The Internet has a ubiquitous presence in our highly digitalized world. From our smartphone to our smart homes, seemingly everything is connected to the internet. But did you know, you can’t just connect to the internet? You need what we call as a ‘user agent’ to act as the middle person between you and the internet at large. I bet you’re thinking, “what is my user agent?” As an intermediary between you and the internet, a User Agent is unique to every person on the internet and holds technical information about your device and software. To understand this better, we must backtrack and understand how the web worked before and the benefits of user agents. Back in the day, the internet was a manual system based on commands; users had to type instructions and send messages. Ever since the evolution of the internet, browsers do this job automatically. All we have to do is point and click – the rest is done by the browser that is acting as your agent and converts your commands into action.
So, when the browser provides you access to a website, it performs its duty as an agent when it retrieves the content for you. Alongside user agent identification, it also sends information such as the device and network it’s on to the browser.
User Agents Internet browsers are straight up the perfect example of a user agent, but there are also other tools that act as one. Ironically, not all user agents are controllable in real-time by us. For instance, search engine crawlers are also user agents but are in fact automated – the robots have the ability to trawl through the web without having a human control them. The perfect example of a crawler is Google images, Slurp, Yahoo and many more.
What Is My User Agent String? Once the webserver and user agent are connected and the identification process has finished, then content negotiation begins. This lets the website serve numerous versions of it depending on the user’s agent string. Once the user agent has passed its ID card to the server, it then provides a combination of files, media, and script which are suitable for the particular user. To answer the question ‘what is my user agent string?’ and in more detail, you could take a look at the example through our tool. The results that you will witness will be unique and a different one will be generated on other computers and devices. Although a little complex, figuring out the user agent string is very useful not just to us, but the providers as well. It automatically sends the correct translation of a certain document based on the language preferences of the user – you may have noticed this when accessing websites with a different language that is automatically translated. It also helps you gather information about your website visitors and provides insights for improving your content.