One of the tools that you can use to visualize web dependencies is to run Mozilla's Lightbeam add-on for the Firefox web browser.
It visualizes all sites that you visit directly and also sites that are loaded during connection automatically by the server you are connecting to.
Most Internet websites load third-party resources when you connect to them. This can be required content to function properly such as files on a CD or image subdomain but also third-party tools like social networking widgets or advertisement.
Lightbeam records all connections that are made and displays the information to you in a graph by default.
Since it links all sites, you know exactly what has been opened by a website you loaded in Firefox. This can be interesting to analyze a sites load behavior for example.
While the add-on's visualization mode may look nice, it is the list view that may prove to be more useful than that.
It lists all first and third-party sites you visited, highlights first and last access and the number of sites connected to the resource.
You can sort the table with a click on a column header, for instance to display sites that make lots of connections at the very top.
The most recent Lightbeam update (to version 1.2) integrates Firefox's Tracking Protection system. It displays a prominent switch at the top right that you can flip to enable it in all versions of the browser.
You find information about the Tracking Protection feature which Mozilla added recently to Firefox with a click on the link.
Unlike full blockers, it is only blocking known tracking domains by default. Blocking those domains should not affect browsing as they are not usually needed to display a site properly in the browser.
Lightbeam improves the tracking protection feature by adding an option to Firefox to block individual sites.
You can do so in list view or when you are displaying detailed information about a particular site you connected to.
In List View, select one or multiple websites you want to block and click on the block site button at the bottom afterwards.
This blocks access to them in Firefox and prevents that connections are established. While designed with tracking sites in mind, it can be used to block any site. So, if you want to never ever visit the Huffington Post website again, you can block it using the feature.
When you select a site, it displays its location in the world (country that is) as well which can be useful to know.
Adding tracking protection to Lightbeam makes sense as the two go well hand in hand. The add-on was a bit buggy though, it would not visualize third-party site connections for instance in the graph. (via Sören Hentzschel)Advertisement
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