How do websites track your online activity?

When we go online, we should all anticipate some kind of monitoring, and in many instances, tracking helps keep us secure and simplify our online lives, for example, by allowing websites to recognize our identities when we log in. However, the number of websites that monitor our online behavior is growing alarmingly, and there are even tracking networks that create profiles of our online activity. You may have seen this in action when browsing the web lately. If you visited a certain website and then saw advertisements for that website popping up later. This kind of monitoring is carried out by advertising networks, which monitor users’ online activity to target them with relevant advertisements. While monitoring may be advantageous, it may sometimes seem like a breach of our privacy. If you are not already using a VPN and are worried, continue reading to learn four ways websites monitor your online activity.

Internet Protocol address

When you are online, your IP address functions similarly to your ‘name.’ It is how you are recognized, and it is the most straightforward method for websites to determine your identity. Additionally, IP addresses enable websites to determine your geographic location. Typically, websites do not utilize IP addresses to track users over time due to their ability to change and the fact that many individuals may use the same IP address. However, when coupled with other online monitoring methods, IP addresses may assist websites in tracking your online activity and physical location.

Cookies and scripts for tracking

Cookies are little pieces of data that websites may keep in your browser and can be very useful. For instance, they allow websites to save your login information to save you time when signing in. Cookies may also be used to monitor your internet browsing behavior while you are on the page. This is beneficial for website developers since it allows them to observe how you interact with the site and therefore provides them the opportunity to modify it in the future to enhance your experience. Third-party cookies, on the other hand, are often not so benign. Cookies from third parties allow websites to monitor your browsing activity across many websites. Additionally, third-party cookies allow different websites to connect and create a tracking script for your internet browsing activity. Facebook employs a similar tracking script in the form of a cookie to store your login information and to keep track of which sites or products you’ve ‘liked’ to tell marketers.

Super cookies

While it is possible to remove your browser’s cookies, this is not always the best way to avoid online tracking. Super cookies are becoming more prevalent, and these items may store your internet browsing data in a variety of locations and forms. A novel tracking technique makes use of color pixels to monitor people online. When super cookies are enabled, websites may retrieve deleted cookie information from other places if you remove a cookie from one location. This implies that your browser history may be restored and websites can once again monitor your online activity. It’s very difficult to defeat a super biscuit.

HTTP Referrer

Within websites, links are transferred between the websites that your browser accesses. For instance, if you click on a link to another website inside an article, the website to which you are sent may see the URL of the website from which the article originated. The HTTP referrer header contains information about the webpage link and similar items. Additionally, this HTTP referrer header may be sent to other websites. For example, while a webpage’s content is loading, your browser may inform advertisers and online trackers connected to that webpage through the HTTP referrer header of which website you are viewing. This is how advertisements for a certain website may appear even after we have left the site.

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