Cross-site Tracking: What It Is and How To Stop It in Your Browser
Harvesting user data has become the norm for many businesses that operate online. Tracking activity, monitoring browsing habits, and collecting user data are common practices, and preventing cross-site trackers and other privacy-violating tactics can take some effort. Fortunately, with the right tools and know-how, you can effectively block most tracking attempts.
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What is cross-site tracking?
Cross-site tracking is the practice of businesses, advertisers, and other entities tracking you across multiple websites in order to monitor your browsing habits. Companies may have multiple reasons for wanting to analyze your online activity, including product improvement, targeted advertising, and personalizing the user experience.
While cross-site tracking is marketed as an innocuous act, some consider the practice a breach of privacy, especially when websites fail to seek consent. On top of that, few companies offer easy-to-understand information about what they will and won’t do with the data they collect. Unless you’re willing to study the privacy policies of every site you visit, knowing where your data will end up is difficult.
How cross-site tracking works
Cross-site tracking often works by planting a small file known as a cookie in your browser. That file remains on your device until removed, monitoring your activity and relaying data back to the company who placed it. While third-party cookies are common tracking tools, other methods do exist.
For example, companies can also use social media like, share, and comment buttons to track you across any websites that use those features. If you’re logged into your social media accounts, those platforms can connect your browsing habits to your profiles. Evidently, cross-site tracking commonly occurs behind the scenes without your knowledge or consent.
What are trackers on a website?
Websites use tracking tools, such as cookies and scripts, to collect data on your browsing activity. While companies must implant cookie files into your browser, invisible scripts can run in the background of visited pages, logging your IP address, device specifications, and other identifying information.
How to prevent cross-site tracking
As the importance of online privacy grows more obvious, developers are taking steps to give you more control over your private data and prevent practices like cross-site tracking. Almost all modern browsers come with tools to help stop trackers from monitoring and logging your activity without your consent. How protected is your private data in your current browser? A quick check of the settings will let you know.
Stop browser tracking in Chrome
Here’s how to stop cross-site tracking in the Chrome desktop app:
- Click the More options button in the top right corner and select Settings
- Go to Security and Privacy > Cookies and other site data
- Toggle Send a “Do Not Track” request with your browsing traffic on
Here’s how to prevent cross-site tracking in the Chrome mobile app:
- Tap the More options button in the top right corner and select Settings
- Tap Privacy and security
- Tap ‘Do Not Track’
- Toggle the setting On
Alas, Google’s Do Not Track feature doesn’t actually block trackers. Switching the setting on simply requests that websites don’t perform any tracking, which means anyone, including Google itself, can choose to ignore the request.
If you’re serious about stopping cross-site tracking in the Chrome desktop app, VeePN’s browser extension blocks most trackers and grants you control of your private data.
Here’s how you can use VeePN to prevent cross-site tracking in Chrome:
- Install the VeePN browser extension for Chrome
- Click the Puzzle icon beside the address bar and click the Free VPN for Chrome extension
- Complete the setup, click the More options button in the top left corner, and select Settings
- Switch on AdBlock, Stop Trackers, and Block tracking social
That’s it. VeePN will block any trackers that come your way, and the extension provides additional features, such as secure VPN, Malware Evader, and other utilities to help you stay safe and anonymous online.
Stop browser tracking in Firefox
Here’s how to stop cross-site tracking in the Firefox desktop app:
- Click the More options button in the top right corner and select Settings
- Click Privacy & Security
- Ensure that Standard, Strict, or an appropriate Custom tracking protection is enabled. You should also ensure that Send websites a “Do Not Track” signal that you don’t want to be tracked is switched on
Here’s how to stop cross-site tracking in the Firefox mobile app:
- Tap the More options button in the bottom right corner and select Settings
- Tap Enhanced Tracking Prevention
- Ensure that Standard, Strict, or an appropriate Custom tracking protection is enabled
Stop browser tracking in Safari
Here’s how to stop cross-site tracking in the Safari desktop app:
- Go to Safari > Preferences > Privacy
- Tick Prevent cross-site tracking
Here’s how to stop cross-site tracking in the Safari mobile app:
- Go to Settings > Safari
- Turn on Prevent Cross-Site Tracking
Does a VPN prevent cross-site tracking?
While a VPN by itself doesn’t prevent cross-site tracking, you can use one to confuse trackers by connecting to a server outside of your actual location. A VPN will also encrypt your traffic and stop your ISP and other organizations from spying on your connection. However, if you want to stop cross-site tracking completely, you should choose a VPN service that includes tracker blocking.
A top-tier VPN, such as VeePN, must have anti-tracking protection. To block trackers once and for all, you should:
- Download and install VeePN
- Go to Privacy Preferences
- Tick PureWeb to stop trackers
- Turn VPN On
That’s really all there is to it. While companies collecting private data has never been more common, protecting your privacy online has never been easier. VeePN certainly makes it simple.
Take back control of your privacy
Websites and other online platforms aren’t going to stop harvesting your data any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your privacy. The anti-tracking features included in most modern browsers are worth enabling.
However, for extra protection, you should consider adding a VPN to your security toolbox. A solid VPN service, such as VeePN, will provide all of the privacy features and tracker prevention tools you could ever need. You don’t need to pass on your private data for the profit of others. Today’s the day to take back control.
FAQ: What It Cross-site Tracking and How To Stop It in Your Browser
Cross-site tracking is a method advertisers use to track your online activities across different websites and gather information about your browsing behavior.
Cross-site tracking involves using cookies or other monitoring technologies to collect data about your browsing history across multiple websites. Read this article to learn more.
The risks of cross-site tracking include the loss of online privacy, targeted advertising, and sharing or selling your personal data to third parties.
To check whether you’re being tracked across many websites, verify if there are third-party cookies in your browser. Also, you can use a browser extension to block unwanted monitoring tools.
There are several ways to stop cross-site tracking in your browser. For example, you can use the private browsing mode, disable third-party cookies, or adopt a browser extension or plugin that blocks tracking. Also, it’s a good idea to install a reliable VPN like VeePN on your device to prevent websites and ad agencies from monitoring your Internet activities.
Some popular browser extensions or plugins that stop cross-site tracking include Privacy Badger, uBlock Origin, and Ghostery. Besides, one of the most powerful anti-monitoring tools to spoof your IP and virtual location is a VPN.
Blocking cross-site tracking involves certain drawbacks. For instance, some websites don’t function properly when you disable cookies. It may even be impossible to log in to particular sites when cross-site trackers are blocked. However, you can resolve those issues by adjusting your browser settings or using specific extensions. For more details, read this article.
In most cases, cross-site tracking is legal. But it may be subject to some regulations depending on your location and the type of data collected.