A Web browser is, most basically, a program which can download files using HTTP and render HTML. However, over the years since Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web, Web browsers have come to contain more and more features. Today (2000), the two most popular "Web browsers" -- Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Communicator -- each include netnews and email software, as well as all manner of other non-Web things.

Still, there remain several alternative Web browsers around, such as iCab, lynx, Opera, and Galeon, which return to the browser's most important functions. Indeed, many find that these programs are a good deal better at being a browser than are the monolithic apps from MSFT and NSCP.