Many people use Internet Explorer everyday as their primary browser because it comes pre-installed with their home PC, but doing so poses a significant threat if you are not a sophisticated computer user.

It's easy to understand why if you know some history about the browser wars. In 1,995 Netscape grew extremely fast and in a very short time gained almost 90% market share waking up the giant Microsoft that started rapid improvements in his own browser making version after version almost every year. Suddenly, once Internet Explorer became the dominant browser, Microsoft stopped new developments.

Although Microsoft Internet Explorer is the dominant browser with more than 85% market share, Firefox is steadily gaining ground because of its many features and greater security. Internet Explorer was designed very fast to take Netscape out of the market, but in the process to add features his security was left behind.

Firefox can help you protect from very serious threats like: viruses, spyware and other malware because it's harder for this malware to get through your browser and get installed in your PC.

Although Firefox is more secure than Internet Explorer, all computer users should also have a personal firewall, antivirus software and a spyware cleaner. Also, some knowledge about general security could help minimize your exposure.


Many people are excited by the idea of venturing onto the internet. In fact, going online for the first time is relatively simple. It is no more difficult than installing a new piece of software. To connect to the internet you need a modem and an Internet Service Provider (ISP). You also need a web browser.

A web browser is a piece of software that allows you to access Web sites and navigate between them. Once your browser is set up, you can explore the fascinating world beyond. All web browser are the same in principle. They contain an address box, in which you type a web address, and an area in which web pages are displayed.

Every Web address is unique, in the same way that your telephone number is. It's helpful to think of a web address as a telephone number, whereby you dial the site's address to view it. Web address tells you that the site belongs to the World Wide Web.

Two of the most popular browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. If you bought your personal computer in 1999 or later, Microsoft Internet Explorer will almost certain have come pre-installed on your system.

Whether or not your personal computer came with its own browser, your internet service provider may also provide you with one in its start up kit. This could be Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, but some ISPs, such as AOL and CompuServe, provide you with their own specialty designed Web browser.

You can have more than one Web browser, just as you can have more than one word processor or spreadsheet program. When your internet service provider software first loads, look for a button that says "Internet," "Browse the Internet," or something close to this. When you click on this it will start up your web browser ready to surf the internet.


As the internet was created to unite the world into one inter connecting community, the use of so many different browsers that view Web pages in different ways makes it harder for a Web designer to create a Web site and it can stop users seeing a Web page in the same way. When designing a Web site, the designer must test their pages in different browsers to check the outcome of that page. With so many browsers available, it is important to consider which browsers to test for and how many past browser versions need to be catered for within the designs.

As technology has advanced, the situation has improved to that of a few years ago but the problem has not been completely resolved. You can now be confident that at least 99% of users have browsers that support nearly all of HTML 4. However, there are still inconsistencies in the way Cascading Style Sheets are implemented and older browser versions pre-dating the current standards take a long time to fade away entirely. A Web site designer must now also consider the mobile user; phones, PDAs and other handheld media devices that have access to the internet. The browser that these devices use will be a variant of a standard browser but the user will view the pages on a much smaller screen. A mobile browser, also called a micro browser, mini browser or wireless internet browser (WIB) are optimised so as to display Web content most effectively for small screens on portable devices. Mobile browser software must also be small and efficient to accommodate the low memory capacity and low-bandwidth of wireless handheld devices. Typically, they were stripped-down Web browsers but as of 2006 some mobile browsers can handle latest technologies such as CSS 2.1, JavaScript and Ajax. Jennifer Niederst Robbins (2006) says;

"1996 to 1999: The Browser Wars begin.
For years, the Web development world watched as Netscape and Microsoft battled it out for browser market dominance. The result was a collection of proprietary HTML tags and incompatible implementations of new technologies, such as JavaScript, Cascading Style Sheets, and Dynamic HTML. On the positive side, the competition between Netscape and Microsoft also led to the rapid advancement of the medium as a whole."

The World Wide Web consortium establishes the basic rules on how to translate a HTML document and the official HTML standards.

The HTML standards say that the Table tag should support a Cellspacing attribute to define the space between parts of the table. HTML standards don't define the default value for that attribute, so unless you explicitly define Cellspacing when building your page, two browsers may use different amounts of white space in your table. HTML standards are usually ahead of what browsers support. Over the past few years Internet Explorer has done a much better job of this than Netscape Navigator, though Opera has done arguably the best job.

If you build a Web page and the user's browser does not understand part of the language, then they will ignore that part and continue creating the rest of the page. This will cause some browsers not to display the page the way it was designed to be seen.