After getting physically connected to the Internet through your ISP, you still need one more thing to surf the web: a browser. The browser is the program that retrieves web pages from the Internet and displays them on the screen for you. It can understand the language that web pages are written in, such as HTML, ASP, CGI, etc., and produces the correct output on your screen.
Browsers to choose from
The most common browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer (short: MSIE). MSIE can be downloaded from Microsoft. You can download Netscape either by itself or as part of the Netscape Communicator package from Netscape. Firefox is a newer browser that offers tabbed windows and several unique features and improved security. Opera too offers features like pop-up blocking but it is ad-supported on the free version and if you want to browse without their ad you’ll have to pay a small fee.
There are other browsers such as Neoplanet, which actually is not a browser by itself, but rather uses the MSIE browser engine (which has to be installed on your system) and spices it up by using “skins” to make it look interesting and let you customize its appearance.
I am not going to tell you here which browser is the better or the best, or give an elaborate review of each one. The discussion about which one is better is pointless, it depends on your taste, preferences and web habits. Each browser will do just fine for web surfing and offers all the necessary capabilities. The difference is mainly in the layout and additional features. You should try out several for a few weeks and see which one you like best. Since they are all free, it won’t cost anything but your time to make that decision.
According to people who track these things IE was the major browser all through 2004 accounting for over 90% of the market. It, however, is plagued by various security problems and is the target for most hackers and spyware / adware infections. Firefox is, according to the statisticians, the browser to watch as it has been making big inroads into IE’s dominance all through 2005.
Part 2: Setting up the browser