Browser detection with Client Hints

Are you still trying to do browser detection just using user agents? If you are, then you're not getting it 100% right.

Client Hints are the new way that Chromium based browsers identify themselves; and while user agent strings are still used at the moment, they're already losing their significance and one day soon, parsing only the user agent string won't be enough to accurately determine what software is accessing your site.

Chromium based browsers like Chrome, Edge, Brave, and Opera already send Client Hints, other browsers like Firefox and Safari will probably start sending them soon too. Get ready now and stay ahead of the curve.

Get more comprehensive and accurate browser detection

By analysing more than just the user agent string, we can now provide even more accurate browser detection, as well as do an even better job identifying fake requests coming from bots and scripts, or people who have tried to hide their browser with a user agent changing extension.

This is very important for preventing fraudulent traffic on your website. The API will determine what software is making the request, defeating many attempts to mask the real software sending the request (such as bots & scripts, and visitors who change their user agent).

The only way to detect Windows 11 is with Client Hints

As a part of Chromium's intent to "freeze and deprecate" user agent strings, they are not announcing "Windows 11" in the user agent strings for any Chromium based browsers.

This means that if a visitor to your site uses Windows 11 and all you're doing is looking at their user agent, you will incorrectly detect them as being on Windows 10, causing problems with your analytics, customer support, content customisation, and whatever else you're using browser detection for.

Just using User Agents for detection is a problem already, and it's only going to get worse.

The only way to do browser detection correctly now, is to look at their Client Hints as well as their user agent to see what platform they're really on.

Client Hints: a new mess

Client Hints were intended to be a "fresh start" for browser identification and to get rid of fingerprinting and consistency problems, and while it's introduction has definitely brought some advantages, already - we've discovered that just like user agents, Client Hints have quirks, bugs, and platform specific differences that cause confusion and issues

In the lead up to the launch of browsers that support Client Hints, we've been keeping a close eye on the development of the standard, as well as how different browsers and implementations are actually sending them. And our new detection module can smooth these issues out for you, unify the various differences between browsers and platforms, and make it easy to work out what browsers and bots are accessing your site with this new technology.

Detecting faked user agents

One of the advantages of also looking at Client Hints is that you can identify users who have faked their user agent. Test it for your self; load up and browser that sends Client Hints (Chrome, Edge, Yandex Browser etc) change your user agent (or use a User Agent changing extension) and load the home page of whatismybrowser.com. We'll still identify your Browser and Operating System, as well as showing that your user agent is pretending to be whatever you set it to.

With our new detection API end point, you can do the same.

Client Hints based browser detection is available now in the new beta

We've built and are testing the new version of the API, which now looks at Client Hints headers as well as the traditional user agent string. We're close to launching it officially, and are in the final stages of documenting and testing it.

If you would like to be involved in the beta test, get in touch and let us know; we'd love to have you on board and get your feedback.