Browsing The Internet: An Introduction

A browser is a program on your computer that enables you to search or surf and retrieve information on the WorldWideWeb (WWW), which is part of the Internet. The Web is simply a large number of computers linked together in a global network that can be accessed using an address/URL (Uniform Resource Locator), e.g.

URLs begin with http://, and many (but not all) begin with http://www. In many cases the first part (http://, or even http://www.) can be omitted, and you will still be able to access the page.

URLs are constructed in a standard fashion. Take, for example, the address of this page:

The ".in" indicates that the server is in India. The page you have accessed is called index.php, and it resides in a folder on the server called "news". If the URL that you type does not work, and you have typed it correctly, the reason may be that the host has renamed the web page, or moved it to another folder on the server, or you are not allowed access to that level.


The first web browser was invented in 1990 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. It was called WorldWideWeb and was later renamed Nexus. The first commonly available web browser with a graphical user interface was Erwise. The development of Erwise was initiated by Robert Cailliau.


In 1993, browser software was further innovated by Marc Andreessen with the release of Mosaic (later Netscape), "the world's first popular browser", which made the World Wide Web system easy to use and more accessible to the average person. Andreesen's browser sparked the internet boom of the 1990s. The introduction of Mosaic in 1993 – one of the first graphical web browsers – led to an explosion in web use. Andreessen, the leader of the Mosaic team at NCSA, soon started his own company, named Netscape, and released the Mosaic-influenced Netscape Navigator in 1994, which quickly became the world's most popular browser, accounting for 90% of all web use at its peak.

Microsoft responded with its Internet Explorer in 1995, also heavily influenced by Mosaic, initiating the industry's first browser war. Bundled with Windows, Internet Explorer gained dominance in the web browser market; Internet Explorer usage share peaked at over 95% by 2002.

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