What is URL trimming and how does it work?
URL trimming is the practice of removing tracking parameters tacked on to URL links by many websites. These extra bits of code dictate where you’re going and what you’re telling about yourself when you get there. The NordVPN URL trimming feature automatically snips off unhashed tracking parameters added to links, protecting your privacy as you browse the internet.
How do I use the NordVPN URL trimmer?
Simple — all you have to do is turn NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature on. The URL trimmer will automatically start removing tracking parameters from links.
Why you should trim URLs
The benefit of URL trimming is simple — increased privacy. URL tracking parameters can reveal which site you came from, what kind of link you clicked, and even which keywords you used in a previous search. Marketers, web analysts, or online spies can use this information to profile you, analyze your habits, and identify your interests.
In addition, tracking parameters make the URL significantly longer and more dangerous to share. Copying and pasting such a link not only results in a wall of text but also reveals all the tracking information to anyone you give it to.
Is a site using URL tracking parameters?
For unhashed URLs, finding out if they have any tracking parameters is easy — simply look for a question mark (“?”) in the address bar or the link you’re about to click. If it’s there, the URL contains one or more tracking parameters, each separated by an ampersand (“&”). However, keep in mind that some URLs might have hashed trackers even without a question mark.
Clean URL example
Tracking parameters in URL
Frequently asked questions
How do I trim a URL for free?
NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature includes a free URL trimmer — no extra charge necessary. Once you get a NordVPN subscription, simply activate Threat Protection and it will start scrubbing tracking parameters automatically.
Are there any disadvantages to trimming URLs?
For this reason, you can toggle NordVPN’s URL trimmer off without compromising the rest of our Threat Protection features. In the NordVPN app, click the shield icon on the left-hand side, press “Settings” in the Threat Protection tab that opens, and switch “Tracking URLs” off.