Browser and Email Program Help

  • Internet Access
    Answers to beginner questions about the internet and how to get the best value from your connection.
  • Browsers - General
    There is a lot of info relating to browsers and/or email programs is equally applicable regardless of which browser or email program you are using.
  • Internet Explorer and Outlook Express
    A selection of useful how-to and reference pages for those using Internet Explorer and/or Outlook Express.
  • Netscape
    A selection of useful how-to and reference pages for those using Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, and/or Thunderbird.
  • Opera
    A selection of useful how-to and reference pages for those using Opera.

The purpose of a web browser is to download the source code of the web pages from a web server onto your computer and then by interpreting the codes placed into that source format the page and display the result. As there are a number of different web browsers available and your browser window may be larger or smaller than that of other visitors, what you end up seeing may be formatted differently from other visitors but the actual page content should hopefully be the same.

The different browsers (and in fact different versions of the same browser) may behave somewhat differently both in how they interpret the supplied source code and also in how you perform various functions with that browser. Depending on the care taken by the people who created the various web pages that you visit, some pages may have been designed with a specific browser in mind and you may find that some or even all of the page content of some web pages is unusable in your particular web browser. If you are using one of the popular browsers such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, or Opera then you can put this down to poor design on the part of the page creator.

Although some people now connect to the internet using broadband connections, most of us are still using the much slower dial up connections using a modem. If you are one of the latter then you may find that you can speed up access to web pages by turning off the images on pages and just looking at the text. With a dial up connection you will also almost certainly want to disable java and flash but you will want to keep Javascript enabled as many pages will require it to give you the full functionality of the page.

All of the source files for the pages that you view are first downloaded to your own computer before being displayed in your browser. The place where they are stored is called the browser cache and the actual location varies depending on the browser that you are using. These files will be retained in your cache for a period of time after you finish viewing them so it should be possible for you to redisplay recently visited web pages even after you have disconnected from the internet.

An even more popular part of the Internet than the World Wide Web is Email and so along with each of the different browsers you are also supplied with an email program that allows you to create and send emails to other people as well as to download and read emails that others send you. There are also a number of email programs that are not supplied with a corresponding web browser. In any case there is no requirement that you use both the email program and web browser from the same supplier, it will work equally well if you use a web browser from one source and the email program normally associated with another. You will want to disable all scripting for your email program (including remote loading of images if your email program permits this) so as to reduce the chance of your computer being impacted by viruses or spyware.

Most of the articles on in this section contain useful information for the ordinary person using a browser to visit someone else's web pages or one of the associated email programs. There are also a couple of articles aimed specifically at helping webmasters solve the problems associated with getting their pages to display properly in different web browsers and at different window sizes.

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