oldschool

Level 53
Verified
@SeriousHoax turned me on to this neat little extension, which I've been with using on its own and in combination with other extensions. This is an actively developed extension that is updated regularly. Just recently got an update to v. 1.15.0 which added a couple more rules. It looks like the developer is considering adding a couple of neat featues, including eTag blocking and others. I support this developer because he's young and appears commited to this project. Here's an overview, for your dining pleasure. Enjoy! (y) :D
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ClearURLs is an add-on based on the new WebExtensions technology and is optimized for Firefox and Chrome based browsers.


This extension will automatically remove tracking elements from URLs to help protect your privacy when browse through the Internet, which is regularly updated by us and can be found here.

Application

Many websites use tracking elements in the URL (e.g. Example Domain) to mark your online activity. All that tracking code is not necessary for a website to be displayed or work correctly and can therefore be removed—that is exactly what ClearURLs does.


Another common example are Amazon URLs. If you search for a product on Amazon you will see a very long URL, such as:


Indeed most of the above URL is tracking code. Once ClearURLs has cleaned the address, it will look like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/exampleProduct

Features

  • Removes tracking from URLs automatically in the background
  • Blocks some common ad domains (optional)
  • Has a built-in tool to clean up multiple URLs at once
  • Supports redirection to the destination, without tracking services as middleman
  • Adds an entry to the context menu so that links can be copied quickly and cleanly
  • Blocks hyperlink auditing, also known as ping tracking (see also this article)
  • Prevents tracking injection over history API (see also: The replaceState() method)
  • Prevents Google from rewriting the search results (to include tracking elements)
  • Prevents Yandex from rewriting the search results (to include tracking elements)
Permissons

Reasoning for needed permissions can be found under here.

Screenshot

Interface (version 1.14.0)

CI/CD Artifacts Download (for Firefox- and Chrome-Dev only)

Here you can download the packed files for the Firefox- and Chrome-Dev:


Firefox


Chrome

Test

If you want to test whether ClearURLs works correctly on your system, you can go to this test page: ClearURLs test page

Contribute

If you have any suggestions or complaints, please create an issue.

Translate ClearURLs

You want to help translating ClearURLs into many languages? – Nice


You can choose between two options to contribute. You can create a merge request, or you can use the POEditor to translate ClearURLs.


Hint: The description field in the translation files are only an information for what the translation is used. It is not necessary to translate the description field; in the most cases it is empty.

Merge request

If you want to create a merge request, you must open the path _locales/en/messages.json in the ClearURLs repo and translate the english terms into terms of your language. Once you have translated all the terms, you make a pull request of your translation. Please push your translation into the folder _locales/{country code}/messages.json.

POEditor

https://poeditor.com/join/project/vKTpQWWvk2

Projects that use parts of ClearURLs

  • Uroute used ClearURLs to filter/clean URL before launching browser
Recommended by...

Permissions

Reasoning for needed permissions you can find under this discussion.

Copyright

We use some third-party scripts in our add-on. The authors and licenses are listed below.


 
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Burrito

Level 23
I support this developer because he's young....
What you got against old developers oldschool?

Just because you are so young and vibrant...



Features
  • Blocks some common ad domains (optional)
  • Has a built-in tool to clean up multiple URLs at once
  • Supports redirection to the destination, without tracking services as middleman
  • Adds an entry to the context menu so that links can be copied quickly and cleanly
  • Blocks hyperlink auditing, also known as ping tracking (see also this article)
  • Prevents tracking injection over history API (see also: The replaceState() method)
  • Prevents Google from rewriting the search results (to include tracking elements)
  • Prevents Yandex from rewriting the search results (to include tracking elements)

This sounds pretty interesting. I'm surprised I have not noticed this before.

Does it break anything?

Thanks oldschool.
 

Decopi

Level 3
Good add-on, and good Dev (Kevin). However, the counter-side is negative browser performance impact.
It's possible to achieve similar results with these two add-ons, more friendly in terms of browser performance:


 

Azure

Level 26
Verified
Content Creator
There are other extensions that do the same. But as stated in the extension page

"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 130 rules, so its capabilities are more comprehensive."
 

Stopspying

Level 10
Good review, thanks, I've been using it off and on with Firefox for a few months, while trying other extensions that claim to do similar good things. Its the best by far from what I've seen. I particularly like using it when opening a link from an email, clearing the junk from the URL and loading the page so as the link referer can't see that I've checked out the page/product and then spam me endless suggestions for thousands more garden sheds, or whatever.
 

security123

Level 21
It's possible to achieve similar results with these two add-ons, more friendly in terms of browser performance:

No.
Last updated: 2 years ago (May 28, 2018)

about Skip Redirect: The idea is nice, but it break some sites and also then it's needed to allow the site, which make the addon useless in that case.


Not that I'm aware of, and I have "Allow domain blocking" enabled.
Can confirm that
 

Decopi

Level 3
No.
Last updated: 2 years ago (May 28, 2018)

about Skip Redirect: The idea is nice, but it break some sites and also then it's needed to allow the site, which make the addon useless in that case.
Can confirm that
Firstly and about NeatURL, the JS' script doesn't need to be updated, tracking removal mechanism has been the same for the last 10 years. NeatURL works like a charm.
And with regards to RegExps, this also is not related to updates, because the add-on already contains by default 90% of the most known url tracker parameters (but if you want to customize it, be my guest, the add-on allows you to include whatever url tracker parameter you want! In fact, you can copy all url tracking parameters from CleanURL, and paste inside NeatURL). Around 20.000 users seem very satisfy with NeatURL.

Secondly, I have been using SkipRedirect for years, it is extremely rare to see the add-on breaking something. Most of the 26.000 users can confirm my argument.

I tested intensively all similar add-ons. The best combo in terms of browser efficiency is NeatURL + SkipRedirect.
It's a waste of resources to have hundred of RegExps (like CleanURLs has), when users normally are going to use just a few of them on daily browsing. The logic here is similar to blocking list, users don't need large blocking lists with millions of parameters. Browser performance always should be the main focus, and if few RegExps can block 90% of url tracking parameters... that's enough.
 
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security123

Level 21
Firstly and about NeatURL, the JS' script doesn't need to be updated
I disagree. JavaScript code change over time and can be mostly then optimized and/ or (security) bugs need to be fixed.

tracking removal mechanism has been the same for the last 10 years.
No, they change fast and/ or add new mechanism, so that need updates too.

Secondly, I have been using SkipRedirect for years, it is extremely rare to see the add-on breaking something. Most of the 26.000 users can confirm my argument.
I guess because they use the addon in default mode which doesn't enforce the protection ;)

I tested intensively all similar add-ons. The best combo in terms of browser efficiency is NeatURL + SkipRedirect.
I like it more if 1 addon can to the same as 2. Less attack surface and i never see a diference between ClearURL and NeatURL + SkipRedirect
 

SeriousHoax

Level 29
Verified
Malware Tester
This is such a great extension and the developer is responsive too. Before this one I used to use NeatURL + SkipReDirect and specially SkipRedirect would break things quite a lot. Using ClearURLs for many months now and I'm yet to have any issue but I keep its adblocking function turned off.
Another good thread from Mr. oldschool (y)
 

oldschool

Level 53
Verified
ClearURLs updated to 1.16.0. I notice it's blocking a lot more in Brave, leaving Privacy Possum with less to do. I'm waiting for eTag blocking and then PP goes bye-bye.
_________________________________________

[1.16.0] - 2020-03-20
Compatibility note
  • Require Firefox >= 55
  • Require Chrome >= 22
Added
  • Added ETag header filtering #362, #440. Hint: Cache must be cleared before first use, to delete the already existing ETags.
Fixed
  • Fixed spontaneous disappearance of the badged
  • Fixed wrong counting of blocked elements corrected (too little was ;D)
Changed
  • Updated all translation
  • Changed badged font color to #FFFFFF
  • Changed watchdog behavior as follows #428, #431, #429:
    • Increased watchdog interval to 60 seconds
    • Executed watchdog only if ClearURLs is also active
    • Watchdog restarts ClearURLs at most 3 times and only if ClearURLs has rules
  • Changed behavior of downloading rules #428, #431, #429:
    • If download of hash file fails and no local rules are available, then ClearURLs displays hash_status_code_5 and deactivates itself
    • If download of rules file fails and no local rules are available, then ClearURLs displays hash_status_code_5 and deactivates itself
__________________________________________

And this from ClearURLs > Issues:


eTag blocking and other features planned?
I see you are considering eTag blocking and hope you can implement this feature, keeping the extension lightweight and versatile. As a non-technical user/supporter, I'd eager to see this extension's development continue. Any other features planned? Thanks!
Linked issues
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