Categories: Firefox

Mozilla Explains: Internet, search engine, browser

Real talk: this web stuff can get confusing. And it’s really important that we all understand how it works, so we can be as informed and empowered as possible.

What is a browser?

Let’s start by breaking down the differences between internet, search engine, and browser. Lots of us get these three things confused with each other.

In this case, the old “internet superhighway” analogy comes in handy.


The internet is both the road and the destination. Allllll the websites you visit live on the internet. Effectively, you drive along the internet highway, stopping at whatever roadside attractions (aka websites) catch your fancy.

Search Engine

Search engines like Yahoo, Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo are the compass and the map. You tell a search engine where you want to go by typing your search terms into the white box, and it gives you some possible destinations. Search engines are websites.

Facebook (or Twitter or YouTube or Instagram)

These are also websites: places you visit on the web. You get to websites via your browser, or through direct apps on your phone or tablet.


The browser is the car that gets you everywhere. You type your destination into the address bar (or “drive” to the search engine first to figure out where you’re going) and zoooom: your browser takes you anywhere on the internet.

Firefox is a browser – one built specifically for people, not profit. If it’s not your browser, maybe it should be?

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German) Français (French)