What is a Web Browser?

Since the Internet revolution started, we all have been accessing and communicating information over the Internet using web browsers. The Internet of Things (IoT) and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concepts all revolve around web browsers.

By Shingie Levison Muringi

We all have become highly conversant with various web browsers. These browsers allows you to download files from the Internet, bookmarking your favorite websites, tabbed browsing and plug-ins.Today,Chrome,Opera  and Firefox are the most popular web browsers. Other browsers include Internet Explorer,Safari, and Porchlight. Each one has its own look and feel, but they have the same goal: to display webpages correctly. For most webpages, any well-known browser will work.

Like most modern programs, browsers use a Graphical User Interface (GUI), which means you can navigate by pointing and clicking with a mouse instead of just typing. Some devices like mobile phones use different types of GUIs, such as touchscreens. However, many of the principles remain the same.

For you to be able to get the best out of your web browser, you must be very familiar with Address Bar, Links, Navigation Buttons, Search Bar, Adding Bookmarks, Browsing History, Deleting History, and many other browsing formalities.

Address Bar

Browsers have an address bar that shows the web address (also called a URL) of the page you are on. To go to a different page, you can type an address in the address bar and then press Enter (or Return).



Most of the time, you will get to a different page by clicking on a link. A link can be text or an image, and it’s usually formatted to stand out so you know to click on it. Many text links are blue, and they may also be underlined. A link may lead to another webpage, or it could lead to a document, video, or any other type of file. If you’re not sure if something’s a link, hover the mouse over it. The pointer should change to a hand symbolhttp://www.technomag.co.zw/2016/03/02/ipv4-versus-ipv6/ is an example of a web link. 

Navigation buttons

Sometimes after you click on a link, you might want to go back to the previous page. You can do this using your browser’s Back button. Once you’ve pressed the Back button, you can press the Forward button to follow the link again.

Navigation Buttons

When you use the Back and Forward buttons, your browser may use its web cache to display the page. The web cache stores recently viewed webpages so they don’t need to be downloaded again. This is good because it speeds up your web browsing, but sometimes you want to see the most up-to-date information on the page. You can use the Refresh button (sometimes called Reload) to tell the browser to load the page again.

Navigation 1

Search bar

Some browsers have a built-in search bar for performing web searches. However, many browsers have combined the address bar and the search bar into a single bar where you can type web addresses or search terms. We’ll talk more about web searches in the next lesson.

Search Bar

Adding bookmarks

If you’ve found a page you’d like to go back to later, you can add it to your bookmarks (sometimes calledfavorites). Bookmarks make it easier to find a page later on. Instead of having to remember the exact web address, you can just scroll through your bookmarks until you see the name of the page. In Internet Explorer 9, you can add a bookmark by clicking the star icon and then selecting Add to Favorites. Other browsers are similar, but they may use different wording.


Browsing history

Suppose you visited a webpage a few days ago but forgot to bookmark it. You can find the page again by using yourhistory, which is a list of websites you’ve visited. Usually, pages will stay in the history for a certain number of days. To maintain privacy, you can delete your history at any time.

  • To view your history in Internet Explorer 9, click the star icon, then select the history tab.


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