Skip to main content

These are the most invasive websites around

mobile security
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Patdanai)

A new study of online trackers has revealed some startling data, with the most privacy-invasive websites using as many as 143 trackers to track your movement across the web.

Conducted by VPN provider SurfShark, the study outed The Chive as the website with the most number of trackers, of which 92 are used for advertising. 

“It takes online advertisers under 10 milliseconds to buy advertising space on a page you just landed on. To move that fast, they have to track you pretty close….Surfshark found that some of the most commonly-used websites conceal over 100 trackers each,” the study notes.

TechRadar needs you!

We're looking at how our readers use VPNs with streaming sites like Netflix so we can improve our content and offer better advice. This survey won't take more than 60 seconds of your time, and we'd hugely appreciate if you'd share your experiences with us.

>> Click here to start the survey in a new window <<

The study notes that not all trackers are bad though and some are necessary for website analytics and app optimization purposes. 

Tracking the trackers

SurfShark’s study suggests that the website category with the most trackers per site is Men’s & Women’s Lifestyle with an average of 59 trackers. While some websites in this category use more than 100 trackers each, the average is pulled down by respectable titles such as Cosmopolitan and Reader’s Digest, who don’t use many trackers. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Wikipedia and TikTok top the list of websites with the least number of trackers with three, while Instagram and Netflix aren’t too far with four and five trackers respectively.

The study comes in the backdrop of several initiatives to phase out tracking cookies, most notably Google’s controversial Privacy Sandbox initiative, which the search giant wants to use to develop a set of open standards for enhancing privacy on the web. 

The plan however has been met with skepticism from privacy organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) who are particularly unimpressed by one of Google’s proposals, the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which according to the EFF is no better than the tracking cookies it hopes to replace.

While it is making the right noises when it comes to proposing standards for ensuring privacy on the web, as things stand now, Google owns the most number of trackers with 18, closely followed by Microsoft with 17, and Amazon with 11, according to SurfShark.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.