Update AdGuard URL Tracking filter

silversurfer

Level 74
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
Malware Hunter
Aug 17, 2014
6,319
Meet AdGuard URL Tracking filter! This filter strips query parameters from pages’ URLs.

Not that the functionality itself is anything new. Actually, AdGuard Stealth mode has always offered an opportunity to remove tracking parameters. So why reinvent the wheel creating a new filter, one might ask. You'll find out soon! But first, let's understand what these tracking parameters are.

What tracking parameters are and how they are used​

Generally, the parameters in the page address are used for tracking. You have probably seen parameters like utm_source or utm_campaign in the website URLs — they represent tracking parameters.

Let’s look at an example.
  1. A link is made on the website A: Example Domain.
  2. When you click it, the website B sees where exactly you came from, what you clicked to open it, whichever information website A sends.
  3. Google Analytics and others know about the tracking parameters, they also see this information and record it.
Which is not bad, as it might seem, what’s wrong in merely seeing it? But there are some problems:
  1. Sometimes such tracking parameters include identifying information that was known only to the website A, not to B. This often happens due to an oversight.
  2. This information might be exposed to third-party trackers (e.g., Google Analytics), not to mention the owners of the website B.
  3. There are tracking parameters that make it possible to track a particular person. For instance, gclid parameter identifies a specific click on an ad link in Google search. Then an advertiser notifies Google, asking whether the click at the specific link with the specific search entry has led to the expected result.

Why you need to remove certain parameters from URLs and why we created a new filter for this purpose​

The reason for removing UTM and other tracking parameters seems self-explanatory after reading the points above. You hardly want your personal information to be exposed to third-parties, let alone being tracked, do you?

Now let's move on to our second question. We at AdGuard are doing pretty well when it comes to filtering — there are not just ordinary filter developers in our team, but enchanters, sorcerers, and wizards, after all. We contionuously refine and update filters, and do it on a daily basis, taking into account new developments. But the problem is that the list of the stripped off parameters was embedded into the program, it cannot be augmented in the way that we do with our filters.

So we decided that it was time to put all the popular tracking parameters into one filter. The result has been AdGuard URL Tracking filter, the hero of the moment, and we undertake to update and enrich it as vigorously as we do with the other filters. And the best part is that now you can remove tracking parameters using this one filter.

In future versions of our products we'll elaborate Stealth mode so that it will enable AdGuard URL Tracking filter.
Now AdGuard URL Tracking filter can be used in AdGuard for Windows, Mac, and Android. The users of our browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera will see it in the next v3.6 update. Stay tuned!
 

SeriousHoax

Level 37
Verified
Mar 16, 2019
2,658
Would using this be any better than the ClearURLs extension?
ClearURLs is more advanced and it does a lot more, removes more URL tracking parameters. It depends on what you need. If you don't need all the things ClearURLs offers, don't want to use a separate extension then this Adguard URL tracking filter should be enough and free from false positives & page breakage.
 
Last edited:

The_King

Level 7
Aug 2, 2020
314
ClearURLs is more advanced and it does a lot more, removes more URL tracking parameters. It depends on what you need. If you don't need all the things ClearURLs offers, don't want to use a separate extension then this Adguard URL tracking filter should be enough and free from false positives & page breakage.
I am already using ClearUrls and will most probably stick with it, there is no point in using something less capable. Thanks for the reply.
 

amirr

Level 16
Jan 26, 2020
772
ClearURLs is more advanced and it does a lot more, removes more URL tracking parameters. It depends on what you need. If you don't need all the things ClearURLs offers, don't want to use a separate extension then this Adguard URL tracking filter should be enough and free from false positives & page breakage.
I use AdGuard for Windows desktop and also its Broswer Assisant. How do I know that AdGuard URL Tracking filter is enabled, and if yes, how to disable it.
Beuase I use ClearURLs.
Thank you.
 

plat1098

Level 25
Verified
Sep 13, 2018
1,418
It's kind of convoluted to find. I will try my best b/c the path disappears after you install this filter.

AdGuard--Settings --Ad Blocker section--Filter Editor tab--Big + at bottom of Installed filters list to add a filter--scroll down in the separate window and then check the URL Tracking list option there--should be under Privacy. It should then install and show up in your Installed filters list under "Privacy."

I have to go by memory because, again, the path disappears after you install it. Someone can post to correct any mistake.

adgurl.PNG

I have Trace that also strips URLs of tracking info, I turned this option off in Trace to evaluate. So far, so good.
 

n8chavez

Level 2
Feb 26, 2021
75
It's kind of convoluted to find. I will try my best b/c the path disappears after you install this filter.

AdGuard--Settings --Ad Blocker section--Filter Editor tab--Big + at bottom of Installed filters list to add a filter--scroll down in the separate window and then check the URL Tracking list option there--should be under Privacy. It should then install and show up in your Installed filters list under "Privacy."

I have to go by memory because, again, the path disappears after you install it. Someone can post to correct any mistake.


I have Trace that also strips URLs of tracking info, I turned this option off in Trace to evaluate. So far, so good.

Trace is an excellent extension!
 

plat1098

Level 25
Verified
Sep 13, 2018
1,418
off-topic: No, it's like a mini-suite of privacy/anti-tracking modules. Here's what the developer says, in the snip below.

I've been using this ext. for the past three years, off and on. It has never given me any trouble but I don't enable everything, in fact, only a few modules are enabled to not interfere with anything else. The URL-stripping function is very effective but I have is disabled right now. There's a free version and a premium that gives you additional blocklists and some other features. I've seen it in action independently of uBlock Origin and AdGuard often enough so that I feel justified in continuing to use it. (y)

To be honest, though, I'm looking to consolidate all major functions like URL stripping into one extension (AdGuard). Remains to be seen.

trace description.PNG
 

rain2reign

Level 5
Jun 21, 2020
240
So what's the difference between the recommended "Tracking Protection Filter" and the "URL Tracking Filter" ? Does the original filter not have URL capabilities? Maybe they will add it to it at a later time. :)
The former is just tracking rules as you are used to, the latter is the list belonging to the newly added feature to strip parameters from the URL itself.
Example: exampledomain.com/param=cfuid_&hocus_tr?=pocus
 

rndmblk

Level 3
Nov 18, 2020
93
Is Google Direct any good as well or does it do the same thing as ClearURL just for google instead ?

ClearURLs works with Google links as well as other URLs. It uses multiple rules to remove tracking components from search results. From their FAQ:

Why use this extension as opposed to similar ones?
Most other “link cleaners” employ about a dozen rules when looking for tracking parameters to remove. ClearURLs utilizes over 250 rules, so its capabilities are more comprehensive.

And ClearURLs is open source, so everyone can join in to the project and/or can check the source code to error or malicious code.
 

amirr

Level 16
Jan 26, 2020
772
ClearURLs works with Google links as well as other URLs. It uses multiple rules to remove tracking components from search results. From their FAQ:

Why use this extension as opposed to similar ones?
Most other “link cleaners” employ about a dozen rules when looking for tracking parameters to remove. ClearURLs utilizes over 250 rules, so its capabilities are more comprehensive.

And ClearURLs is open source, so everyone can join in to the project and/or can check the source code to error or malicious code.
I also use Google search link fix
Is it better to remove "Google search link fix" addon, if I use ClearURLs?
Thank you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Stopspying

rndmblk

Level 3
Nov 18, 2020
93
I also use Google search link fix
Is it better to remove "Google search link fix" addon, if I use ClearURLs?
Thank you.
I've not tested Google search link fix but am a happy ClearUrls user. I'd suggest disabling Google search link and checking if ClearUrls gives you the same results when you perform a Google search. If it does I'd suggest keeping just ClearUrls only. This is just because of the idea that fewer extensions is better if they provide the same function.
 

rain2reign

Level 5
Jun 21, 2020
240
I also use Google search link fix
Is it better to remove "Google search link fix" addon, if I use ClearURLs?
Thank you.
I used to use Google Search Link Fix for a couple of years, but ended up settling for ClearUrls when I found that one. Due to its capability for more complex parameters, Etags and not being entirely limited to Google domains. If you solely visit Google than use whichever you find more comfortable, though you won't notice a difference between the two otherwise for just Google.
 

CyberDevil

Level 2
Apr 4, 2021
83
Trace is an excellent extension!
But, unfortunately, its developer has some personal problems, so he stopped developing. It is not known when he will continue working on Trace.
Is it better to remove "Google search link fix" addon, if I use ClearURLs?
Yes, you can safely remove the "Google search link fix" if you use ClearURLs

-------------

I would also like to say to all members in this discussion that ClearURLs has no analogues. No other extension can replace it, because ClearURLs can replace indirect links in social networks and stores with direct links, and not only clear links from tracking tags.

But this filter by AdGuard may replace the "Neat URL" in the future, but now it has a very small set of rules, however it can be strengthened with a filter https://raw.githubusercontent.com/DandelionSprout/adfilt/master/LegitimateURLShortener.txt :)
 
Top