asking to be sent pages built with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).
Sometimes, home pages contain links to files the web browser can’t play or display, such as sound or animation files. In that case, you need a plug-in or a helper application. You configure your web browser or operating system to use the helper application or plug-in whenever it encounters a sound, animation, or other types of file the browser can’t run or play.
Stock photo from Oleksii Kornilov