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Frequently Asked Questions

General

How does Ghostery work?

Ghostery is comprised of privacy focused products known as the Ghostery Privacy Suite. How Ghostery works specifically is dependent on which product is being used.

The Ghostery Tracker & Ad Blocker browser extension is our original product. It is a piece of software that extends the functionality of a web browser on a desktop computer. Ghostery monitors all the different web servers that are being called from a particular web page and matches them with a library of data collection tools (trackers). If it finds a match, Ghostery shows that tracker in the list in the pop-up information bubble or control panel. If you’ve configured Ghostery to block communication with one or more of these companies, it interrupts the call from leaving the browser.

This is different than opting-out or blocking cookies within the browser because those strategies still allow the browser to communicate with the web server (they just try to alter the communication or the response). When blocking is enabled, Ghostery never allows the communication in the first place.

Does Ghostery share user data with other companies?

No. Ghostery does not share collected data of any kind with third parties.

Transparency and integrity are important to us. For in-depth information, please consult our Privacy Policy. Additionally we're open source and you may view the Ghostery source code on Github.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at privacy@ghostery.com.

How do I find out which company the tracker belongs to?

From within the Ghostery control panel, you can click any tracker listed to reveal a short description of who provides it. You can then view more details about this tracker and what it collects by clicking the “Continue to full tracker profile” link.
This link leads you to in-depth information about the specific tracker or company on WhoTracks.Me, world’s largest database of trackers owned and operated by Ghostery.

How does Ghostery make money?

Ghostery receives monthly or yearly donations from users enrolled in the Contributor program. Read here how you can Become a Contributor.

How is using the browser extension different from blocking cookies?

Ghostery differs from simply “blocking cookies” because that still allows the browser (with your IP address) to communicate with the web server — it just prevents cookies from being placed on your machine. The requests are still happening, and data about you is still being transmitted. Ghostery completely intercepts those requests and never allows the communication to happen in the first place.

How many trackers does Ghostery have in its library?

Ghostery has a proprietary library of over 5000 trackers from over 3000 companies that we update continually. You can find the monthly updated database at WhoTracks.Me, an entity owned and operated by Ghostery.

Additionally, Ghostery’s Ad-Blocking module uses popular open-source filter lists which include thousands more trackers.

If I opted in to share my data with the Ghostery Tracker & Ad Blocker extension, is that data connected with my account?

No. Data shared with Ghostery is strictly non-personal and not connected with user accounts in any way.
To see exactly what non-personal data is shared, please consult our Privacy Policy.

Furthermore no account needs to be created to use the Ghostery Tracker & Ad Blocker Browser Extension; it is simply an option to make things more convenient for the user as for example the ability to sync settings between devices.

Is Ghostery really free?

Yes the core features of Ghostery are and will always be free. Click here to learn more.

What are the password requirements when setting up a Ghostery account?

Your password must be between 8 and 50 characters and only contain letters, numbers and/or the following symbols: ! @ # $ % ^ & * = + ( ) <> { } [ \ ] ; : , . / ?

What data is collected and how is it used when I create an account?

If you choose to create a user account, we will collect your name and email address. Usage of this data is limited to: (i) syncing your settings across our products, (ii) serving as your login credentials to access certain features of the Ghostery Privacy Suite, (iii) communicating directly to you through your email address to give you information about our products, updates and helping spread awareness on privacy within the community through our biweekly Privacy Digest.

Note that no account needs to be created to use Ghostery Tracker & Ad Blocker Browser Extension; it is simply an option to make things more convenient for the user.

For more information please consult our Privacy Policy.

What is WhoTracks.Me (formerly Human-Web)?

WhoTracks.Me, owned and operated by Ghostery, is an integral part of Ghostery's AI anti-tracking technology. It is a comprehensive global resource on trackers, bringing transparency to web tracking. If you'd like to learn more about WhoTracks.Me, please check out the source code in our open-source Github repository.

Who is Evidon?

Now owned by and named after Crownpeak, Evidon, Inc. was a New York City-based tech company that provides Digital Governance solutions for Business. The Ghostery brand and products were owned by Evidon, Inc. from 2009 to 2017 (during which time it was called Ghostery, Inc.) before they were acquired by Cliqz GmbH in 2017 and operates as Ghostery GmbH since then.

Ghostery does not sell or otherwise share data of any kind with Crownpeak.

Tracker & Ad Blocker

Does the Ghostery Tracker & Ad Blocker Extension work in any browser?

Ghostery is supported in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Edge. Each browser extension must be downloaded and installed separately.

The Ghostery Tracker & Ad Blocker Browser Extension is available for Tor Browser, Yandex, and Brave, however because we do not officially support these browsers, you may encounter specific issues relating to these browsers.

How can I manage trackers while on a site?

To manage trackers, tap on Ghosty in the toolbar. You will see two lists – one showing all trackers on your current site and one showing all trackers in general (global).

To restrict or allow a tracker on your current site only, choose the appropriate tab, find the tracker and choose “restrict” or “allow.” Note  that choosing “block” will block the tracker across all sites, and choosing “Unblock” will allow it across all sites. You may also bulk block or unblock all trackers, or by tracker category.

What are the 3 symbols in the Ghostery panel?

The Ghostery Tracker & Ad Blocker includes 3 features designed to strengthen privacy, block ads, and remove intrusive cookie consent pop-ups.

Ad-Blocking: The ad blocking feature uses community managed ad blocking lists to eliminate ads as you browse the web. This complements Ghostery's tracker blocking and anti-tracking.  It catches and eliminates ads from a filter list and does not require any user-generated data.

Anti-Tracking: The Anti-Tracking feature is a heuristic approach to real-time, algorithmic tracking protection. Like Ghostery's Ad-blocking, it monitors all third-party requests. However, instead of simply blocking those requests, it analyzes them for personally identifiable information and then strips out that information before the request is sent. Anti-Tracking supplements Ghostery's block-list approach by catching anything that might have been missed. Therefore, even if trackers are allowed to execute, you can feel safe knowing that all personal information has been anonymized in the request.

Never-Consent:  Ghostery’s new feature ‘Never-Consent’ selects optimal privacy settings automatically which stops websites from asking you to accept cookies via intrusive cookie consent pop-ups. It also sends important messages to website owners telling them that you don’t want to be tracked.‍

What is Anti-Tracking?

The Anti-Tracking feature is a heuristic approach to real-time, algorithmic tracking protection. Like Ghostery's Ad-blocking, it monitors all third-party requests. However, instead of simply blocking those requests, it analyzes them for personally identifiable information and then strips out that information before the request is sent. Anti-Tracking supplements Ghostery's block-list approach by catching anything that might have been missed. Therefore, even if trackers are allowed to execute, you can feel safe knowing that all personal information has been anonymized in the request.

What is Tracker Cloaking Protection?

Tracker Cloaking Protection is an advanced privacy setting offered in Ghostery Private Browser. Some trackers use a technique called CNAME cloaking where they pretend to be first-party code by mimicking legitimate subdomains of the websites they are present on, thereby avoiding detection as a third-party technology. The Ghostery Private Browser has a technology to unmask and block these cloaked trackers.

This technology works in Gecko based browsers only like Firefox and Ghostery Private Browser.

Private Browsers

What is Ghost Mode Window?

Users can open a Ghost Mode Window on desktop versions of Ghostery Private Browser. This is similar to what other browsers call Private Browsing Windows or Incognito Mode.

While browsing in Ghost Mode Windows, Ghostery does not store the following data on your device:

  • History: Visited pages will not be saved to the computer’s history and thus cannot be found via the library or the history results in the search.
  • Cookies: Cookies store various information, such as page settings, logins, and data that is used for plugins.
  • Form fields and search box entries: Text entered into text boxes or search functions on websites is forgotten instantly.
  • Passwords: Newly entered passwords will not be remembered.
  • Download list: You can download and save files just like in normal browsing mode. However, files downloaded will not show in the downloads menu.
  • Temporary data: Temporary data and data required for offline usage cannot be saved.

What is Ghost Tab?

With mobile versions of Ghostery Private Browser (iOS/iPadOS/Android), users can open a Ghost Tab. This is similar to what other browsers call Private Browsing Windows or Incognito Mode.

While browsing in a Ghost Tab, Ghostery does not store the following data on your device:

  • History: Visited pages will not be saved to the computer’s history and thus cannot be found via the library or the history results in the search.
  • Cookies: Cookies store various information, such as page settings, logins, and data that is used for plugins.
  • Form fields and search box entries: Text entered into text boxes or search functions on websites is forgotten instantly.
  • Passwords: Newly entered passwords will not be remembered.
  • Download list: You can download and save files just like in normal browsing mode. However, files downloaded will not show in the downloads menu.
  • Temporary data: Temporary data and data required for offline usage cannot be saved.

What is Automatic Ghost Tab Mode?

Adult content is opened in Automatic Ghost Tab Mode on Ghostery Private Browser for iOS/iPadOS. The browser will prevent adult sites from being stored in your search history.

Does Ghostery work on mobile devices?

The Ghostery Private Browser fully loaded with the Ghostery Privacy Suite is a stand-alone app for iPhones, iPads, and Android. The Ghostery Browser Extension works with the mobile version of Safari on iPhones & iPads, as well as the mobile version of Firefox on Android phones.

The Ghostery Private Browser for Android is compatible for Android Version 8.0 and later.

‍The Ghostery Private Browser for iOS is compatible for iOS/iPadOS Version 12.0 and later.

How To Install Ghostery Private Browser on Linux

To simplify Ghostery Private Browser installation on Linux we have created a set of instructions. Please check here.

If you need further assistance, please contact support@ghostery.com

How can I add browser extensions to Ghostery Private Browser?

The Ghostery Private Browser is based on Mozilla's Firefox browser. You can install extensions via the Firefox Browser ADD-ONS store.

How do I change the complementary search engine?

The Ghostery Private Browser allows you to select from several different complementary search engines that provide additional search results beyond Ghost Search. Ghostery Private Search is automatically set as your search engine unless changed.

To change your default option:

  1. Tap on the top right kebab menu near the search bar (the 3 dots)
  2. Tap Settings
  3. (Android only) Select ‘General’
  4. Tap Complementary Search and select your desired option

How do I delete my history?

To delete your browsing history, follow these steps:

For Android:

  1. Tap on Settings (the 3 dot menu)
  2. Go to Privacy -> Clear Private Data -> Choose from the list  -> click ‘clear data’

For iOS:

  1. Tap on Settings (the 3 dot menu)
  2. Go to Privacy -> Clear Private Data -> Choose from the list -> Click ‘clear private data’

What advantages does Ghostery offer when compared to other mobile browsers?

The Ghostery Private Browser contains an integrated quick search that allows you to go directly to your destination without any detours. In addition, we do not collect any personal data unlike other search engines. Thus, by using Ghostery you are protecting your online privacy.

We also provide you with our anti-tracking technology which helps to keep your data safe. This technology avoids your data being tracked by third party trackers. This is done by altering strings which are unique to your browser. It protects you from usual tracking methods like canvas fingerprinting.

What distinguishes the Ghostery Private Browser from other browsers?

The Ghostery Private Browser is significantly more private than its competitors. This is because, in addition to hosting the typical features of a browser, our browser has Ghostery’s signature privacy protection technologies baked into it.

Like many browsers, we offer a private browsing mode (Ghost mode) and a private search engine. On top of that, Ghostery Private Browser employs technology that actively shields your data from trackers. Those two signature technologies of Ghostery are known as (1) tracker-blocking, which stops trackers from being planted on the sites you visit, and (2) anti-tracking, our supplemental capability, which anonymizes your personally identifiable information should any trackers get through.

What is HTTPS-Only Mode?

HTTPS-Only Mode is an advanced privacy setting offered in Ghostery Private Browser. Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the fundamental protocol for how browsers and websites communicate, is unprotected often susceptible to unwanted surveillance and possibly manipulation. HTTPS-Only Mode ensures that all communications made with the Ghostery Browsers are done so with HTTP over TLS (HTTPS), a secure and encrypted form of communication that is a much safer protocol.

Why is Ghosty wearing a mask?

If your Ghosty is wearing a mask, it means that you are in a Ghost Tab.  This means that there will be no cookies or browser history saved after you close the session.

Private Search

Can I make Ghostery my default search engine if I’m using a browser other than Ghostery Private Browser?

Yes. We have built extensions for Chrome and Firefox that will let users set Ghostery Private Search as their default.

This one-of-a-kind private search engine does NOT log your search history, which means you get served objective results, not results that are filtered by the likelihood you’ll click on them. It is built into Ghostery Private Browser and also available as an extension in both Firefox and Chrome.

Donations

I’ve ended my Ghostery Contributor Donations. Why do I still have access to Contributor features?

If you end your Ghostery Contributor Donations, you will no longer be charged. You will, however, continue to have access to features until your Contributor time runs out (time remaining before you would have donated again). During this period, you may restart donating to resume your Ghostery Contributor status and donations as usual.

If you would like to donate again after your time runs out, you must go through the Ghostery Contributor process again and reenter payment information to restart donations.

What features can I unlock as a Ghostery Contributor?

As a Ghostery Contributor, you will gain access to historical tracker stats that reveal blocking trends and help monitor your digital footprint, as well as access to the Ghostery Advanced Tracker Analytics. You also receive exclusive perks such as custom color themes, priority user support, and more features currently in development. The Ghostery Private Browser is complemented with Ghostery Private Search engine! As a Contributor you get the private search ad-free.

Still have questions?

If there is anything you miss in Ghostery or have any questions, please drop a line to support@ghostery.com. We’re happy to talk to you anytime.