Increase Your Browsing Speed And Privacy With Ghostery

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Have you noticed that web pages nowadays take longer and longer to load?  Even if you have a decent ADSL or fibre broadband connection, there's still a noticeable delay while certain pages load.  And it's worse on particular sites.

If you look down to the bottom of the screen when you're waiting for a site to load, you'll often see messages pop up which provide the clue as to why your page is taking so long to load.  The server hosting the content you're interested in is working just fine, but the delays are caused because of all the other advertising platform systems that your browser is also being asked to connect to, so your movements can be tracked.

This extensive tracking slows down your browsing, increases your internet traffic usage, and decreases your privacy.  It means that one advertiser can find out about your browsing habit on another company's web site, if both companies subscribe to the same tracker provider.

I've been reading about a useful browser add-in recently called Ghostery, on various web sites including Gizmos, so today I decided to try it.  I'm very impressed so far.

Once installed, you can click the small ghostery icon at the top of your browser window to view details about the trackers that the currently displayed web page is calling on your behalf.  In the example below, you can see that the page I was viewing was connecting to no less that 16 separate tracking networks.  By moving the sliders, you can block connections to the trackers, thus speeding up your browsing and preventing companies from finding out about your browsing.

It should be noted that the makers of Ghostery are totally up-front about how they make their money.  Anonymous data from their 20 million users of Ghostery is sold to web site operators so that they can find out which trackers are worth using and which are commonly blocked by users.  Personally, I'm perfectly happy with this arrangement, though obviously you're welcome to avoid using Ghostery if you're not.

If you like the idea of this addon and you use Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera, head to www.ghostery.com to download it.

 

 

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Comments

Ghostery has now become a tracker! In their new "Privacy Policy", they will be using data collected to serve up ads.

Like a few other people have reported, Ghostery will sometimes cause desired features of some sites not to work. After using it for a year or so, I decided the hassle of dysfunctional web pages wasn't worth the benefits of Ghostery. So long as you are aware of this limitation or don't mind fiddling with Ghostery's settings to make some sites work, Ghostery is worth a try.

Using Ghostery, I blocked all trackers which, ironically, stopped this site from completing a search. (Google analytics) Other sites are sluggish. It seems that some webmasters and developers write code with trackers in mind.

Sorry to note it is incomparable with SeaMonkey.

If I am using Adblock+ and I add Adblock Edge will there be any conflict between the two or do I just need one of them, ditto with DisConnect and Ghostery?. Excuse my ignorance.

I've been around the block with all or most of these I think and always come back to Ghostery.

It can require a bit of user input to get it to play nicely with other add-ons such as NoScript or cookie managers, and to be truthful I can't say I've noticed any difference in browsing speed really.

It does break some websites, or portions of them ... for instance I can never make the TSA search option work unless I whitelist the whole site.

I like having it running though and concerns over their business practises are completely groundless imo. For one thing it's a simple tick to opt out but even if you don't they are completely open about what they do, if anyone has the inclination to actually go and read the information provided on the site.

Strange. I allow TSA in NoScript but I don't have to whitelist anything in Ghostery and searching works. I'm on Windows 8.1 but I don't think that should make any difference.

Oh yeah ... I just checked in detail and Ghostery was blocking the ajax search API.

I didn't look properly before because I didn't mind just whitelisting TSA globally if I wanted to do a search.

I personally prefer Privacy Badger by the electronic frontier foundation (the name in privacy on the web in my opinion..they don't use your data for anything). https://www.eff.org/privacybadger

From their F.A.Q.:

What is Privacy Badger?

Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. To the advertiser, it's like you suddenly disappeared.

How is Privacy Badger different to Disconnect, Adblock Plus, Ghostery, and other blocking extensions?

Privacy Badger was born out of our desire to be able to recommend a single extension that would automatically analyze and block any tracker or ad that violated the principle of user consent; which could function well without any settings, knowledge or configuration by the user; which is produced by an organization that is unambiguously working for its users rather than for advertisers; and which uses algorithmic methods to decide what is and isn't tracking.

Although we like Disconnect, Adblock Plus, Ghostery and similar products (in fact Privacy Badger is based on the ABP code!), none of them are exactly what we were looking for. In our testing, all of them required some custom configuration to block non-consensual trackers. Several of these extensions have business models that we weren't entirely comfortable with. And EFF hopes that by developing rigorous algorithmic and policy methods for detecting and preventing non-consensual tracking, we'll produce a codebase that could in fact be adopted by those other extensions, or by mainstream browsers, to give users maximal control over who does and doesn't get to know what they do online.

Great info although like most others I have been using Ghostery, ABP, Greasemonkey etc.
The best part of your site are all the comments, I have learned so very much from them too.Thanks to all who comment your knowledge is invaluable. One thing others may like to know is that the images in your emails send back info on your IP address. [Commercial reference removed] There is more to not being tracked that one realizes. How about a post by commenters as to what they have found to be of use so that we may all know. To Quote "The condition upon which God has granted Liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and punishment of his guilt" by John Philpot Curran in 1790. Forgive my pontification.

I used to use "Ghostery" for quite some time, but I got tired of it breaking certain webpages that I visit frequently and I wasn't exactly fond of how they made their money.

In any case, I'm using "DoNotTrackMe" now and so far I haven't had any of the issues I was facing with "Ghostery".

You might find this link of interest. It was posted by a member on another page. MC - Site Manager. http://www.areweprivateyet.com/

I second that link recommendation.

Most important is that various configuration information there helps you to set up each add-ons for maximum effective privacy, which is certainly not intuitive in all cases.

Further, after reading discussions in various forum posts, we all need to be diligent in re-configuring our add-ons after they UPDATE since our previous settings can be changed. OOOPS !!

Bah, ignore the above comment - the link now redirects to Ghostery !

Been using Ghostery and Adblocker for years from recommendations from sites like Gizmo. I do also whitelist worthy sites that have good information, or I just like. Both addons do their job well.

Since most are already using Adblock+, why not just add the "EasyPrivacy" subscription?
https://adblockplus.org/en/subscriptions

I used to use Ghostery, until Donottrackme came along, which according to reviews outranks Ghostery. Would it be safe to use both add-ons at the same time?

Out of curiosity I also tried Privdog but the extension doesn't install in Chrome which I am guessing is due to Google not allowing them unless installed through the Chrome store.

Noted considerable increase in browsing speed a good add on!

I've been using ghostery for a long time now and it's a great little add on.

As with many tools of this kind, some sites won't show content until some elements are turned off but this can be done easily.

"some sites won't show content until some elements are turned off"

I'm giving Adguard a try because the problem mentioned above. Not sure if AdBlocker is working better or solving the problem...but it sounds like it.
"Adguard can handle Anti-AdBlock scripts. You won't have to turn off the AdBlocker anymore to be able to visit the websites that are using such scripts. Just send a complaint to our tech support and we'll handle it."

Just to add to Bluesmanuk's post:

I found that if I just blocked everything (seemed like a good starting place) that I couldn't see any of the comments posted on FileHippo. That site uses Discus, so I unblocked Discus and the comments section works fine now.

Unfortunately, there are some websites where it can get challenging to figure out which blocked item is keeping me from using parts of a website (not FileHippo, but other sites) that are apparently blocked. It's easy enough to unblock items one by one until the site works as intended, but sometimes I end up unblocking a major tracker that I believe has nothing to do with the affected section of the website, or so many trackers that it just doesn't make any sense.

I checked with the Ghostery folks. It turns out that some website coders use techniques that are less than thorough. Without going into greater detail, this ends up making it look like we need to allow multiple trackers that really have nothing to do with the blocked part of the website.

Don't let this throw you off, though. Ghostery is a really good piece of work, and I've been using it for several years. I tried DoNotTrackMe for a while but was less than thrilled, and it was considerably slower than using nothing. It's been updated and may be a wonderful tool by now, but I'm satisfied with Ghostery.

Good luck with whatever path you choose.

Privdog looks a good option. The trouble is it is available only though cnet using their install wrapper, and I doubt many people here want the rubbish what comes with that cnet wrapper.

When downloading from c|net, you can ALWAYS opt out of downloading anything that you don't want. Whether you download from the software's article location on download.com or using the C|net Download App, if there is anything included in the download other than the program you want, they will always give you the option to decline including the add-on CRAP with the main download. This is not the case with many other aggregate download sites, where you may have to uninstall the "extras" after installing the item you originally wanted.

Can you confirm that, I am sure I did that and yet I discovered on my machine after I installed some software from cnet a so-called shopping program that embedded itself into my computer! I do not know what it did, but it took ages to get rid of it. Maybe it was the software vendor not cnet but since then I refuse to download anything from cnet.

Not taking away from Ghostery, but Privdog is another good tool and works with IE plus the other browsers.

Thank you Rob. I got the following from Ghostery's website: "We call this data donation feature “Ghostrank”. Ghostrank is off by default. If you don’t specifically say we can, we won’t collect anything from you, ever."