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Web Browser Software

Browsers may be free but fixing the hassles that might come from choosing a bad browser aren't free. Use this guide to pick the right browser software title that matches your particular needs. Regardless of the particular configuration you're interested in, this guide spells out the security considerations you should keep in mind to keep your computer and network safe from Internet threats.

The Ins and Outs of Web Browser Software

6 results - showing 1 - 6
 
 
Details Ratings
January 29, 2011    

Mozilla Firefox is a Web Browser Software for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and is created by the Mozilla Foundation under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License v3.0

 
4.5 (10)
February 13, 2011    

Opera is a Web Browser Software for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and is created by Opera Software ASA.

 
4.5 (2)
February 17, 2011    

Google Chrome is a Web Browser Software for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and is created by Google Inc.

 
4.5 (6)
February 20, 2011    

Safari is a Web Browser Software for Windows and Mac created by Apple, Inc.

 
3.8 (1)
February 20, 2011    

Internet Explorer is a Web Browser Software for Windows created by Microsoft Corporation.

 
3.7 (6)
April 10, 2011    

Avant Browser is a Web Browser Software for Windows created by Publisher Avant Force.

 
0.0 (0)
6 results - showing 1 - 6
 
 

Web Browser Software

Web Browser Software Resource & Information

The Ins and Outs of Web Browser Software

Web browser history and the rise of browser software standards

A brief history of the Internet browser frames the considerations one needs to keep in mind when selecting browser applications today because it reveals the interplay of differing issues which color users' browser selection criteria.

With the rise and increased popularity of the World Wide Web in the late 80s, the early browsers were just text-based. The advent of the Mosaic browser popularized graphics-based browsers. Eventually, Mosaic gave rise to the world's first big-selling commercial browser, the Netscape Navigator browser. The Netscape Navigator browser was one of the best known of the early graphical browsers which allowed users to see pictures and play movies from a webpage. Internet Explorer came around shortly after Navigator. Because of Microsoft’s market dominance, it promptly ate up Netscape’s market share.

Internet Explorer and increased browser security demand

By the late 90s, Netscape pretty much became also-ran to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Internet explorer dominated the market. The problem with Microsoft’s domination of the browser market was it made it easier for many virus makers and spyware designers to exploit many of Internet Explorer’s default settings and design vulnerabilities. For quite some time, the Internet Explorer was effectively a spyware and virus magnet. It was very insecure.

The rise of Firefox and a new era of browser diversity

For a few years, Microsoft didn’t really have much of an incentive to patch up the software to toughen it against attacks. After a few years, Firefox became popular and its main claims to fame focused on two areas-security and customizability. The Internet Explorer browser was very vulnerable to pop-ups and auto-install scripts for malicious code. Firefox fixed those security holes so its browsers became harder to exploit. The other claim to fame of the Firefox browser is its add-on or plug-in capability. With this feature, anybody who’s familiar with Firefox's open source code or developer specifications can produce plug-ins for the browser that will help the browser do certain specialized tasks. Some examples of plugins include: taking screenshots, recording movies, downloading movies, filling out forms, checking the page rank of a web page, among countless other tasks. Basically, if it has anything to do with processing a webpage, anybody could write a specialized program and plug it into Firefox browser to provide added value to the user. Firefox continues to be a favorite although Internet Explorer maintains a decent chunk of the browser market. There are also smaller browsers out there; Opera has made a name for itself for being fast. Google Chrome is making a name for itself as being Google's version of Firefox. It is kind of a hybrid between Opera's focus on speed and Firefox's original focus on security. Chrome still hasn’t quite reached Firefox’s level of popularity because of the huge amount of add-ons and plug-ins Firefox has. It's probably going to take some time for Chrome to catch up but given Google's tremendous marketing power, it is looking pretty good in terms of eventually eclipsing Firefox and possibly Internet Explorer. The other types of browsers out there are Social Networking browsers like the Flock browser and a few other very small browsers that are very specialized uses.

What is an internet browser?

Browsers are software applications that let you view webpages and open items or elements inside those pages like videos, pictures and software scripts that render the contents of a page.

How do you pick a web browser?

Browsers are not all the same, they are built with differing needs in mind. The most common needs are speed, plug-in functionality, security and other concerns. While some browsers put more emphasis on speed, others put more emphasis on customizability due to open source coding, while others are more focused on security.

What consideration should you keep on mind when selecting a browser?

As mentioned above, browsers come in many different flavors because they are aimed at differing needs. Still there are certain key considerations that remain fairly constant regardless of a browser's particular focus. These considerations are non-negotiable. You should keep these in mind when trying to assess the viability of a particular browsers software title. These considerations are: functional efficiency, customizability, Admin efficiency, security, and technical support.

Functional Efficiency

This element involves features that help you increase your browsing speed or effectiveness in browsing the web. One common example of this feature is Tab ability. When you’re browsing the Internet, instead of opening a new window, you can open a website on a new tab or you can click a hot key and you could open many sites in each tab. This is more convenient and comfortable than having to open a different window each time. It is easier to keep one's place especially if you're handling a long list of websites. Another feature that embodies functional efficiency is an Integrated Search Engine. A lot of browser usage revolves around search. Having a search engine embedded in the browser is a great help. You don’t have to load Google manually or through a bookmark. Just enter your search term into a field and your results appear immediately. Way more convenient. Another key functional efficiency feature is toolbar flexibility. Besides search engine functionality, there are other toolbar functionalities that browser users might be interested in like integration with Facebook, Twitter and Social networking sites, group browsing sites like stumbleupon, or group news websites like Digg or Reddit. Having their functions embedded on your toolbar requires a browser that is very toolbar friendly. Toolbar flexibility really helps increase your efficiency when you’re installing toolbars. Other efficiency boosting features include spell-check When you are typing something into a form online, browser-based spell check help you check your spelling immediately. Another key functional efficiency feature is the Find on page feature. Found on most browsers, this feature is accessible with ctrl + F. This feature help you find text anywhere on a page. It makes it easier for you to read a webpage instead of having read the whole text from the top to the bottom.

Customizability

These are features that help you change the look and feel of your browser so it feels more personal. Nothing puts a personal touch on a piece of software than being able to change its colors, background picture, or change the look of its tabs. Not all browsers are customizable. Normally, if the browser is open source, this allows third-party developers to program a higher level of customization into that browser. The customizability criterion also includes add-ons or plug-ins-specific software that lets you change the look and feel.

Admin Efficiency

This consideration focuses on two things: the ability of the browser to update regularly. What made the internet explorer vulnerable several years back was you have to manually update it. The problem occurs when there is a security vulnerability and by default the software is set for manual updates. As a result, your computer can be very vulnerable to attacks and security breaches. Most browsers nowadays allows for automatic updates, but some are more efficient and streamlined regarding this crucial feature than others. Keep this in mind: the more hands-free the admin efficiency feature of the browser software, the better. Another key concern that falls under the admin efficiency criterion is how the browser handles security patches. Security patches vary among browser makers. In particular, it revolves around how often the developer releases patches for its browser software. Smaller titles release fewer updates while bigger titles release more frequent updates. Obviously, the more up to date you, the better protected your computer is.

Security

This consideration is what sunk Microsoft Internet Explorer's market dominance in the past. It used to practically own the browser market after it beat Netscape Navigator. Since the Internet Explorer was the only browser game in town, all the virus designers and spyware coders designed their malware based on Internet Explorer’s vulnerabilities. It became a security risk to use Internet Explorer in the past because everybody and their dog seemed to be writing malware for it. With the rise of Firefox, the emphasis on security became more pronounced, and I’m happy to report that Internet Explorer has patched up several key vulnerabilities and designed flaws and is dramatically less vulnerable now. Its most current version is on a decent footing with Firefox browser when it comes to security. Still, Internet Explorer gained a reputation of being insecure so a sizable chunk of users avoid it in favor of Firefox. At its most basic, browser security involves Anti-spyware, Anti-virus, Anti-phishing, and pop-up blocking functionalities. Another recent security feature is the privacy mode. Some browsers now allow you to click a button so you can browse in a private mode. Your browser communicates with a server through the use of cookie text files and leaves a trail on the server that gives that server information about your computer. It does this so it could navigate the server. The problem is that the cookies could easily be use to track you and the same is also true with your IP address. Your IP shows your location, your particular ISP, and where you are in your particular region. When paired with cookies, IP address tracking can create a security profile that may be uncomfortable to many people. Privacy Mode in many browsers allows you to clear cookies as you browse and, depending on if you’re using proxies or special servers, clear your IP trail. Security is the key consideration for web browser software. Even if you have an inefficient and non-customizable or administratively inefficient browser or a very unsupportive or difficult software as long as security is ironclad then your browser should be okay. Of course, these other considerations should be factored in as well so you could enjoy your browsing experience but security for most browser software users is the key consideration.

Technical Support

While there a very small number of paid browsers, almost all web browsers are free. This gives them a strategic advantage because it explodes the number of people that would use the software. This large base of users increases the knowledge base of particular browser software. For example, there are millions of people using Firefox and if a particular version was released with a bug, chances are at least few of those millions of users would catch the bug and report it and the knowledge base. Any particular question that may come to mind regarding an issue that a browser has would probably have been reported earlier on because there are so many people using it. That’s the key advantage of using software that has a lot of users. This advantage is not restricted to open source browsers like Firefox because Internet Explorer web browser software is a close code application but, due to its market dominance, it still has a huge knowledge base. The key is to pick as a web browser software title that has many users so there’s at least a built in support community if you ever run into problems down the road. If your browser has enough users, whatever questions you may have has probably been asked before and chances are it’s been answered before.

The Bottom Line of Web Browser Software

When selecting web browsers you should keep in mind the mix of considerations we listed above and fit them to your particular needs. If you’re looking for a web browser for search engine optimization or specialized usage then look for web browser that allows for a lot of functional efficiency and has a very robust and varied plug-in directory/database so you can find existing plug-ins that help you meet your objectives. If security’s your primary concern then make sure that the web browser software you’re considering has features that address the whole list we mentioned above. Think about these considerations and process them in order of importance based on your particular usage and needs. Select your browser accordingly. Web browsers have gone a long way from clunky text based software that barely worked to really sophisticated robust and powerful pieces of software that are, thankfully, free and very customizable. Browsers continue to evolve as the internet itself continues to evolve. You should definitely expect more changes down the road.