Ghostery Review


Check out Ghostery, a Safari extension (also available for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer). With Ghostery installed, whenever you visit a Web page that uses such tricks to track, you’ll briefly see a box listing all the services that are tracking your visit to that page.

Click the Ghostery icon in Safari’s toolbar, and you get a detailed list of each of those service along with the specific script(s) each is using on that Web page. Click a script to view it in a new Safari tab or window. Click the More Info link next to a service to view Ghostery’s page for that company, which includes information about the company; contact information; a link to the company’s full privacy policy; and a summary of the types of data the company collects, how that data is shared, and how long it’s retained.

I’ve been using Ghostery for a while and really like the way it reminds me of just how much tracking is going on and it shows you just how ridiculous the situation has gotten. One page I visited had 54 trackers on it. Needless to say, it was a painfully slow web site.

  • Nick

    Ghostery is great, but users should remember it can, on occasion, break a website. If a website is acting up, or not behaving as expected, remember to try allowing items in Ghostery.

    • rick gregory

      It’s important to spend a few minutes configuring Ghostery. It starts off blocking nothing. If you turn on Block All, it will block Disqus and other commenting systems for example. Assuming you want those, you can allow them one by one. Ghostery classifies things so you don’t have to search a long list, so this is pretty easy.

      it also allows you to whitelist a site if you want, so their ads work. I’ve done that here, for example. The single ad here doesn’t slow my experience and I’m happy to support the site. On sites with dozens of trackers? Not so much.

  • Baby Geesus

    Didn’t this (as well as ad blockers) used to appear on the Safari Extensions page, but now seem missing in action?

  • do they block email tracking too?

  • Macworld’s description of the “GhostRank” feature seems inadequate:

    • Susie Ochs

      The review Shawn linked to is from 2011. It’s of Ghostery 1.0.0. I have to assume a lot has changed between then and now. (Ghostery’s Safari extension is currently on version 5.4.6.)

      • DAMMIT! I didn’t even notice that, Susie. It just popped up in my RSS feed. 🙁

        • Susie Ochs

          No worries! It made us think HMMM we should revisit this!

          • Agreed. It’s gotten more relevant in the past few months.

  • Jkay

    You link to a four year old review thinking it’s new and have the nerve to constantly criticise iMore. Keep up the good work, Shawn.

  • JBrickley

    What is even funnier is how Macworld is one of the worst offenders of trackers and junk. On a page refresh it’s showing 73 items blocked! I’ve switched from Ghostery because I no longer trust them. I use uBlock now which is more like Ghostery plus Adblock all in one. I cannot wait for iOS9 and the possibility of blocking junk on mobile Safari! If you think its bad on Safari on Mac it’s much worse on mobile sites.

    • Darren

      Why do you not trust Ghostery anymore?

      • JBrickley

        They are a marketing company. They are using data collected by the App. uBlock is open source with no company behind it trying to profit. Ghostery has a business model to profit somehow. Google makes all its money from marketing and advertising they are not a tech company.