These days, the internet is everywhere and affects almost everything. Indeed, the world wide web is one of the most powerful resources in the modern world. So, it pays to master it! Take a look at our top ten tips for mastering the internet tool.
1. Google It
Well, use an unbranded search engine of your choice. If you have any favorite websites that you use frequently – Facebook.com, Twitter.com – it’s all too easy to just type those addresses into your bar and power on ahead to the page. However, with page addresses changing all the time and fraudsters capitalizing on people attempting to remember the old addresses, it’s a good idea to search for addresses you aren’t sure about instead. It’s essential to navigate to the correct bank website or online store’s website, for example. Using a search engine will also show you similar relevant sites. A win-win!
Should you Bing it? Popular search engines have plenty of tools to help you find the right site. But these laser-focused, ultra-personalised search results come at a cost – to your privacy. The risk is that search engines store and use information about you, like your age and location, to show you the most relevant information, like stores near you. This can be the quickest way to find the right result. But, if you value privacy or safety, search engines like DuckDuckGo or Dibdabdoo are sometimes a better choice.
2. Put That on Your Tab
We all use tabs. Some think tabs are slippery – you open one, then another until there are about 40 tabs and several browser windows on screen! For others, tabs are pointless features – it’s impossible to simultaneously look at two pieces of online content! What if we told you there was a knack for using the tab feature?
Sure, there’s the traditional way to use tabs. You’re doing research, shopping, or just surfing the ‘net, and you come across a link or two you want to check out, but not right this minute. Maybe there are a few items of clothing of different styles you want to see side by side, several car parts from various manufacturers, or news articles you want to read after this one.
You drag the link to the tab bar or press ctrl & left-click the mouse. But did you know that you can open a new tab by pressing control T?
3. Plug Into Browser Plug-ins
Not too long ago, people had to put up with those innumerable, unwanted, self-installing Internet Explorer plugins that rendered the browser either extremely slow or completely unusable most of the time. However, today’s plugins and extensions are a far cry from this seamless old experience.
For example, you may already use browser plug-ins to jazz up your windows or show a new wallpaper in every new tab. But there are all sorts of browser extensions out there these days. You can install a pop-up dictionary to help you quickly learn a new language, a deal comparing extension to help you get the best price when you shop online, a password manager to automatically generate ultra-secure passwords any time you make a new account, a VPN to keep you secure online – the list goes on! If you can think of a much-needed feature, it either already exists or it’s in the works. As always, just get your software from a source you trust.
Another way to get a smooth, fast internet experience is to keep these browser plug-ins up to date. If you forget to, they may silently stop working altogether.
4. Take a Shortcut
Have you ever seen those power users typing away rapidly in internet cafés or libraries? How are they so fast? What’s their secret? How come they aren’t stuck trawling endless menus with their mouse pointer? Well, though these people could be experienced users, their power is likely in their knowledge of browser shortcuts!
Here are a few you might like:
Zoom out – CTRL –
Zoom in – CTRL +
Close tab or window – CTRL W
Open a new tab – CTRL T
Print your selection – CTRL P (Perfect for recipes or how-to guides)
Bookmark/favourite the current page – CTRL D
Search within the page – CTRL F
Reload the page – F5 or CTRL R
Go to your home page – Alt Home
Switch between full-screen mode – F11 (This one is great for focusing on a game or working on online documents!)
5. Keep Your Antivirus Up to Date
It’s easy to forget about it until it’s too late! Just one visit to a dubious website and your computer is overrun with viruses! You can usually trust your antivirus to auto-update in the background, along with your other applications and software. But it doesn’t hurt to check. Check that you have all the latest patches and updates in your system settings, and click that update button if you need to.
You don’t need to go big and expensive when choosing an antivirus. A basic, trusted antivirus program will give you all the protection you need. Unfortunately, some viruses target the more popular antiviruses and prevent them from working. So even the antivirus that comes with your operating system should suffice just to keep an eye on things in the background.
6. Jump Around with Tab
Still aspiring to be a speedy internet power user? If so, another tool in your arsenal is the “Tab” button. This button allows you to jump from one field to the next on a webpage, which is especially useful when filling out a form. If you encounter a drop-down menu, you can use the up and down arrows in combination with the tab – a real-time-saver! Even on other websites, Tab helps you navigate from one element to the next. If you press Tab enough, you’ll end up back at the beginning of the web page. You can also use Tab with Shift to move in the opposite direction. Try out the Tab key next time you’re on a complicated website and see if it helps you navigate!
7. Add Pages to Your Favorites
As a feature that has been with us since the beginning of browsers, it’s easy to forget the function of bookmarking pages. However, it’s stuck around for a reason. With modern browser syncing settings, you’ll be glad you got into the habit of saving webpages you like when looking for that brownie recipe or one-of-a-kind article in years to come!
The method to save a page is drastically different on every browser. Some browsers even have several similar overlapping ways to save sites. Nonetheless, there are similarities on every browser. For example, on Internet Explorer, this feature is called Favourites, while on Firefox and Chrome, you’re looking for a small, subtle star symbol in or near the URL bar. As we discussed, a handy, quick way to save a page is to press CTRL D, no matter your browser.
8. Search directly from Your Browser
You already know how helpful search engines are in a modern internet browser. However, going to all that effort of typing what you want in your search engine can take a surprising amount of time. You may enjoy checking out the latest doodle, but you still have to wait for the page to load every time. So, why not search directly from your browser?
There are two main ways to search within your browser. One way to search is with a customizable home screen. Whenever you open a new window, you see the search engine’s search bar on the new tab page. This functionality may be in the form of a browser extension or as a setting you can enable in your browser.
Many browsers also offer the option to search directly from the address bar. You simply type in what you want to find right where you would type in a website, and the browser uses your preferred search provider to find what you want.
While reviewing your search settings, why not look at your chosen search engine provider? It’s probably just Google or Bing. But other software can change your search provider to something else to switch you over. If your search provider is indeed a website you like, feel free to leave the setting as is. However, if the setting has been changed to a provider you don’t recognise, you should switch your search provider back to more familiar territory.
9. Forget about http://www
Back in the early days of the internet, you may have painstakingly memorized the well-known lengthy prefix to all addresses – http://. This acronym stands for hypertext transfer protocol and is how the internet delivers a page to you. But did you know that using this prefix is no longer necessary? Instead, you should stop typing the http:// and www. – after all, every website has them.
On top of this, most websites have now switched to a secure https:// – hypertext transfer protocol. This method of delivering a page is more modern and safe and is the better way to access pages where you will be entering the information you want to keep secure, like a password or banking information. If you’re concerned about your security while shopping online or entering a form, try clicking on your URL bar. Look for a padlock or green symbol if https:// itself doesn’t appear in the address bar. If the site doesn’t use https:// or you’re ever still otherwise concerned, there are also link checker websites and scanning browser extensions.
And what about www.? Did you know that there is a quick way to type this? Yes, any time you want to visit a .com website, you need to type in the name – for example, google – then hit Ctrl and Enter. Your browser will then automatically fill in the .com for you! Cool or what?
10. Use Online Services
I’m sure you have plenty of useful software and apps offline. But did you know there are plenty of convenient online services? Of course, some are lite versions of offline programs, but there are plenty of online tools too!
First of all, one of my personal favourite online tools. Grammarly is an online grammar and punctuation checker. It’s available in many forms, including a browser extension, a Word add-in, and even a keyboard for mobile devices. Grammarly can check for misspellings, grammar errors, and punctuation problems, suggest synonyms, and even has the beta feature of trying to detect your tone! Of course, it’s not always right, but Grammarly is still a great tool.
WOT is one of many brilliant online safety tools. Available for Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Chrome, WOT uses the comments and ratings of its users to give you an idea of whether a website is safe to visit. This way, WOT can protect you from malware, scams, privacy invasions, fraud and other threats.
The G Suite
We all know that Google has much to offer beyond its premier search engine functionality. If you aren’t familiar with it, Google offers not only Google Docs – their online word processor – but also the fully-featured Gmail, the great Google Maps, the convenient Google Calendar, the notorious, mostly successful Google Translate, and the iconic video-sharing site, YouTube.
Do you know when you want to share a file online, but you don’t want to keep emailing new versions back and forth? Dropbox is a brilliant way to do this. Supported on PC, Mac, mobile devices, and even Linux, Dropbox is a great way to share files between devices. If you don’t have a USB stick, Dropbox is a good alternative, as long as that device has internet access. In addition, you can edit many files in the browser – perfect if the device lacks software, too. Dropbox provides a similar service to OneDrive and Google Drive.
Bonus Tip: Get Good Broadband!
If you’re having a hard time using the internet, it may not be just you. If things are lagging, crashing, or not loading at all, then maybe it’s time for a faster internet plan. If your internet speeds aren’t up to scratch, why not look into an NBN plan? NBN is Australia’s newest internet service. The National Broadband Network is your most reliable and fastest option for using the internet.