What a Website Loads onto Your Computer

Back in October 2015, I made a video of me going to the Forbes.com homepage and navigating to one of the top articles, scrolling to the bottom (as I would if reading it) and then back to the top while seeing what was loading.

In addition to seeing the same Mercedes ad 11 times on the right hand side of the page, the video will show you:

  • On the left: a Charles Proxy session showing you what URLs are loading on the page (Charles is like the super-pro version of something like Ghostery)
  • On the right: my (Chrome for Mac) web browser. Note you may need to make it full screen/HD to see the details vs. watching in embedded mode

In order for me to read that one article I had to receive 1,083 URL calls from 197 different domains adding up to 18.3 Megabytes of data. I closed any videos as soon as I could if they had the ability to do so.

Is it worth it? I like Alex Konrad and the article was probably a good one, but given I’m not sure where my data is going, or who some of these entities are (jwpltx.com? wishabi.com?) I just don’t know.

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Our mission is to help people understand how websites and advertising companies are using their attention, personal data, and mobile bandwidth, and encourages discussion between people and the ad/data/publishing industries

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