How to View Web History

Instructor: Kent Beckert

Kent is an adjunct faculty member for the College of Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and has a Master's degree in Technical Management.

In this lesson, we'll discuss how to view the Web history records stored in your browser's memory, including the special circumstances under which we may consider viewing the Web history of others. We'll also review the steps used to view the Web history from popular browsers like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

In this lesson, we'll discuss how to view the Web history records stored in your browser's memory, including the special circumstances under which we may consider viewing the Web history of others. We'll also review the steps used to view the Web history from popular browsers like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

What is Web History?

By default, anytime you access the Internet to perform research, play games or just surf, your browser automatically records your activities and creates a Web history. A Web history identifies the Web pages you have recently visited and their associated data. Information collected as part of the Web history may include, but is not limited to the page title, date and time visited, length of visit and Internet Protocol (IP) address. It can also include personal information, such as names and addresses, and the browser type and version you are using.

Why View My Web History?

The following situation may be familiar to many of us: Over the past several days, you have conducted a considerable amount of research involving over 20 websites. You think you are finished, so you close all of your Web pages. But wait, did you verify every reference? Don't panic; your Web history is available and will provide you with a list of websites you've visited, so you can double-check each reference.

Viewing your own Web history is an easy way to revisit a website without conducting a new search. Saving, instead of clearing, your Web history can also preserve the cache, or copies of the website files, eliminating the need for the browser to download them again the next time you visit that page.

Why View Someone Else's Web History?

One reason you may want to view someone else's Web history is out of concern for the safety and security of a loved one, such as a child, while he or she is online. By reviewing his or her Web history, you can determine what Web pages are being visited, if the Internet is being used properly and whether or not established safety precautions are being followed.

Viewing Your Web History

This section contains step-by-step instructions for viewing your Web history using the current versions of Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

Google Chrome

1. Open the Google Chrome browser and then the Google Chrome menu by clicking on the three bold bars located in the browser's upper-right corner.

2. Select the History option or press Ctrl+H to open the browsing history.

A sample Google Chrome browsing history is provided below.

Web browsing history in Google Chrome
Chrome - Web history records

3. Review the Web history using the search bar at the top of the history page.

4. Scroll to the bottom of the list and click on the Older > link to load the next page of entries.

5. Close the history page when finished.

Internet Explorer

1. Click on the View Favorites, Feeds and History button or star icon in the upper-right corner.

2. Click on the History tab to open the browsing history. A sample Internet Explorer browsing history is provided below.

Web browsing history in Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer - Web history display.

3. Choose the method of display by selecting a filter from the drop down menu:

  • View By Date shows your last three weeks of history in chronological order.
  • View By Site shows a list of sites you visited in the last three weeks (no dates).
  • View By Most Visited shows your most visited sites in the last three weeks.
  • View By Order Visited Today shows only sites you visited today.

Mozilla Firefox

1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and then the Mozilla menu by clicking on the three bold bars located in the browser's upper-right corner.

2. Click on the Show Your History button in the center of the menu to display the Web browsing history.

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