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Comparative benchmarks against widely used blockers: Top 15 Most Popular News Websites

Raymond Hill edited this page Jun 4, 2014 · 103 revisions

The results emphasize 3rd-party requests, as these are, I believe, a key statistics when it comes to gauge privacy matters. The rationale being that the more a user push data to more 3rd parties (a mere net request is pushing data) -- typically without the user being aware -- the larger the footprint of leaked metadata. It is difficult for a user to appreciate how much metadata is leaked to 3rd parties when visiting a web page, as requests to 3rd-party agents are not easy to see, let alone easy to act upon. This is where HTTP Switchboard will help you the most.

The values are averages of aggregated results of the 15 web page visited over 5 runs. In the table, a result reported as "x n" means "3rd-party count total count".

The most important figure in my opinion with regard to privacy is the 3rd-party Domain count, hence the results are ordered from left-to-right according to the third-party domain count.

Important: Starting June 4th, 2014, only EasyList, EasyPrivacy and malware protection filters (or equivalent) are going to be used for Adblock Plus and Adblock, or whatever equivalent for other blockers. I just realized that I used much more aggressive settings for ABP and Ghostery than for HTTPSB AA/BX for the May 2nd benchmark. Specialized Fanboy lists were not enabled for HTTPSB, while equivalent were for ABP and Ghostery. This means that for a more meaningful comparison next time I will have to leave "Widgets" un-selected in Ghostery. Fanboy lists were enabled in HTTPSB AA/BX mode for the February 26th benchmark.

June 4, 2014

HTTPSB
BA/AX
HTTPSB
AA/BX
Adblock Adguard Privacy
Badger
No blocker
Domains 21
22
52
53
74
75
93
94
157
158
401
402
Hosts 48
74
97
143
128
183
150
222
236
316
596
683
Scripts 0
0
183
263
215
299
235
321
308
406
505
625
Cookies 0
0
2
34
8
49
20
74
38
99
231
317
Net requests 625
1,217
879
1,653
1,025
1,864
1,044
1,911
1,144
2,021
1,973
2,980
Bandwidth 16,645,571 ? 25,884,484 ? ? 29,375,024

Note: This time I primed Privacy Badger before the benchmark.

May 2, 2014

HTTPSB
BA/AX
Ghostery Adblock+ HTTPSB
AA/BX
Disconnect Privacy
Badger
No blocker
Domains 21
22
52
53
54
55
54
55
93
94
192
193
420
421
Hosts 49
75
99
160
97
149
101
153
171
248
299
381
641
720
Scripts 0
0
173
286
177
272
169
265
262
385
334
455
518
641
Cookies 0
0
8
47
1
33
2
43
19
83
52
115
263
341
Net requests 680
1,199
966
1,722
913
1,612
930
1,648
1,124
1,936
1,340
2,176
2,079
2,849
Bandwidth 15,147,576 27,406,535 26,489,990 27,040,340 28,758,904 ? ?

Changes from previous benchmark: EFF-backed Privacy Badger (beta) added, see these important notes, mostly, the results for Privacy Badger represent a worst-case scenario as the extension improves with usage (next benchmark I will prime it beforehand). Starting with HTTP Switchboard version 0.8.6.4, Fanboy's specialized lists are not longer enabled by default.

February 26, 2014

HTTPSB
BA/AX
HTTPSB
AA/BX
Ghostery Adblock+ Disconnect No blocker
Domains 21
22
45
46
48
49
53
54
87
88
412
413
Hosts 49
78
89
142
98
165
96
152
153
232
609
697
Scripts 0
0
171
282
176
291
175
280
252
392
525
677
Cookies 0
0
3
43
5
48
2
35
16
85
231
316
Net requests 630
1,229
941
1,710
965
1,794
920
1,698
1,063
2,018
2,120
3,048
Bandwidth 16,342,053 26,603,582 26,502,113 26,714,512 27,950,492 31,282,722

Change from previous benchmark: Starting with HTTP Switchboard version 0.8.3.0, all preset lists of blocked hosts are enabled by default, except of for the huge "assets/thirdparties/hosts-file.net/hosts.txt". This allows HTTPSB in allow-all/block-exceptionally mode to perform well when compared to other blockers.

January 24, 2014

HTTPSB
BA/AX
Ghostery Adblock+ HTTPSB
AA/BX
Disconnect No blocker
Domains 24
25
54
55
59
60
69
70
91
92
476
477
Hosts 55
82
109
183
107
169
126
200
157
240
693
785
Scripts 0
0
176
307
173
293
187
327
235
391
534
698
Cookies 0
0
4
54
1
44
10
73
12
86
299
389
Net requests 651
1,232
1,064
1,921
1,019
1,815
1,087
1,934
1,103
2,091
2,300
3,236
Bandwidth 14,935,325 25,128,116 25,150,853 25,785,433 26,007,184 28,855,067

See also

Notes

Methodology

Benchmarks were done using Browser session benchmark. The script used is:

wait 3
repeat 5
clear cache
clear cookies
http://news.yahoo.com/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
http://www.cnn.com/
http://news.google.com/
http://www.nytimes.com/
http://www.foxnews.com/
http://www.theguardian.com/
http://www.nbcnews.com/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
http://www.usatoday.com/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/
http://www.wsj.com/
http://www.abcnews.go.com/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/
http://www.latimes.com/

List taken from Top 15 Most Popular News Websites | January 2014.

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