That’s the program you open on your computer in order to view websites.
If you have a Windows computer then the default when you first set up is Internet Explorer. Other options include Opera, Firefox or, my personal favourite, Chrome plus myriad others.
Owners of Apple Macs have Safari as their default but you can install others – including Firefox and Chrome.
So, that’s five browsers – there are many, many more but those five are considered the main players.
And here’s the fly in the ointment…
They all work slightly differently.
This means that when your web designer is building a website for you it may look slightly different in different browsers (and even on different versions of Windows). To ensure that your website looks exactly the same in all browsers is achievable – just – but very time consuming for the designer and therefore very expensive for you. Bear in mind that, generally, your customers will only ever see your website in one browser on one computer so do you really need exact consistency?
Internet Explorer could take up a whole chapter of itself and do not mention Internet Explorer 6 if you can help it
We are currently on IE 8 with IE 9 on the horizon and the newer versions are getting better in that they work along similar lines to Firefox and Chrome however earlier versions do have their little quirks that can be annoying to say the least. Unless you have money to throw away do not expect your website to look perfect in older versions of Internet Explorer.
A good web designer tests your website in different browsers as a matter of course and will maintain a consistent look across them all, however, some of the latest tricks and ‘fancy’ bits may not work in older browsers so more basic alternatives will be used. The main concern is to ensure that you at least have a working website in all browsers even if it doesn’t look exactly the same.