Evaluating the Long-term Effects of Parameters on the Characteristics of the Tranco Top Sites Ranking


Victor Le Pochat, Tom Van Goethem, and Wouter Joosen, imec-DistriNet, KU Leuven

Long Extended Work Paper


Although researchers often use top websites rankings for web measurements, recent studies have shown that due to the inherent properties and susceptibility to manipulation of these rankings, they potentially have a large and unknown influence on research results and conclusions. As a response, we provide Tranco, a research-oriented approach for aggregating these rankings transparently and reproducibly.

We analyze the long-term properties of the Tranco ranking and determine whether it contains a balanced set of domains. We compute how well Tranco captures websites that are responsive, regularly visited and benign. Through one year of rankings, we also examine how the default parameters of Tranco create a stable, robust and comprehensive ranking.

Through our evaluation, we provide an understanding of the characteristics of Tranco that are important for research and of the impact of parameters on the ranking composition. This informs researchers who want to use Tranco in a sound and reproducible manner.

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@inproceedings {238256,
author = {Victor Le Pochat and Tom Van Goethem and Wouter Joosen},
title = {Evaluating the Long-term Effects of Parameters on the Characteristics of the Tranco Top Sites Ranking},
booktitle = {12th USENIX Workshop on Cyber Security Experimentation and Test (CSET 19)},
year = {2019},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/cset19/presentation/lepochat},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug