User agents: Every browser has a user agent and thus connects to the internet via it. One may ask what is a user agents then, well that is the essence of this post and also to teach you how you can switch from one user agent to another. For the basis of this blog post, I will mainly user Mozilla Firefox as the browser.
What is a User Agent?
User Agents are simply a computer system’s application that remotely accesses another computer or server via a network. So for you to connect to the internet for example you will require a User Agent to be able to do so. Its easier to understand this way, for you to connect to the internet you require a web browser and an internet connection. So look at the web browser as your user Agent and the network as the internet. So the basics is a very simple one, you connect to another computer in another part of the world, accessing files of programs on that computer remotely via the internet protocol of that system. So you connect out of your system and connect in to another system through the web page’s server via an internet protocol and the user agents make this possible.
The User Agent contains vital information about an incoming connection trying to access a server’s content. It contains specific information like the applications name and version, host operating system and language.
Example of a User Agent is Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
The above user agent contains the following information
- The Application name: Mozilla and Version 5.0
- Browser type: Microsoft Internet Explorer and version 6.1
- Operating system NT 5.1 etc
There are quite a lot of User Agents ranging from mobile to web browser user agents. Now I know you may be wondering why do I have to change my user agent? I will tell you quickly, changing your user againt will provide you with an opportunity of surfing a website in another view for example you want to view the mobile version of this blog, you can switch your user agent to Nokia N70 and browse this site the way it will display in Nokia N70.
How to change your user agent: Remember I said using Firefox as the default web browser in this post, follow the steps under listed to change your user agent.
- Launch your firefox browser
- Click here to download the User Agent Switcher for firefox
- Click on + Add to Firefox, Allow the download
- On completion of download it will ask you to install, install it
- It will request for a browser restart, restart the browser by closing it and re-launching it again.
- A Menu bar has been added to your browsers toolbar. Click on tools you will see “Default user Agent”
- Next visit http://netmediablog.com/useragentswitcher.xml and copy the user agents from the <useragentswitcher> to </useragentswitcher> tags and save it in a notepad as useragentswitcher.xml
- Then go back to your Firefox toolbar and navigate to Tools > Default user agent > user agent switcher > options
- Click import and navigate to the location where you saved the useragentswitcher.xml and import it, then ok it.
- Go back to tools > default user agents and see how many user agents you have added to your firefox browser. Choose any of the mobile user agents for example and refresh this site and see how it will look.
Now you can easily view the mobile version of any website on your web browser without having to use your mobile phones. You can even browse like an iPad. I hope you like this tutorial. Please share it with your friends. You can also use the comment box below to share your contributions about this blog post. Click here to Subscribe to NetMediaBlog Feeds by Email.