How do you detect my browser and settings?

That's a great question, and one we get asked often. It can be surprising for some people to see information about their Web browser, Device model, Operating System Version, IP address, physical location and settings shown back to them. But don't worry; there's nothing sneaky at play here, just a bit of software; so please, let us explain how we do it!

The short answer:

The short answer is: everything you see on the homepage of WhatIsMyBrowser.com is already available to every single website you visit on the internet. Most websites just ignore it and instead just show you whatever page you wanted to view (eg. A news article, product, video, post etc).

However, instead of ignoring that information like most websites, WhatIsMyBrowser.com will show you this information to help you solve your technical problems.

Through a combination of examining the request that your web browser sent to our servers, and from running a bit of JavaScript code on the page, we can find out lots of information about your particular browsing configuration.

The long answer:

We use a combination of methods to detect the information that we display to you. We use a combination of two methods:

  • Examining your browser's request
  • JavaScript to detect everything else

Here is more information about these two methods...

Examining your browser's request...

Every time you use your web browser to load a website - either on your phone, tablet, TV or computer - it sends a request to the website you want to visit. Your web browser's request says to the website: "Give me this particular page address to view".

The request which your browser sends also includes a number of other bits of information called "HTTP Headers". These headers usually include things like your preferred language and the page which contained the link you just clicked (called the "referring page"). We have a page to show you what HTTP Headers your browser sends to our site if you're curious.

Web browser, operating system, device...

To work out which web browser, operating system and device you're using, our software examines one of your HTTP Request Headers known as the "User Agent".

There are lots of different web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge and many others) and they all send their User Agent in different formats. So, to work out which Web Browser you're using, we've written special software to analyse all the bits of different user agents and work out as much information as possible.

For example, your web browser's user agent is:

CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)

That looks pretty strange, doesn't it!

Each bit of that user agent can tell us something about your web browser, operating system, device and so on; and so we analyse it carefully and then show you as much information as we can.

Is your browser up to date?

Because we can work out your web browser's version number, and because we maintain a database of the latest web browser version numbers, it's easy to work out if your web browser is up to date by comparing the version numbers.

IP Address and related items...

Another piece of data which is included in your request to each website you visit is your IP Address.

For your reference, your IP Address is 3.234.214.179.

This bit of information is easy to show; we simply look at the source IP of your requests to our site!

IP Addresses can be "shared" between computers/users in some cases - for example, if you are accessing our website from your work computer, it's very likely that you and your colleague's internet traffic appear to be coming from the same IP Address. This is thanks to something called "Network Address Translation". It lets groups of networked computers all share the same internet connection. You might also have a similar configuration at home - so every computer, phone and device at your house all share the same Public IP Address.

This also lets us figure out your IP Address location, if you're using TOR.

JavaScript to detect everything else...

In addition to examining the request that your web browser sent (as described above), we also include some JavaScript code on the web pages that we send to you.

As long as you don't disable JavaScript, the detection code will run and we'll be able to show you more information about your browser and device.

In other words, we analyse your request to discover your Web Browser/OS/Device and your IP Address and then everything else is detected by running some JavaScript and analysing the results.

We've written different code routines to ask your web browser things like: is JavaScript enabled, are cookies enabled and to find out your local IP address. We can even do things like tell you how big your computer screen is!

Our site is also the only site which detects whether Third-Party cookies are enabled or not. To do this check, we had to create another domain - seperate to the main WhatIsMyBrowser.com domain and use it to create a test cookie.

In conclusion

We hope that has explained a bit more how we're able to give you such detailed read-outs of your web browser's configuration. If you have any questions about it; just let us know via our contact form.

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