• Posted on January 8, 2013

How Websites Track You

Recently in the news there has been a lot of issues with privacy on the internet. Large companies tracking you without your knowledge and using that information to make money. So how does a website track you?

Well it is fairly simple if you have a service or item that other websites will add to their site, such as advertisements and “Like” buttons. Almost every website will track you, possibly without knowing it. Web Server software often times keep logs of every request made to the server. This information is used to find how users are navigating the site to better layout content, and to see what content should be featured based on how popular it is. But the tracking I’m talking about is for external sites. For instance, a Social Networking site tracking your use on all the other sites you visit. In the video, David will show you how a site can track you easily, without almost no code at all.

Privacy Issues with Websites

  • Social Buttons such as Like / Share / Google +1 can track sites you visit.
  • Images loaded from external websites can see the page you are viewing if it contains that image.
  • Advertisements track pages you visit to better serve you ads, so all the pages you visit are most likely stored in a database somewhere.
  • Web Servers by default log your IP Address, User Agent, and the web page you are visiting. This can be seen by the server owner.
  • Websites do not have to follow the Do Not Track header, and most of them don’t follow it.