When you land on a website it tracks you and uses your information in unexpected ways. The majority of us know about this web tracking reality and what they don’t know is what information they gather. We are likewise ignorant of the way that they gather our information. We will discuss these questions in this article.

What is Web tracking? 

Website tracking can be characterized as gathering data about the user to monitor their online behavior. So, they can be targeted. The online activities are observed often through the use of cookies and other website trackers. Website tracking works by collecting and processing users' personal data.

Tracking is used for a number of online services most commonly for digital advertising and website analytics. There is a lack of transparency about the data websites collects from the user. Therefore, countries around the globe are introducing laws to regulate the way websites can collect data to track users.

What can Websites Track?

Various tools can be utilized for collecting vast amounts of data for different purposes, However, not every website collects data and some websites collect only a limited amount of data relying on the idea of the site.  

Here are some information focuses sites can observe.

  • Email address and Credit card information.
  • IP addresses to determine a user’s location.
  • Your gender, age.
  • Data about users' devices and browsers through which they access the site.
  • User interaction with websites. For instance how long user stays on the page, what they usually click upon.
  • Search and browser history to collect information about individual user’s interests, shopping habits e.t.c

The legality of collecting the information may vary depending upon the region and area.

How does the Website Collect information?

The website can use various ways to collect data about users. Some of them are mentioned here.

IP Addresses

The most essential and most utilized method for identifying users is by their IP address. This implies that your IP address distinguishes you on the Internet. Therefore, from your IP address, a site can decide your country and zone

HTTP Referer

At the point you click on a web link, your browser loads the web page and informs the website where you came from. However, this data about the users' actions is contained in the HTTP referer header. “Web bugs,” which are tiny, one-by-one pixel, unnoticeable images, exploit the HTTP referrer to track you without showing up on a web page.

Cookies & Tracking Scripts

Cookies can be explained as small snippets of data that websites can store in your browser. These cookies can be legally used to store your log-in information such as your Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Hulu, Disney + accounts. Cookies can also be used to identify you and to peruse your browsing action across a site. 

Nonetheless, there are additionally third-party cookies, these are commonly used by advertising networks to follow you across various websites. Scripts from social networks can likewise function as tracking scripts. For instance, if you use a tweet button from a website it will store information about who you are when Twitter is logged in.

Browser Fingerprinting

Browsers are actually pretty unique. Therefore, through a browser, sites can decide your operating system, your installed fonts, installed plug-ins and their versions, browser version, your time zone, your operating system’s screen resolution, and other information.

User Agent

Each time you associate with a site your browser sends a user agent. So, this notifies these websites about your browser and operating system information and this information can be stored for targeting ads.

Super Cookies

Super Cookies store your information in various places for instance, in Flash cookies, Silverlight storage, your browsing history, and HTML5 local storage. Regardless of whether you clear your browser's cookies, when you visit the website again they can restore your information through other spots.

The tracking method doesn’t end here. There might be many more and people are desperately working on developing new ways to track the users' information for their purposes. Well, we can minimize the risk of being Tracked by using a VPN. VPN changes the IP address and doesn’t let browsers, ISP, and websites track you. 

Another way is to use the Tor browser  “OrNet” which helps you to remain anonymous while browsing the internet and respect your privacy decision.  It doesn’t log any of your information and does not allow web tracking.

Read more: Not using a VPN? You are exposed to these threats.