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How Internet and Web Browser Works

Learn how the internet and the web browser work in conjunction. The browser resolves the HTTP request to generate an HTML page and display complete UI/UX.

The web browser or internet browser has two main elements, the front-end, the user interface we interact with, and the back-end, which is invisible but essential for rendering and generating the webpage. The browser needs the web address known as Uniform Resource Locator (URL) to receive and render the website elements for generating the web page.

How Internet and Web browser works

The role of a web browser stands simple – you input a query, and it brings the associated results directly to your device.

However, a lot happens in the backend, from when it retrieves the information from a particular webserver to when it displays the resources onto your window.

On the front end, every browser comes with different feature sets. While some have their eyes set on being a privacy-centric browser, others focus primarily on the customization front (well, there’s now even a gaming browser).

These differences are needed, making each browser easily distinguishable and giving them a unique identity.

The Role of HTTP

However, when it comes to performing their primary task of retrieving and displaying information, uniformity is an element. Every bit of data transferred during this process follows the HyperText Transfer Protocol.

HTTP governs how a particular piece of information, be it text, images, or any other file, should be transmitted to the web. In other words, it acts as a foundation stone for any data exchange across the web.

Webpages in HTML Format

On the other hand, the web pages you access via your desired browser have been written in HyperText Markup Language. It is, again, a standard language that every site across the web needs to follow.

All the rules have been written in the HTML and CSS specifications which the World Wide Web Consortium maintains.

Your browser wouldn’t understand the standard text; instead, it must be supplied with all the HTML information.

HTML and Normal Website Layout - How Browser Works

So rather than the plain text you see in the front end, the browser is primarily interested in whatever is happening behind the scenes, i.e., the content within the HTML, Head, Body, and other such tags.

Use of Browser’s Rendering Engine

However, they wouldn’t be interested in this HTML data; instead, they need to get hold of the UI element of the associated data to act upon. This is where a browser’s rendering engine comes into the picture.

As soon as it gets hold of the required resource from a webpage, the engine translates that data to a user-understandable format, and hence you can see the desired site, image, or video.

By default, these engines deal with XML and HTML contents effectively, but their domain could be expanded using third-party add-ons.

Furthermore, different browsers use different types of rendering engines. For example, Firefox uses Gecko; Safari uses WebKit, whereas Chrome uses a fork of WebKit (Blink).

URL for every Webpage

However, how would they be identifiable with such a plethora of information across the web? To provide a unique identity to each element across the web, they are assigned a unique address. This is also known as the Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

Website Address URL in Web Browser So every website you see, including an image, video, or document, all have been assigned a unique URL. You need to click on that link, and you will then be able to access it with just a single click.

The Need for Uniformity?

In all of these, you might have witnessed one key thing- there is a common framework specified that each browser needs to be in line with.

For example, HTTP takes care of the data transmission; websites follow the HTML, which is governed by the W3C body. So what was the need for this consistency?

Well, there is a plentitude of information spread across the web, belonging to different world regions. If every browser followed its rules, then a lack of uniformity would have made it difficult for the users to understand the information they were trying to retrieve.

But by maintaining a consistent workflow, every user can get the same information from any device, be it in any corner of the world.

Bottom Line

So on that note, we round off this write-up on how a web browser works. Remember that following these web standards doesn’t mean that every web browser needs to be a carbon copy of each other.

They could easily differentiate themselves in the UI/UX front, which they provide, among other things. It’s just that their backend functionality needs to be in line with the rules that have been laid down.

So with that, we conclude this guide. If you have any queries related to the abovementioned information, do let us know in the comments section below.

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Sadique Hassan

Sadique is a Bachelor of Computer Application in Computer Science and an MBA professional. He became a tech writer by choice and has continued pursuing it for the last 7+ years. He is keenly interested in open-source technology like Android and also loves troubleshooting the tech. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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