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Internet Browsing & Searching

Internet Browsing & Searching

Internet Browsing & Searching – Making the right choice for you.

The definition of an Internet Browser says that it is a program that converts web page programming language (HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language) and graphical & multi-media content (bells & whistles!) into what you see on your PC screen. When you ask your PC to go to google.com, it does a number of things in order …

1. Its says to itself, “Oh, that’s a web page, I’ll start the browser”
2. The browser says, “I’ll ask my Domain Name Server (DNS) where google.com lives
3. The DNS sends back the IP address of google.com (it’s internet address)
4. The browser then asks your Internet Service Provider (ISP) (BT, PlusNet, Virgin, TalkTalk etc) to go to the IP address server
5. The IP address server sends back the web page in HTML
6. The browser converts that into the pretty pictures, text and sounds that you see on your screen

… all in the blink of an eye!! When you click a button or link on a web page the process is repeated.

There are many browsers to choose from, about 75 at the last count, but only about half a dozen really matter: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera & MaxThon. They all do the same thing to a greater or lesser degree, and which one you use is entirely up to you, just like buying a new car: Ford or Vauxhall, Citroen or Peugeot … 4 wheels, 3 pedals and an engine!

As many of you will have upgraded to Windows 10, you may have noticed that the default browser is the new “Microsoft Edge”, this replaces the aging Internet Explorer that is still available but hidden away. 10 years ago, 90% of PC users used Internet Explorer as that was what came packaged with your Windows operating system. Since then the market has proliferated with offerings from other companies keen to sign you up as a user to get greater advertising revenues.

So what’s a search engine? It’s a database of the content of millions of web pages that can be searched by YOU and displayed in a prioritised order. Google is a search engine as is Yahoo, Bing, Ask and Excite. They make their money by displaying paid-for results at the top of the list and by displaying advertisements related to your search all over the page. Google rules the roost with over 90% of the market and their data is used by many others.

What browser should you use and what search engine should you use? The one that suits you the best and the one you’re used to and the one that makes you happy! The father of a school friend of mine was a dentist and one day I asked him which toothpaste was the best. He answered “the one you like the taste of best, it’s the brushing that really keeps your teeth clean”. Wise words!

If you’re not happy with your browser or search provider, then change. As always, if you need help or advice, you know where to come!

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Added: 3rd May 2016

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