Browser vs. search engine

A question from a reader got me to thinking about a very important distinction that sometimes confuses people:

“I don’t like Firefox, so might try a different search engine. Which do you prefer?”

This seems like a great time to discuss the difference between a browser and a search engine. A browser is a program that allows you to access the Internet and view websites.

You’ll see the address of the website you’re visiting at the top of the page in the address bar.

The most popular browsers are Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

A search engine is a service that allows you to search for information once you’ve already got that browser open. The most famous and most popular search engine is Google. You can use Google with any browser you choose by going to


Other search engine options are Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. You can use any of these search engines with any of the browsers. That’s certainly not all of your search options.

As for which browser I suggest, frankly, I use all of them. I find that Chrome is the best for some tasks, Edge for others. I see the fewest complaints and seem to find fewer issues with Chrome.

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