The term explorer refers to a website, or app, that allows anyone to access transaction data recorded on the Bitcoin public blockchain.
In fact, although the Bitcoin blockchain is public, it is a very large file (about 350 GigaBytes) and cannot be consulted directly.
In order to make it easier to consult it, special websites have been created that allow a real navigation inside it, for example to consult the blocks or the single transactions.
Blockchain.com and other Bitcoin Explorers
One of the best known and most widely used explorer is the former Blockchain.info website, now Blockchain.com.
It must be said, however, that it has been redesigned for some time now, particularly with regard to navigation within the data and off-chain graphics.
It is still widely used, although the site has now become primarily an exchange, so much so that it is probably the most widely used Bitcoin explorer in the world.
Another popular explorer is Blockchair.com, which has an additional 16 blockchain browsers. In addition to Bitcoin it supports Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV, but also XRP, Cardano, Litecoin, EOS, Tezos, Stellar, Monero, Dash, Zcash, Dogecoin, Mixin and Groestlcoin.
This is by far one of the most complete and used explorer, although it is still much less visited than the previous one.
However, it has to be said that Blockchain.com has been Bitcoin Storm the most used for many years now, existing as Blockchain.info since 2011.
Another popular explorer is BlockCypher, which has the particularity of allowing you to surf the Bitcoin testnet.
It also supports the blockchain of Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Dash and the BlockCypher testnet.
However, it does not show off-chain data, as the two previous ones do, which remain absolutely among the most used for this reason.
In fact, the second most widely used Bitcoin blockchain explorer in the world would seem to be BTC.com, but this site is not just an explorer. It is also the site of the mining pool of the same name, one of the most important in the world.
It may be used in particular by the pool members, also because it is less complete than others.
It also allows you to navigate within the Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash blockschain, but the off-chain data it offers are mainly related to mining.
Another well known explorer is Blockstream.info, although perhaps the most essential and spartan of all.
It’s well known because it is made by the famous company of the same name that is working on the Liquid Network. In fact, its peculiarity is that it allows navigation also inside the Liquid blockchain, in addition to the Bitcoin testnet, but its functionalities are really reduced to the bone, without off-chain data.
Since, as far as on-chain data is concerned, basically all the explorers allow you to view the same data, the difference is the ease of use and the offer of off-chain data, which is perhaps why Blockchain.com is still the most widely used.