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Section: WWW Browsers

Introduction to the Browser and the Web

How a Web Browser Works

  1. Load the complicated web page [opens a new web page] and watch how the page is assembled from component parts.

  2. When you click on a link for a web page, the web browser client software contacts a server to request the HTML file, and the server sends this file.

  3. The web browser reads and interprets the HTML file.

  4. If the page includes images, sounds or other non-text elements, the browser learns this from the HTML file and contacts the server again to download the additional files it needs.

  5. The web browser assembles and displays the page.

  6. The web browser also monitors and responds to your actions such as  clicking on a link, to start the process over again.

  7. Not all links are to HTML files. If you click on a link to something that the web browser cannot display on its own, it may need to use other software on the client computer, like RealPlayer or QuickTime for audio or video.

All of the elements that make up the web page are actually on your computer now, but stored in a temporary location called a "cache" folder. It is kept there until it has to be deleted to make room for more files.


arrow Ready to move on? Go to Features of the Web Browser

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