The Tracker Tax: Ghostery study reveals that tracking makes websites load 2 times slower

May 1, 2018By Ghostery Team

Simply cut your page load times in half by blocking trackers and eliminating clutter

Tracking scripts from Google, Facebook and many other companies monitor every move you make on the web to build a profile about you. And they make you pay for this invasion of your privacy: each tracker on a webpage costs you half a second. Using a tracker-blocking technology like Ghostery saves you time and protects your personal data.

The prevalence of trackers

According to a recent study by Ghostery, trackers – pieces of code that collect personal information and monitor users’ online behaviors – are present on a majority of websites. Of the 500 domains analyzed in this study, nearly 90% of page loads had at least one tracker on them and over 20% had 50 or more trackers. Only 10% of page loads were tracker free.

Study Overview

The study titled “The Tracker Tax: the impact of third-party trackers on website speed in the United States”, looks specifically at how the presence of these trackers affects page performance. It seeks to determine whether there is a relationship between the number of trackers on a web page and the time it takes to load that page. The answer is a very clear YES.

Using a custom-built web crawler to collect internet data, the study assessed the number of trackers on and the page load times of the top 500 websites in the United States, as determined by Alexa. Since the goal of the study was to measure the effects of trackers on page load times for the average internet user, it focused on the most popular American websites. The crawler was run under two configurations: 1) with no trackers blocked, and 2) with the Ghostery browser extension blocking all trackers.

The findings of this study are particularly relevant today, in light of the recent repeal of net neutrality in the United States and the likely circumstance that Internet service providers (ISPs) will begin to separate internet traffic into slow and fast lanes. In such a world, knowing what other factors impede website speed and cause longer page loads becomes invaluable for improving your online experience.

To read to the full study, click here.