A web browser is a software application that enables a user to display and interact with text, images, videos, music and other information typically located on a Web page at a website on the World Wide Web or a local area network.
Text and images on a Web page can contain hyperlinks to other Web pages at the same or different website. Web browsers allow a user to quickly and easily access information provided on many Web pages by traversing these links. Although browsers are typically used to access the World Wide Web, they can also be used to access information provided by Web servers in private networks or content in file systems.
Web browsers communicate with Web servers primarily using HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to fetch Web pages. HTTP allows Web browsers to submit information to Web servers as well as fetch Web pages from them. Pages are located by means of a URL (uniform resource locator), which is treated as an address, beginning with http: for HTTP access. Many browsers also support other URL types and their corresponding protocols, such as gopher: (a hierarchical hyperlinking protocol), ftp: for (file transfer protocol), rtsp: for (real-time streaming protocol), and https: for an SSL encrypted version of HTTP).
The file format for a Web page is usually HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and is identified in the HTTP protocol using a MIME content type. Most browsers support a variety of formats in addition to HTML, such as the JPEG, PNG and GIF image formats, and can be extended to support more through the use of plugins. The combination of HTTP content type and URL protocol specification allows Web page designers to embed images, animations, video, sound, and streaming media into a Web page, or to make them accessible through the Web page.
Early Web browsers supported only a very simple version of HTML. The rapid development of proprietary Web browsers led to the development of non-standard dialects of HTML, leading to problems with Web interoperability. Modern Web browsers support a combination of standards- and defacto-based HTML and XHTML, which should display in the same way across all browsers.
Web browsers provide users with different ways to delete, block, or limit cookies set on their browser. Through a web browser's privacy settings, users can choose to categorically block or accept all cookies, or to block cookies from particular websites or domains. Certain browsers allow users to block all third-party cookies.
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