Explaining the homepage detection

Introduction

Firstly, welcome to What Is My Browser.com! When someone is troubleshooting technical questions, it helps to have a detailed understanding of the system that encountered the problem; and so we made whatismybrowser.com to make gathering those details as easy as possible.

The homepage gives you a detailed and clear read out of as much of your system details as possible.

We've taken a lot of care to structure it so that it's clear and helpful - it starts with the most important information at the top of the page - your browser and operating system - and then as you go further down the page, the information tends to get more technical and more detailed and you may not need to worry about it as much.

But we understand that some of it still may seem confusing, so on this page we'll go through what each bit means. If you have any questions, just let us know.

Your browser, operating system (and maybe your device)

At the very top of the homepage you'll see this readout:

This lays out in very clear terms the web browser, operating system and possibly the device that you appear to be using. We say "appear to be using" because it is theoretically possible to pretend to be using a different browser or platform by changing your user agent. However for most users this readout should be accurate.

If this readout seems wildly different to what you know you're using, then it's possible that your browser has been set into a different mode... For example, some mobile browsers have an option to imitate a desktop browser, so even though you're actually using your phone, your browser is telling us that you're on a desktop computer. Sometimes it's necessary to do this because some websites don't work properly on mobile phones, and so you need to trick the website into giving you the "computer version" of the site instead. If you want to change this; go through your browser's settings or consult the manufacturer's guides.

Is your browser up to date?

In the same section at the top, directly under your browser and system read out, if you're running any of the major web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari etc) we'll tell you if your copy is the up to date (the latest version) or if it's out of date.

If your web browser is out of date, then underneath the warning we'll also provide you with a link to an article that shows you how to easily upgrade your browser to the latest version. Keeping your web browser up to date helps make sure that you stay safe online and also have access to all the latest technologies and features of modern websites, so it's a good idea to do it!

A sharable web link with your browser details

If someone has sent you to this website to gather your technical details, a really easy way of giving them all your system's details is to simply send them the unique URL that we generate for you each time you load the home page. This saves having to copy and paste different sections of the page into an email, support ticket or tweet - you simply give them the unique URL and by viewing it they can get a detailed read out of your systems capabilities.

Each unique URL will show anyone who views it the same information that you can see on the homepage. We do only show part of your IP address however, because if you tweet it or post it publicly, we don't want to provide too much personally identifying information about you!

If your browser supports it, you can click the "Copy URL to clipboard" button and your unique URL will be copied to your computer's clipbard. This makes it easy for you to paste it into an email, support ticket or Tweet to share with your support team.

Your Web Browser's Capabilities

This section relates to some of the key settings your browser will have - things that are either enabled or disabled, as well as one or two major browser plugins.

The top of the homepage has identified your browser and now the "Your Web Browser's Capabilities" section is concerned with some of the important settings and plugins which you might have installed.

Remember that these settings are for your current browser only! It's possible to have more than one web browser installed on your computer or device and the settings between them are different - you might choose to have something disabled in one browser but have it enabled in another. Do you want to try a different web browser?

Next to each of these bits of detection, we've also got a link to a guide which will help you change the relevant setting. Underneath this section, we also encourage you to try clearing your cache if you're having problems online.

These settings tend to have a significant impact on how websites appear and work for you so it's worth having a detailed look at them.

Please also note that all of these settings require JavaScript to be enabled in order to work; so if you don't have JavaScript turned on then unfortunately we won't be able to detect the other settings.

Is JavaScript Enabled?

This readout tells you if your browser is currently set to run JavaScript code in your browser. Websites often use JavaScript to make websites more dynamic or interactive but there are pros and cons to using it.

Read our detailed guide to JavaScript.

Are Cookies Enabled?

This readout tells you if your browser will accept Cookies from websites you visit. A lot of websites use Cookies to provide normal functionality but there are some drawbacks as well.

Read our detailed guide to Cookies.

Are Third-Party Cookies Enabled?

This readout tells you if your browser will accept what are called "Third Party Cookies". These are the same sort of thing as normal Cookies but they're set by a different website than then one that you're currently using; often this can lead to advertising companies tracking your online behaviour and many people choose to disable them.

It's a complicated topic; so read our detailed guide to Cookies to find out more.

Is Flash installed?

Adobe Flash used to be very popular on the internet many years ago; Flash was used to make games, play videos and make interactive websites, but it's no longer used very much and in fact the company that makes Flash (Adobe Inc.) has discontinued making it.

You should only have Flash installed and enabled if you really need it. Most modern browsers don't even support it any more!

Read our detailed guide to Flash to find out more.

Is Java installed?

Java (different to JavaScript!) used to be used a lot on the internet many years ago, similar to Flash, it was used to make websites interactive and to provide advanced functionality, however it's no longer widely used.

You should probably only have Java installed and enabled if you really need it. Most modern browsers don't even support it any more!

Read our detailed guide to Java to find out more.

More info about your system

Continuing further down the page, we then provide you with an even more technical look at your browsing set up.

Extra Info

This section won't appear for everyone; but some web browsers provide a bit more information about your system, so if they provide it then we display it here. Don't worry if you don't see any of this; you might also have more than one of these items as well. These are the more common ones that we show:

  • Possibly running on Windows Server 2008 R2 - Some versions of Windows appear very similar to us - in this case you're probably running Windows 7, however it's also possible you've using Windows Server 2008 R2 instead. Since most people have Windows 7, that's what we show you in the main section, but there's a chance it's Server 2008 so we display it here just to be complete.
  • 32 bit compatibility layer - This means you have a 64 Bit Operating System, but it also has a Compatibility Layer built in so that if you need to you can also run older "32 Bit" applications.
  • Media Center PC v6.0 - Your browser is telling us that you're running this on a Media Center PC. This may not always be correct but it's what you're browser is telling us!
  • X11 Window System - You're probably on some kind of Linux/Unix system that's using the X11 Windowing System.
  • Internet Explorer x Compatibility View - There's a few versions of this, but your copy of Internet Explorer is telling us that even though it's a particular version, it's interpreting and displaying websites as if it were an older version of Internet Explorer for compatbility reasons.
  • Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron (Long Term Support) - We're able to detect the version of Ubuntu you're using, so we've taken the liberty of showing you the actual "code name" for that version - in this example it's "Hardy Heron".
  • Firmware v2.00 - Some handheld devices (including game consoles) will divulge the Firmware version it's using. We display this in the "Extra info" section.
  • Desktop Mode - Some portable/handheld devices are capable of pretending to be desktop computers; if we detect this, we show it here.

IP Address

We'll tell you what IP Address your internet requests are coming from. Every device on the internet has a "Public IP Address" which identifies the source of the traffic; in this section of the homepage we show you what yours appears to be. It's possible that you're using a VPN or proxy - this can obscure your real IP address and so a different IP Address will appear there.

This can quickly become a complicated topic, so we've written a beginners guide to IP Addresses so you can learn anything you're curious about.

Local IP Address

In most modern browsers it's now also possible to detect your "Private" or "Local" IP Address. This is different to your public IP Address. When you are on a private network (at home, at the office, in a café) your device will be assigned a "local" IP Address. Every device on that network will get it's own unique IP on that network, however to the outside world, all the traffic from the various devices on that private network will appear to be coming from the same public IP.

If it's possible to detect; we'll show you your local IP address. Normally you don't need to worry about it; but if someone who is helping you asks you for it; this is an easy way to find it out!

If you don't see this section there it's either because you don't have one (ie your device is directly connected to the internet) or your browser doesn't support detecting your local IP.

We cover these kinds of differences in our guide to IP addresses so check it out if you're curious.

Using a VPN or Proxy?

Even though we've detected your IP Address; you might be hiding your real IP address with a VPN or a Proxy. Here we'll show you if it looks like your internet traffic is coming through a VPN or a Proxy. It's impossible to be detect with 100% perfection but it's very accurate in our estimation. Let us know how we do!

Privacy and anonymity are becoming more and more important these days; so why not have a look at our guide on VPNs and staying safe online.

Incognito mode / Private Browsing

Most modern browsers offer the ability to enter a "private browsing" mode (called "Incognito mode" in Chrome). In this mode, your browser won't record your browsing history, store cookies beyond the session or cache files to your hard drive. It doesn't mean your browsing is completely private or anonymous, but it's handy if you're buying someone a birthday gift online and don't want them to notice your browsing history.

Using a private/incognito session is also a good way of testing/experiencing websites with a "blank slate" - your browser cache is guaranteed to be clear and you won't have or retain cookies. It's handy to know if you're in incognito mode.

Computer screen

This section shows the dimensions of your screen in "pixels". A pixel is a single dot on your screen. If you look closely at your LCD monitor you might be able to notice that what you see on your screen is actually composed of millions of tiny little dots - much like a newspaper. This section of the site detects the size of your screen in pixels - it says how many pixels wide your screen is (the first number) and then how many pixels tall your screen is (the second number). Note that it's not possible to determine the physical size of your screen in inches or centimeters; this measures the number of pixels.

Underneath the pixel size of your screen, you'll also see the measurement of "color depth" of your screen. Most monitors these days are capable of 24 or 32 bit color depth. What this refers to is the number of "bits" of data (a 1 or a 0 in computer terminology) that is used to store color information for each pixel. The more bits per pixel, the more accurate the image can be - for example if your computer was completely black and white; it might be possible to only use 2 bits of information - each pixel is either white or black. If your monitor was "grey scale" - it might use 4 bits of color - white, light grey, dark grey and black... As you add more "bits" - it then becomes possible to store color - an 8 bit image can have color but it's pretty basic and lacks a lot of detail and nuance in color - once you get to 16 bit the image starts to look pretty accurate, and with 24 or more bits of information for each pixel images can be very accurate.

It's become more common for computers to have more than one screen attached, however please note that it's only possible to determine the properties of your main screen via your web browser.

Browser window size

This section shows the dimensions of your browser's window in pixels. That is to say; how many pixels wide and tall is the browser window you're viewing the website with. This measurement includes the address bar, status bar, bookmarks bar, toolbars and plugins that you might have active.

You can even resize your browser window and watch the numbers change!

"Do Not Track" setting

When you load any website in your browser, it's possible for some modern web browsers to include a little piece of information in your request to the webserver (called a "HTTP Header") which asks them not to track you. This section detects whether your web browser is asking websites not to track you or not.

"Do Not Track" seems like a great idea - doesn't it! Everyone's concerned with how much big companies know about our individual browsing habits, so asking them to not track you seems like a great idea; however unfortunately this is really just a polite request to not be tracked; it doesn't actually control anything. Websites are free to ignore it and continue tracking you however they please. It was a noble attempt but it seems to be pretty dead in the water these days. Apple have even removed this option from Safari now.

It seems like the best idea these days if you want to decrease the amount that you're tracked and profiled online is to use some privacy enhancing plugins for your web browser.

Detected Addons

In some cases your browser will tell us that you've got some addons for your browser installed, for example Microsoft Windows Security Licensing v2.0, Yahoo Parental Controls and various Browser Toolbars such as Alexa Toolbar. You don't usually need to worry about these, but it's interesting to know.

Operating System Frameworks

Some web browsers report various frameworks that are installed on the computer; for example Microsoft's dotNet framework. If we can detect it, we show it here.

Using TOR?

This section tells you if it looks like your Public IP address is coming from a TOR exit node. Unless you very intentionally set up and used TOR to access the site, you probably won't be using TOR - it requires a bit of technical knowledge to set up and use (and even more technical knowledge to use correctly!)

"TOR" stands for "The Onion Router"; it's a system of browsing the internet that is designed to keep you anonymous and prevent people/organisations from tracking you. To use it, you need to download special client software and use it to connect to the TOR network. It's possible to browse the normal public internet through TOR, although it tends to be quite slow to use.

For more information, check out the official page for some of its uses: Who uses TOR?.

Sending your technical details to support via email

We have built a unique and powerful system that sends all of the details of your browser and system via an email to anyone you want to. We built this so that you can send your details to your support team without having to copy and paste all the different bits of info on the homepage.

You simply need to put your details in and their details in and we'll send them a detailed read-out of your system.

If you're curious, check out the help page for more information; including a sample email and details about how to customise the form if you're a developer or systems administrator.

Your web browser's technical details

This is the fourth and final section of detection on the homepage. The bits here are specialised nuggets of info which might be helpful to your tech support team.

Software Type

The system we have built to detect your browser is able to classify your software into various "types" of program. For most people, this will always say "Web Browser", but some of the other types are "In-App Browser" (ie when you browse the web "inside" another App on your phone - maybe SnapChat or Instagram..." - you're still technically in that App but you're still browsing the web.) We also detect all sorts of web "bots" and "crawlers" and we show those types here too.

If you're a developer and you want to integrate this kind of detection into your own site or system, check out our User agent parsing API; it can give you all of this information as well as many other things. And if you're curious to about the various types of software that exist, you could Explore different types of browser software.

Hardware Type

Similar to the "Software Type" detection, we also show you what type of device or hardware you are using. It can be helpful to know whether you're on a phone, tablet, computer or something else when troubleshooting. There's other types of devices that we detect as well; including TVs, Game Consoles and even your Car! Browse some of the types of browser hardware we detect.

Browser version (full)

Our detection at the top of the page just shows you the "major" version of the browser you're using; this section shows you the full version number. We do For example, we might show you are using Chrome 60, but the full software version number is 60.0.3112.113. It can be helpful to know exactly which version you're using; however most people don't need to get bombarded with the full version number - usually it's sufficient to just know that it's Version 60 or whatever.

Operating System version (full)

Similar to the Browser version (full) detection; this shows you the full version number of your operating system. Some operating systems (like macOS) also have a "code-name" for their various versions; so we might show at the top of the page that you're running "macOS Mojave", in this section we'll show your full version number - for example: 10.14.

Layout engine and version

This refers to the part of your web browser which is responsible for how websites actually appear on the page. There are only a few major layout engines in existence while there are lots of different browsers.

The layout engine reads the HTML and the associated styles for a website, decodes them and makes them appear on the page. Different layout engines work in different ways and may make things appear on the page in slightly different ways. If you were on the internet in the 1990's, you will probably remember seeing things like "This site is optimised for Netscape" or "This site only works with Internet Explorer". What these really referred to was the rendering engines used by those browsers (Netscape used an engine called "Gecko" and Internet Explorer used "Trident"). In the modern age, there seems to be less and less difference between the various rendering engines, so this isn't as much of a problem as it used to be.

So two different browsers might use the same rendering engine - For example, Chrome and Brave both use the "Blink" engine. Generally speaking, this means websites will look and behave the same way in the two different browsers, however Chrome and Brave both have different Bookmarking systems, Addon Systems, Settings screens, help pages, Tab systems and so on.

System Build/Mobile Build

Some devices will tell us the System or Mobile Build number/code, so we show it.

Operating Platform, Operating Platform Code

For most handheld devices we're able to detect the platform you're using, so we show it here, including any models or codes as well.

Network Provider

Some user agents include the network provide (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile etc) in the user agent.

Hardware Architecture

In some cases we're able to detect the hardware architecture of the device you're using (for example: "64-bit processor (AMD)", "i686", "PowerPC", "x64" and so on).

Configured Language

This is the language that we've detected your browser is configured to use.

Device pixel ratio

"Normal" screens will have a pixel ratio of "1"; high resolution screens (such as the "Retina" displays on iPhones (since iPhone 4)) will have a pixel ratio of "2". Higher device pixel ratio means that there are more pixels (the little dots that comprise what is on the screen) in the same amount of space. So a device with a ratio of "2" means there are twice as many pixels as a "normal" screen.

Browser GMT Offset

This is the time offset from Greenwich Mean Time that we've detected your browser or device is using. It's the number of hours and minutes before or after GMT/UTC for your local timezone.

Your web browser's user agent

At the very end of the page, we show you your "user agent string". This is what we use to actually detect which browser, operating system and maybe the device you're using.

As explained on our page about HTTP headers, every time you send a web request, you include a HTTP header which describes the browser you're using (and usually a few other things like the operating system and so on...). Most websites just ignore this bit of information, but we decode it and use it to figure out what browser you're using.

Lets have a look at yours:

Depending on which browser and operating system you're using, this may seem fairly straight-forward, or it may look completely bizarre. Some useragents make reference to "safari" even though it's not the Safari browser and you're not on a Mac. Some devices say "iPhone" even when it's not an iPhone device! There's also no fixed structure to a user agent; they can appear in many different formats. So we've written software to decode it so that we can tell you this information nice and clearly.

Developers: If you want to easily use the same detection we use, we provide an easy to use API.

In conclusion

We've now covered all the detection we show on the homepage. Hopefully it was clear and easy to understand. We're always trying to make things better, so let us know via the contact form if there's anything that's confusing or something we've missed.

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