So You Think You Can Surf the Web?

Almost everyone is surfing the web nowadays. No matter if you are browsing to buy some new clothes or you are just in search for some great inspiration, you will need some tricks and tools of the trade to get the most out of the Internet! In this post I will share some of my best experiences of the web since I started browsing back in 1995!

How do you surf the web at the moment? Are you using a modern web browser — like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox? Are you using keyboard shortcuts to manage your browsing?

By reading this post I hope you will get some inspiration to become a better surfer… like the guy in the featured photo above, by Kanaka Menehune.

Proper Equipment

Just as the surfer requires his surfing board, you are required to have some equipment to surf the web. A shitty board will make you fall, while a great board will make you conquer every wave!

Luckily, most of the web browsers around can be downloaded for free. If you have not yet checked out any of the browsers below you should do so, and never look back!

  • Google Chrome

    Google Chrome can be described in four words: Speed, Simplicity, Security and Extensibility. It is one of the newest browsers around, yet it is very close to perfect in many ways. This is a must-have for anyone looking for a rapid browsing experience!

  • Mozilla Firefox

    The most popular web browser to date. It feels safe, rather quick but it takes some time to start-up and it will eat some more memory than Chrome. Just as Chrome, Firefox has a vast library of addons that can be used to extend the browser.

Know Your Trix

A good surfer knows how to challenge each wave differently. A good web surfer knows the fastest way to perform each task, like opening a new tab or focusing the address bar. Tiny things that makes a big difference!

Most Essential Browser Keyboard-Shortcuts

Instead of moving your mouse in order to click something, you can use keyboard shortcuts to execute certain commands. This is the most important thing to make your browsing experience faster and more enjoyable.

  • Alt + D or F6 or Ctrl + L to focus the address bar.
  • Ctrl + R or F5 to Refresh the current tab.
  • Ctrl + T to open a new tab.
  • Ctrl + W to close a tab.
  • Ctrl + TAB to toggle tabs.
  • Ctrl + N to open a new browser window.
  • Ctrl + F to search the page for text.
  • Ctrl + K to make a web search.
  • Ctrl + Plus/Minus or Ctrl + Scroll-wheel to zoom in and out.
  • Ctrl + 0 to reset zoom.
  • Esc to stop loading.

Master the Mouse Buttons

Other than using the keyboard as you should, it is important to know what you can do with the mouse buttons.

  • Middle-click or Ctrl + Click on a link to open it in a new tab.
  • Middle-click on a tab to close it.

Using the Mouse For More Than Clicking

Sure clicking is cool and it has been around for ages. But hey, it is 2011 should we not be able to do some more with the mouse than clicking? Yeah sure, with the help of some addons we can use gestures — which is WAY cool!

First step is to download the required plugins:

Then, after restarting your browser, you can use the right mouse-button to trigger the gestures command. You then drag a gesture and release the button to execute. Here are some common gestures that you might want to use:

  • Drag left to go back.
  • Drag right to go forward.
  • Drag up to open a new tab.
  • Drag down to stop loading.
  • Drag down, then right to close tab.
  • Drag up, then right to switch to the next tab.
  • Drag up, then left to switch to the previous tab.

Check the plugin settings for a full list of commands and customization

Never Use And Never Use WWW

By that I mean that you should never have to visit in order to search. Your browser has good support for instant search, trust me! Just enter your keywords in the address bar and hit return. If you do this in Chrome, you will be redirected to the Google search results page. If you do this in Firefox, you will be redirected to the first result (aka. I’m feeling lucky). If you want to show the results explicitly, use Ctrl + K to search.

Also, you should never have to enter “http://www” each time you visit a page. Just enter the short version of the URL, like “” and hit return.

Search Everything

Looking for a word on a page? Search it! Use one of the shortcuts provided earlier, enter your keywords and viola! Instead of scanning the document manually you will find whatever you are looking for in matter of seconds. Want to know if it is there? Search it as well… if you get no results, it is not there. As simple as that.

You can also search in textareas and other form elements. If you are blogging, like me, you maybe get lost in long posts like this… then search!

If you ever see a dropdown like this, where you are suppose to select country, select it and enter the first letters of your country to search.

In the image to the right I selected the dropdown-list and typed “swe” in order to find Sweden. Success!

Do Things Once

As a software developer I must admit that I sometimes are quite lazy in that I do not like to do things more than once, if I know there is a way not to. Same goes when customizing my browser. Even though I have two computers, I want my browser settings to be the same on both. I want to be able to access my bookmarks from anywhere and so on…

Portable Web Browsers

One way to have your settings with you at all times is to simply bring the browser wherever you go — on a portable device, such as a USB stick. Portable web browsers works just like a regular web browsers, but you will always run it from the portable device.

The pros with portable web browsers is that you can bring your settings and your customized browser with you at all times. The browser feels like your browser and you did things just once and that is great!

The cons with portable web browsers is that you will always have to carry the physical storage device with you. Sometimes you might forget, and it will perhaps drive you mad. If you are used to using a MP3-player, you are maybe able to install the application on that device!

Enable Browser Sync

Another great way to have the same browsing experience across multiple computers is by using browser sync. With browser sync you will be able to have all your settings, bookmarks, history, plugins etc. synced across multiple browsers. Google Chrome has come a long way implementing this feature natively, while you are required to install an addon if you are using Mozilla Firefox.

Browser sync works great if you are using Google Chrome. If you favor Mozilla Firefox, I think that the portable browser option mentioned earlier is a better way to go.

Contribute & Support the Community

No matter if you are a photographer or a poet, you should always let authors know that you appreciate their work by sharing articles and posting comments. It is all about Netiquette and good manners.

Disable AdBlock

I use AdBlock plugins to get rid of distracting advertisements all the time, no secret. But I also know when to disable it and when not to. For me, I disable the AdBlock whenever I feel a site I visit regularly does a good job. I want them to continue produce great content, so I support them by letting their ads flash in my face. It is a small price to pay for great content.

Some argue that websites do not make money if you do not click their ads — that is not entirely true. Most revenue and sales are dependent on impressions, not clicks. Many impressions makes it easier for publishers to sell their ad space, hence more money to the publisher.

Share & Subscribe

The Internet is numbers. Numbers friggin’ everywhere! Number of posts, number of comments, number of Tweets, number of Likes, number of subscribers, numbers of followers, number of visitors… the list goes on forever. Webmasters and publishers love numbers.

Help contributing to your community by sharing, subscribing, liking or whatever the website asks you to do. In return, you will get a happier atmosphere where more people can discuss the topics you like.

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PixelTango Original © 2011-01-18 | Usage

About the Author

Mickel is a web creative that is constantly looking for new challenges and ventures.

He is the founder of PixelTango, as well as a interactive web design agency. He also likes to DJ and produce music under the name Allic.

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