IPvFox, Display All Connections A Web Page Makes

Chance is that the web pages that you are connecting to with your web browser load elements from different web servers, and not from one. This is for instance the case if a Facebook Like, Twitter or Google Plus button is displayed on the site. Sometimes though you may want to get an exact list of all connections that are made to display the contents of a web page. This can be handy to make sure that the site does not leak information to third party companies, that a site has not been hacked and that a site does not make connections to known malicious servers.

The Firefox add-on IPvFox does that in a convenient and comfortable manner. It adds an icon inside the Firefox address bar that indicates whether IPv4 or IPv6 was used to connect to the website.

More interesting than that is the list of all connections the web page made to load data. The list includes at least one server, the server the web site is hosted on, and usually a couple of additional servers.

Those servers can be content delivery networks, advertising networks, social networking buttons, third party scripts among other things.

The A Tech Girl's Life web blog for instance makes two connections. One to the web server the site is hosted on, the other to the web analytics server Google Analytics.

Both the domain name or host name, and IP address are displayed in the listing. The connection data is selectable, which means that you can copy it to the clipboard or a service on the Internet that verifies servers and IP addresses like Virus Total.

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I personally would find it more helpful if the add-on would indicate the number of connections made in the address bar directly, instead of the IPv used. Options to export the information directly would also come in handy.

Firefox users can install the IPvFox extension from the official Firefox add-on repository. The add-on requires no restart after the installation or uninstallation.



Ghostery is a similar add-on. The core difference is that IPvFox displays all connections, while Ghostery concentrates on advertising and privacy related connections.

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Responses to IPvFox, Display All Connections A Web Page Makes

  1. bastik September 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    RequstPolicy is a similar addon. Well it does block loading from other domains. It shows it too, but that's a side-effect.

    And it's a hassle to configure it. It's for geeks. IPvFox seems more end-user compatible. It shows what a web-page loads.

  2. Greria September 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    It also looks similar with httpfox or foxmeter. The second is the one I use because of its summary feature and IPvFox conflicts with it.

  3. kktkkr September 9, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Also interesting is the HttpFox addon, which displays the details of each HTTP request made by Firefox. It does not make an effort to classify them according to page, which means that you may have to enter a filter term to exclude pages that refresh frequently and RSS feeds.

    For instance, this page (with RequestPolicy enabled) makes at least 3 requests to the Ghacks domain, namely the page content, the css file, and the favicon. On the other hand, it makes 11 Google+ related requests, all of which are done over HTTPS.

    I believe HttpFox and IPvFox would be a great combination when used together.

  4. Dagger September 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    I've taken a look at the issues with httpfox/foxmeter: they do their monitoring via a hook that is apparently not quite transparent, and it stops IPvFox from working out which page a request comes from. I did manage to rejig the code so that it only fails /some/ of the time, but I think it's better off breaking completely than silently dropping some requests. At least then it's obvious that it's failing.

    I can't make it report the number of connections in the address bar, since I can't put arbitrary text in there... but I may make it possible to move the icon onto a toolbar, in which case it could show a host count next to the icon. I wrote it purely as an "am I really using IPv6?" indicator, which is why it doesn't already do this.

    Thanks for the feedback; it's appreciated.

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