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Choosing a Web Browser

 A web browser is a window to cyber space. It is an application that lets your machine connect to countless servers which host the millions of web pages that make up the World Wide Web.

Here’s how it works: when you type a web address or Uniform Resource Locator (URL) into your browser and click “go”, the browser contacts the (host) server to request the web page. It may seem like a very straightforward action to click “go” and arrive at the requested address in the blink of an eye. But in a swift ‘behind the scenes’ action, the browser translates the code for the text, the images and sounds of that web page into the appropriate format, before it is displayed on your machine!

Usually a browser is included with the installation of an operating system on your computer, but there are many different browsers to choose from. The most common are Firefox, Internet Explorer, AOL and Safari. Your choice of browser will depend upon some of your specific needs and the sites you frequent. If any site has particular requirements which are only met by certain browsers, your choices may be limited. While a less popular browser may be appealing, you may experience more frequent compatibility issues with web sites.

To make a decision, consider the following:

Most browsers can be downloaded directly from the vendor’s website. Before doing a download, be sure to verify the site’s authenticity. Also remember that just like any other application, browsers have security issues that require patches. Whichever browser you choose, be sure to install the security updates as soon as they become available.