Although it sounds complicated, browser user agents are quite easy to understand. Practically, every time you visit a popular website, it will take into account your current user agent. This helps to identify your operating system, and browser and deliver better content.
Even the most popular browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Chrome, can sometimes display web content inconsistently when compared to each other. There are hundreds of user agent options, from browsers that you have probably never heard of to email readers and RSS readers.
This article will discuss the technical aspects of user agents. We’ll also talk about how software and browser plugins can be used to modify the content displayed on the internet.
What does a Browser User-Agent Shifter Do?
The user-agent-switcher does exactly the same thing as it sounds: it changes your browser’s user agent. A user agent is the string of text your browser sends to the webserver it’s communicating with. It describes the user’s operating system and browser as well as other important details.
This is, for example, the user agent of the most recent version of Google Chrome on Windows 10.
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/77.0.3865.90 Safari/537.36
This information is sent to web servers via HTTP headers and can be used to modify the content’s display. Web browsers can render text, images, and other content in different ways. It is important that the webserver knows exactly where you are browsing from so that it can properly display content.
You can modify the string sent through HTTP headers to make your browser think you are browsing with a different browser.
Why would you want to use a browser user-agent switcher?
One could use a variety of tricks to trick a website into thinking that they are browsing from another browser.
Web development is one of the most common. Although I believe it is best to install additional browsers to have the best experience, switching the user agent of your browser will give you an easy glimpse at how your work looks in other browsers.
Browser user-agent switching can also be helpful when you want to see how a website looks on mobile. You might have a slow connection or the website offers additional functionality. This can be done without having to use your phone.
You can also change your user agent to bypass browser-based restrictions. Although it isn’t as common as it used to be a decade ago it still happens. Websites that claim to be incompatible with certain browser builds will sometimes deny access. This can be avoided by changing the user agent.
Consider your browsing privacy. Although a user agent doesn’t allow you to identify yourself as closely as an IP address or your browser type, it does give you the ability to browse. Websites can see past the user-agent string to identify your browser, however. This isn’t 100% secure.
How can you get a browser user-agent switcher?
Most browsers now include a developer console. This allows you to modify everything, including your viewing resolution and user agents. It can be difficult to follow the steps through a developer console if you want to frequently change your user agent.
We recommend that you install a browser extension that makes it easier to change your browser’s user agent. Chrome and Firefox offer a variety of options, but we have chosen the best.
Chrome: Chrome User-Agent Switcher Chrome
This Chrome extension is used by nearly 2 million people and was created by Google. It should work with all browsers.
This extension is installed and adds a button right above the address bar. It allows you to choose from eight different browsers or mobile operating systems. After selecting one, you will be presented with a list of supported browser versions. Clicking on any of these will change your browser version.
This extension only currently supports very few user agent types. Your iOS options are limited to iPhone 6 and iPad 6 (which don’t offer a specific generation).
Firefox: Manager and User-Agent Switcher
The Firefox team recommended this add-on and it has almost 200,000 users.
The User-Agent Manager and Switcher is more robust than the Chrome version and supports many other browsers and operating system. There are currently 738 user agents supported.
This add-on displays the entire user-agent string, not just device names and browser versions. You can also set up a custom user agent.
You can’t change your user agent overnight to get the results you want. This string can be circumvented by web servers. It’s rare for them to go beyond this.