Use the user agent lookup tool above to see what your user agent presents as to the websites you visit within your browsing session.
What is a user agent?
A user agent, or UA, is a string of information that identifies a user’s browser and operating system. When you visit a website, your Internet browser provides information to the website about your browser, operating system, device, screen resolution, and more. When the browser communicates with websites in this way, on behalf of the individual, the browser acts as a UA.
The purpose of UAs is to allow servers and network peers, like websites, to identify information about the user. To clarify, this includes applications, operating systems, browsers, and browser versions, along with other technical details. This allows websites to optimize browsing experiences for people across all browsers and operating systems.
Websites that can detect UA information are capable of redirecting mobile customers to the mobile version of the website. This enhances the customers’ experience and makes them more likely to return. Not all sites have UA detection in place, however; in some cases, the lack of UA detection is what makes a website look bad on mobile.
What is an example of a UA?
In a user agent string, the most important information is provided first. A default UA string looks like this:
Mozilla/[version] ([system and browser information]) [platform] ([platform details]) [extensions]
That displays the browser version, the platform you’re accessing the website on, and more data. It acts as a type of digital log. It notes the information where your search began and delivering it to the site.
With that default string in mind, a person on a Windows 10 computer using Google Chrome has an agent that looks similar to this:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/94.0.4606.81 Safari/537.36
Can I change my user agent?
Yes, it’s possible to change your UA. Web developers often use user agent switchers or user agent managers. It allows them to see how their websites look and perform with different browsers or on different devices. This is often referred to as user agent spoofing.
It’s not a dangerous activity, and it’s not against the law by any means; users are welcome to do it. Using UA switchers and managers quickly and easily replaces your browser UA string with a custom UA string. However, UA spoofing can also be done by bad actors looking to disguise their web traffic to avoid discovery. If you choose to alter your UA, make sure you are doing so for legitimate reasons.
How to change your user agent
Because each browser is unique, each has a unique code that appears in the browser as the default user agent string. Knowing how to change the UA in Chrome is different than knowing how to change the UA in Firefox.
For Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Google Chrome user agent changes, you can use the browser-supported built-in tools. However, to change the Firefox user agent, you’ll have to use an add-on called User-Agent Switcher.
With any of these methods, you will be able to change your UA to mask yourself as using a different browser, browser version, operating system, or screen resolution. Again, this is very useful when testing how websites, URLs, or domains will perform in various situations.
If you’re not a web developer and simply want more privacy when browsing the internet, there is another option. You can use a random user-agent, which replaces your UA string with a different, random UA string after a specified period of time. However, if privacy is your goal, consider using a proxy or VPN. Both will help achieve the same result as a random UA.