A web browser is the program you use on a PC, Mac, or smartphone to look at web pages. Web pages can be simple pages (like this one) or can be a way of searching the Web (like the search pages of Google or Bing) or one way of checking your e-mail such as Gmail (although there are other ways).
You don’t have to choose, you can have many browsers on your PC, Mac or smartphone (although not all browsers are available for all platforms).
Usually a browser can be set to show a specific web pages each time you start it (although sometimes, especially on an iPad or iPhone, it will just show you last page you looked at) – this web page is your home page.
Don’t confuse your home page with your browser – your browser is not called “Google”, even if that’s the first word you see when you use it. You could, for example, be using Firefox with your home page set to Google.
All modern browsers are much the same – some people prefer one, some another. It used to be the case that some browsers were much less good that others, but this is no longer the case (for modern versions) – so if someone tells you “x is rubbish, you have to use y”, they are out of date.
Different browses are made by different companies:
- Internet Explorer and Edge are made by Microsoft. IE is supplied with all versions of Windows (although it’s hidden away on Windows 10); Edge is available only on Windows 10.
- Chrome is made by Google
- Firefox is made by Mozilla (who also make the Thunderbird mail program)
- Safari is made by Apple (and is no longer supported on Windows, but is standard on Macs, iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch.
- There are also other browser: Opera, Konqueror and so on.