Browsers

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What is a Browser?

When you access a website on the internet, you do it through a browser. This is the program that you open to get to sites. It could be part of your Internet Service Provider (ISP) program like AOL or it might be entirely separate. Often dial-up users will find their browser within the program of their ISP and often broadband users (cable, DSL, etc) will find their browser separate from their ISP as usually their ISP doesn't have a program interface.

Which Browser do I have?

Most people who ask this question are using Internet Explorer. This is because that is the browser that comes packaged with all Windows-using computers. At this time, this browser is also the default for the AOL ISP. Its icon (what you click on to open the program) is a big, blue E. If you find yourself double-clicking on a big, blue E to get to your internet, you're using Internet Explorer. You can also see this image in the top left corner of your browser window.

If you are using a modern Mac/Apple computer then your default browser is likely to be Safari. It's icon is a blue and silver round compass. Older versions of the Mac system came with a big, blue E icon that represented Internet Explorer version 5. This isn't generally a supported browser anymore.

Other users have made the conscious choice to use a browser other than Internet Explorer or Safari. They generally know which browser they have selected, but to be thorough, the browser with the icon of a Fox curled around a globe is Firefox, the browser with the large red O icon is Opera, the browser with the red, green, and yellow triangular pieces in a circle is Chrome, and the browser with the globe inside a four pointed compass star is Camino. There are certainly other browsers out there, but these are some of the most common at this time.

Versions of Internet Explorer can also be somewhat determined by its icon to some degree. A big, blue E that is entirely a light shade of blue will represent older versions of Internet Explorer with version 6 being the last to use this icon. A big, blue E with a gold slash through it represents the icon of newer versions which are, at this time, 7 and 8.