Hey, I’m Parker.

Creator of music, photography, and (mostly open) software.

Don’t Like Being Tracked?

I don’t like being tracked by Web giants when I’m not on their websites. As more sites integrate Twitter, Facebook, and Google support, I can’t help but be tracked on almost every site I visit.

Luckily, the integrations for these three aforementioned companies is quite simple to subvert (at least partially). If you’re running a unix-based machine, you can add just a few lines to your /etc/hosts file (on Windows it’s C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts) and you’re well on your way to Web privacy.

Open up a new tab, and open the Developer Console. Open the Network tab. Now navigate to your favourite blog, news site, etc. You’ll see each individual network request that is made from that page listed in the Network pane of the Developer Console. Scroll through requests and make note of the domain names you wish to block.

Once you have the list of domain names, simply use your hosts file to reroute those domains to your local server ( Here’s an example: connect.facebook.net google-analytics.com www.google-analytics.com platform.twitter.com adroll.com a.adroll.com d.adroll.com ib.adnxs.com googleadservices.com www.googleadservices.com

In this example, I’ve blocked Facebook, Google Analytics, Twitter, Ad Roll, Google Ad Services and the unknown "adnxs" service.

Preface each domain name with the address of your local server and group each line based on the second-level domain (e.g. adroll.com). Add each of these lines to your /etc/hosts file (note: this will require root privileges). Don’t forget to save it when you’re done.

Now navigate to that same site again, with the Network pane still open. You should now get 404’s or 500’s when you try to access those same domains you ‘blocked’.

For a solution that doesn’t require halting access to these hosts, check out the Tor project.