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

User Agent Html

James Smith
• Friday, 23 October, 2020
• 15 min read

Rv: gecko version indicates the release version of Gecko (such as 17.0 “). The Chrome (or Chromium/Blink-based engines) user agent string is similar to Firefox’s.



For compatibility, it adds strings like HTML, like Gecko and Safari. The Opera browser is also based on the Blink engine, which is why it almost looks the same, but adds “Or/”.

In this example, the user agent string is mobile Safari’s version. There are ways to develop your website to progressively enhance itself based on the availability of features rather than by targeting specific browsers.

Using the user agent to detect the browser looks simple, but doing it well is, in fact, a very hard problem. Also, experts, or people with another point of view, can give you ideas for working around the bug.

Your site needs to use a specific Web feature that some browsers don't yet support, and you want to send those users to an older Website with fewer features but that you know will work. This is the worst reason to use user agent detection because odds are eventually all the other browsers will catch up.

In those rare cases where behavior differs between browsers, instead of checking the user agent string, you should instead implement a test to detect how the browser implements the API and determine how to use it from that. Support could have been added to other browsers at any time, but this code would have continued choosing the inferior path.

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As the above code demonstrates, there is always a way to test browser support without user agent sniffing. For example, in the above code snippets, using look behind in short-regexp notation (e.g. /reg/IGM) will cause a parser error in unsupported browsers.

Progressive enhancement This design technique involves developing your Website in 'layers', using a bottom-up approach, starting with a simpler layer and improving the capabilities of the site in successive layers, each using more features. Graceful degradation This is a top-down approach in which you build the best possible site using all the features you want, then tweak it to make it work on older browsers.

Rather, add in touch conveniences such as bigger, more easily clickable buttons (you can do this using CSS by increasing the font size). Here is an example of code that increases the padding of #exampleButton to 1em on mobile devices.

This effect can be easily achieved using CSS flex boxes, sometimes with floats as a partial fallback. Also try to move less relevant/important information down to the bottom and group the page's content together meaningfully. Although it is off-topic, perhaps the following detailed example might give you insights and ideas that persuade you to forgo user agent sniffing.

The boxes can be separated into multiple columns via two equally fair method. The second method uses a Column layout and resents all the dogs to the left and all the cats to the right.

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Only in this particular scenario, it is appropriate to provide no fallback for the flex boxes/multi columns, resulting in a single column of very wide boxes on old browsers. If more people visit the webpage to see the cats, then it might be a good idea to put all the cats higher in the source code than the dogs so that more people can find what they are looking for faster on smaller screens where the content collapses down to one column. Next, always make your code dynamic.

The user can flip their mobile device on its side, changing the width and height of the page. Or, there might be some weird flip-phone-like device thing in the future where flipping it out extends the screen.

The simplest way to do this is to separate all the code that moves content around based on screen size to a single function that is called when the page is loaded and at each resize event thereafter. Also note that there is a huge difference between the media queries (max-width: 25em), not all and (min-width: 25em), and (max-width: 24.99em) : (max-width: 25em) excludes (max-width: 25em), whereas not all and (min-width: 25em) includes (max-width: 25em).

One such case is using user agent sniffing as a fallback when detecting if the device has a touch screen. Internet Explorer (on Windows) and WebKit (on iOS) are two perfect examples.

However, Internet Explorer was such a special little wasp exception prior to version 9 that it was very easy to detect the browser based upon the browser-specific features available. WebKit is a bit worse because Apple forces all the browsers on IOS to use WebKit internally, thus the user has no way to get a better more updated browser on older devices.

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For example, WebKit 6 has a bug whereby when the device orientation changes, the browser might not fire MediaQueryList listeners when it should. Most browsers set the name and version in the format BrowserName/VersionNumber, with the notable exception of Internet Explorer.

So to detect Safari you have to check for the Safari string and the absence of the Chrome string, Chromium often reports itself as Chrome too or Sea monkey sometimes reports itself as Firefox. Also, pay attention not to use a simple regular expression on the BrowserName, user agents also contain strings outside the Keyword/Value syntax.

Must containment not containFirefoxFirefox/xyzSeamonkey/xyzSeamonkeySeamonkey/xyzChromeChrome/chromium/xyzChromiumChromium/xyzSafariSafari/chrome/XYZ or Chromium/safari gives two version numbers: one technical in the Safari/XYZ token, and one user -friendly in a Version/XYZ tokenizer Opera 15+ (Blink-based engine) The browser version is often, but not always, put in the value part of the BrowserName/VersionNumber token in the Sergeant String.

There are five major rendering engines: Trident, Gecko, Presto, Blink, and WebKit. It is therefore important to pay attention not to trigger false-positives when detecting the rendering engine.

Must containGeckoGecko/xyzWebKitAppleWebKit/pay attention, WebKit browsers add a 'like Gecko' string that may trigger false positive for Gecko if the detection is not careful. PrestoOpera/XYZ Note: Presto is no longer used in Opera browser builds >= version 15 (see 'Blink')Trident Trident/Internet Explorer put this token in the comment part of the Sergeant StringEdgeHTMLEdge/the non-Chromium Edge puts its engine version after the Edge/ token, not the application version. Note: Edge HTML is no longer used in Edge browser builds >= version 79 (see 'Blink'). BlinkChrome/XYZ Most rendering engines put the version number in the RenderingEngine/VersionNumber token, with the notable exception of Gecko.

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The Operating System is given in most Sergeant strings (although not web-focused platforms like Firefox OS), but the format varies a lot. They indicate the OS, but also often its version and information on the relying on hardware (32 or 64 bits, or Intel/PPC for Mac).

Like in all cases, these strings may change in the future, one should use them only in conjunction with the detection of already released browsers. A technological survey must be in place to adapt the script when new browser versions are coming out.

The most common reason to perform user agent sniffing is to determine which type of device the browser runs on. Never assume that a browser or a rendering engine only runs on one type of device.

Never use the OS token to define if a browser is on mobile, tablet or desktop. Internet Explorer Immobile/XYZ token in the comment. Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSI 9.0; Windows Phone OS 7.5; Trident/5.0; Immobile/9.0)Edge on Windows 10 Mobile/XYZ & Edge/ tokens outside the comment. Mozilla/5.0 (Windows Phone 10.0; Android 6.0.1; Xbox; Xbox One) Apple WebKit/537.36 (HTML, like Gecko) Chrome/58.0.3029.110 Mobile Safari/537.36 Edge/16.16299In summary, we recommend looking for the string “Mob” anywhere in the Sergeant to detect a mobile device.

The user agent application is Mozilla version 5.0. The operating system is NT version 10.0 (and is running on a Windows(64-bit) Machine).

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Google Chrome Internet Explorer Firefox Safari Opera See your article appearing on the GeeksforGeeks main page and help other Geeks.

“Crawler” is a generic term for any program (such as a robot or spider) that is used to automatically discover and scan websites by following links from one webpage to another. This table lists information about the common Google crawlers you may see in your referrer logs, and how they should be specified in robots.txt, the robots meta tags, and the X-Robots-Tag HTTP directives.

The following table shows the crawlers used by various products and services at Google: If you need to verify that the visitor is Google bot, you should use reverse DNS lookup.

Html) AdSense Mediapartners-Google (Checks Android web page ad quality) Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 5.0; SM-G920A) Apple WebKit (HTML, like Gecko) Chrome Mobile Safari (compatible; AdsBot-Google-Mobile; +

Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) Apple WebKit/537.36 (HTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ W.×.Y.Z ‡ Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; Google bot/2.1; + Html)(Checks Android app page ad quality.

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Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 4.2.1; en-us; Nexus 5 Build/JOP40D) Apple WebKit/535.19 (HTML, like Gecko; googleweblight) Chrome/38.0.1025.166 Mobile Safari/535.19 ‡ Chrome/ W.×.Y.Z in user agents Where several user -agents are recognized in the robots.txt file, Google will follow the most specific.

Peter Mortensen 27.2k2121 gold badges9393 silver badges123123 bronze badges Regarding the concept user agent style sheet”, consult section Cascade in the CSS 2.1 spec.

They are just the rock bottom: in the absence of any style sheets provided by the page or by the user, the browser still has to render the content somehow, and the user agent style sheet just describes this. Marking the document as HTML5 by the proper doc type on the first line, solved my issue.

In order to present the page in a way that satisfies ” general presentation expectations.” For example, a default style sheet would provide base styles for things like font size, borders, and spacing between elements. It is common to employ a reset style sheet to deal with inconsistencies amongst browsers.

An useragent's default style sheet should present the elements of the document language in ways that satisfy general presentation expectations for the document language. For more information about user agents in general, see user agent.

user agent

Peter Mortensen 27.2k2121 gold badges9393 silver badges123123 bronze badges Define the values that you don't want to be used from Chrome's user agent style in your own CSS content.

Peter Mortensen 27.2k2121 gold badges9393 silver badges123123 bronze badges So the right way to beat this: If you type the command line directly in the .

Peter Mortensen 27.2k2121 gold badges9393 silver badges123123 bronze badges Because you have not specified values for the table element’s box, the default styles have been applied.

Peter Mortensen 27.2k2121 gold badges9393 silver badges123123 bronze badges I just wanted to expand on the response from beam based on what I read here from Ire Aderinokun.

Peter Mortensen 27.2k2121 gold badges9393 silver badges123123 bronze badges An user agent (UA) string is able to be used to detect what version of a specific browser is being used on a certain operating system.

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Mapping UA string tokens to a more human-readable browser name for use in code is a common pattern on the web today. When mapping the new Edge token to a browser name, Microsoft recommends using a different name than the one developer used for the legacy version of Microsoft Edge to avoid accidentally applying any legacy workarounds that are not applicable to Chromium-based browsers.

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.

During the first browser war, many web servers were configured to send web pages that required advanced features, including frames, to clients that were identified as some version of Mozilla only. Other browsers were considered to be older products such as Mosaic, Cello, or Samba, and would be sent a bare-bones HTML document.

Automated agents are expected to follow rules in a special file called robots.txt “. The popularity of various Web browser products has varied throughout the Web's history, and this has influenced the design of websites in such a way that websites are sometimes designed to work well only with particular browsers, rather than according to uniform standards by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) or the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Websites often include code to detect browser version to adjust the page design sent according to the user agent string received. Thus, various browsers have a feature to cloak or spoof their identification to force certain server-side content.

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For example, the Android browser identifies itself as Safari (among other things) in order to aid compatibility. User agent sniffing is the practice of websites showing different or adjusted content when viewed with certain user agents.

An example of this is Microsoft Exchange Server 2003's Outlook Web Access feature. When viewed with Internet Explorer 6 or newer, more functionality is displayed compared to the same page in any other browsers.

Web browsers created in the United States, such as Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer, previously used the letters U, I, and N to specify the encryption strength in the user agent string. Until 1996, when the United States government disallowed encryption with keys longer than 40 bits to be exported, vendors shipped various browser versions with different encryption strengths.

^ a b RFC 3261, SIP: Session Initiation Protocol, IETF, The Internet Society (2002) ^ RFC 7231, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Semantics and Content, IETF, The Internet Society (June 2014) ^ Net news Article Format. Browser Versions Carry 10.5 Bits of Identifying Information on Average “, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 27 January 2010.

I've been rejected until I come back with Netscape” ^ “Android Browser Reports Itself as Apple Safari”. ^ User Agent String explained: Android WebKit Browser”.

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Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2; ends; HTC_DesireHD_A9191 Build/FRF91) Apple WebKit/533.1 (HTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1 ^ Emberton, Stephen. ^ “Chrome Phasing out Support for User Agent ".

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