When you visit a web site in your favorite web browser, it interacts with the web servers in a variety of ways. It sends data to the web server such as the browser name, operating system, browser locale and your geographical location. All this data is then used by the server to offer you the content suitable for your browser or locale. For example, if you visit the Bing or Yahoo search engine web site (e.g. yahoo.com) and you are not from the US, then it will redirect you to the relevant local search engine web site (e.g. yahoo.co.uk).
Unfortunately, some of the web servers also monitor your web browsing habits across a multiple of sites. With your web browsing data or habits, they can then use it to analyze how what people look for and deliver them the advertisement of the products that they might be looking for. Such servers are called tracking servers or just trackers. Although it is pretty much harmless, some people take it as an invasion of their privacy.
Firefox offers to block such tracking servers inside the private browsing mode (also called the incognito mode). You can open a private browsing window in Firefox using the hotkey Ctrl+Shift+P. By default, Firefox blocks only some trackers web bad reputation. But you can change the settings for blocking all the known tracking servers in Firefox. Here is how:
- Open Firefox browser, type about:preferences#privacy in the address bar and press the Enter key. Alternatively, you can also click on the menu icon (looks like three layered burger), choose Options and then select Privacy section from the left side of the screen.
- Click on the Change Block List button shown under the Tracking section.
- You will be shown two options and you can select any of these. One is for blocking only some of the trackers and other is for blocking all of the known trackers. Click on the Save Changes button when done.
- Restart Firefox web browser for the changes to take effect.
Note that even after you restart Firefox browser, tracking protection will not work in the regular mode unless you have changed some other settings. It will work only in the private browsing mode.