What Does Your User Agent Say About You?


A user agent is a computer program representing a person, for example, a browser in a Web context.

Besides a browser, a user agent could be a bot scraping webpages, a download manager, or another app accessing the Web. Along with each request they make to the server, browsers include a self-identifying User-Agent HTTP header called a user agent (UA) string. This string often identifies the browser, its version number, and its host operating system.

Spam bots, download managers, and some browsers often send a fake UA string to announce themselves as a different client. This is known as user agent spoofing.

The user agent string can be accessed with JavaScript on the client side using the navigator.userAgent property.

A typical user agent string looks like this: "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:35.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/35.0".


User Agent String

Browser Data

Chrome User Agent Microsoft Edge

Ellen Grant
• Monday, 14 December, 2020
• 11 min read

Platform identifiers change based on the operating system being used, and version numbers also increment as time passes. Mapping UA string tokens to a more human-readable browser name for use in code is a common pattern on the web today.

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When Microsoft is notified about these types of issues, website owners are contacted and informed about the updated UA. In these cases, Microsoft uses a list of UA overrides in our Beta and Stable channels to maximize compatibility for users who access these sites.

This feature is useful for SEO professionals, for example, to identify issues with cloaking which is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines or auditing websites which has different look depending on the device. User agent is an HTTP request header string identifying browser, application, operating system which connects to the server.

Get our daily newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry! The new Microsoft Edge running on Chromium isn’t yet here officially, but a leaked build allows us to try out the browser in anticipation of its highly-anticipated release.

Using the browser on a daily basis isn’t obviously recommended as experimental builds like this can’t by any means become your main driver. For many users, switching to a different user agent and thus emulating another browser is a method to bypass certain website restrictions that concern a specific app.

The best example is Skype for Web, which doesn’t work in Firefox anymore, so Mozilla users need to switch to another user agent to connect to the service. In other words, switching to the Chromium-powered browser shouldn’t cause compatibility issues and still let your users connect to internal apps.

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For those unfamiliar with this screen, it’s specifically supposed to provide developers with advanced tools that let them analyze code and website performance. Changing the user agent is actually considered a developer option that helps webmasters check their pages against potential compatibility issues with different browsers.

By default, Microsoft Edge is configured to Select automatically the user agent, so you need to uncheck this option to be able to choose a custom setting. Microsoft ’s new Edge and Google Chrome are very similar, as both are built on the Chromium platform with Blink as the default web rendering engine.

Microsoft dumped its own web browsing platform for Chromium as Edge wasn’t a part of many standard testing routines by website owners. Google has once again abused user agents and the company is displaying a security warning when Chrome web store is accessed from Edge.

Google’s warning doesn’t actually affect Edge ’s ability to use and run Chrome extensions securely. Over the past few years, user agents battle has become even more complicated and web browser companies are changing their user agent to avoid compatibility problems.

The new Microsoft Edge web browser is based on Chromium, the same core that Google Chrome uses. It may identify as Chromium because of that and that should give it the same level of compatibility with websites and applications as Google Chrome.

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One of the main motivations for doing so is Edge's improved support for media streaming sites like Netflix. Bleeping Computer reports that the new Chromium-based Edge browser downloads a JSON file regularly from config.

In the case of streaming media sites, it is identifying itself as the classic Edge browser: It does so for CBS, Shudder, TV now, Bitcoin and Sling currently, and exposes only Google's Wide vine to these sites.

Microsoft has not published any article or information on Edge's user agent changing capabilities. Microsoft picks the classic Edge browser to unlock high quality streams on certain media streaming sites, Google Chrome when the user agent offers advantages, and the default user agent of the browser on the majority of sites out there.

Microsoft's upcoming Chromium-based web browser Microsoft Edge may change the user agent automatically based on the visited site. When you navigate to a webpage, the response from the server will depend on a number of factors.

The OS being used will be checked (Windows, Linux, Mac or Mobile) along with the browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari and alike) and possibly the system architecture (x86, x64, etc.) It allows sites to determine specific details, which in turn alters how the page is served to the user.

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For instance, menus will be easier to touch and read, and text will be more stripped down and readable. Normally, users are oblivious to the exchange of browser user agent data; there are, however, ways in which users and developers can change the user agent to test for different platforms or simply to mask their browser ID.

Browsers have a fingerprint that can help uniquely identify users with the user agent being one of these factors. When using Edge, open a page and press the F12 key to access the developer settings.

Select the “Emulation” tab and look for the Sergeant string list.” Here you can choose to make Edge mimic the browser of your choice. Just as with Edge, Chrome has an user agent change within the developer settings, although it is a lot more complicated to access.

From there click “Tools” and then “Developer Options.” You can also easily access this via the key combination of Ctrl + Shift + I. Open a browser window and type about:config within the address bar.

A warning will appear, but it is quite safe to proceed, providing you don’t change settings or flags without due care and attention. If you don’t fancy the idea of messing with a browser’s settings, then there are some add-ons and extensions that will do the job for you.

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It is currently, at the time of writing this article, a featured extension from Firefox, so that may put to rest some concerns that users may have. Matthew Muller Matt has worked in the tech industry for many years and is now a freelance writer.

Microsoft Edge Chromium based being detected as Chrome · Issue #143 · 3rd-Eden/user agent · GitHub Thank you for posting your query on Microsoft Community.

User's post on July 6, 2015, Hi but it is detected as chrome. It is set as default but when I go to webpage for detecting web browser it thinks it chrome.

In reply to patrickmulhall's post on July 9, 2015, Internet Explorer user agent show Firefox 11 please change Internet Explorer because should it show the i.e. user agent because that is not part of the new browser. Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site. In reply to Girish Pattabiraman's post on February 9, 2016, I would also like to know if the MS EdgeUserAgent change can be made to persist so that I don't have to go into developer and set the Sergeant every time.

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Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) Apple WebKit/537.36 (HTML, like Gecko) Chrome /46.0.2486.0 Safari/537.36 Edge /14.14295 “Note that we recommend avoiding user agent string detection if at all possible and sending Microsoft Edge the same content that you send other modern browsers.

PC: i7-6850k, AS Rock X99M Extreme 4, 16 GB DDR4, GTX 1060 6 GB CNB: Lenovo Yoga 710-14IKB Type 80V4Was this reply helpful? Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

It was working, then I installed a bunch of things, and not it is now. Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

For others with weird agent strings, look at this registry entry. Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

Users running early versions of the Chromium-powered Edge browser report that YouTube is forcing them to view the site with an old layout. CMA encountered the same issue when running an Edge test build.

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Ironically, the same YouTube screen will also state “We support the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Edge.” It isn't the first time the new Chromium-powered Edge software has encountered compatibility glitches with Google.

Last month, users running the browser encountered warnings on Google Docs, which said the latest Edge test builds were “no longer supported.” The problems appear to be rooted in how Google properties, and sites at large, try to identify your computer settings to provide the best web experience.

The browser itself will relay the information over what's called an user agent string,” which can include details like whether the user's computer is a Windows PC or a Mac, and if the browser is Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari. A Microsoft program manager explained earlier this month that Google recently updated its user agent “sniffer code” to recognize the Chromium-based Edge browser.

Go away' message,” Microsoft program manager Eric Lawrence said in a tweet. Last year, the company faced accusations from a Mozilla manager who said Google had slowed down YouTube on rival browsers in order to keep users on Chrome.

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