General Question

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

Can a website tell what site you were just on if there isn't a referral in the link (see details)?

Asked by JeSuisRickSpringfield (6708points) November 28th, 2015

Let’s say I’m on Fluther, and then I click a link in my bookmarks bar to go to Facebook. Does Facebook know I came from Fluther? Does Fluther know I left Fluther to visit Facebook? What about if the link is on Fluther itself? Assume there isn’t anything in the URL that indicates which site referred me to the new one.

My impression is that the only way they could know is by way of cookies or something like that. But I use browser extensions (like Ghostery) to prevent most trackers. What I am wondering, then, is if just navigating to one site from another provides information to either the site I’m going to or the site I’m leaving.

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4 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes. The HTTP protocol requires a referring URL field be included (along with a lot of others). So they’ll know that you came from Fluther. But only in the aggregate.

Fluther does not attach a unique identifier, which is good. Many sites include some unique ID across sites in order to track your actions. Forbes does that. In fact, most news sites do that and so do shopping sites.

funkdaddy's avatar

Your example of using a bookmark would be considered “direct” traffic, so wouldn’t have a referrer. Just like if you typed into the address bar of your browser.

If you click a link on fluther, like the one automatically generated above, then that would include a referrer and could be tracked by your IP, which could be connected to your facebook account and recorded.

As far as the theoretical fluther-side, they only know if you clicked the link if that’s recorded somehow other than just the request, which is handled by your browser instead of fluther’s servers.

funkdaddy's avatar

Too late to edit, but this site will show your referrer/referer easily

What is my referer?

johnpowell's avatar

Not with a bookmark.

But every-time you visit a site with facebook or twitter badges they know you visited that site/page. If you can see that like button facebook knows you are there. And don’t even get me started on google. Every site that uses google analytics tells google where you are. This is nearly every popular website. Even this one

Granted, Fluther is 90% better than most sites about this. On CNN 14 trackers are blocked.

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