WebData Management

The standard mechanism for browsing the internet and accessing web-based applications is via one or more of the following browser clients: Internet Explorer (IE), Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge (Legacy) and more recently Microsoft Edge (Chromium). These browsers each have proprietary methods for storing cookies, browsing history, temporary internet data, Document Object Model (DOM) data and other data that is generated and stored when browsing.

To provide a consistent user experience, the data generated and stored by browsers is captured as part of the user personalization settings and this data needs to be managed to provide users with an optimal and consistent user experience.

The WebData Management feature allows for the granular management of this data by administrators. The data can be sanitized and optimized based on the requirements of your organization, and results in a greatly reduced volume of data - and an enhanced end user experience.

Browser database issues

Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge (Legacy) index and store much of the web browsing data within a central database, the webcachev01.dat. Browser generated data is stored in this database, and associated data is stored in the registry and on the file system. Without management of the webcache database major issues can emerge:

Dependent on OS version, the webcache database requires 26-32MB (although this storage requirement can increase rapidly with system usage). The file size can result in delays and poor performance when users roam between devices.

Simple browsing of the local network and/or the use of Universal Apps available from the Windows store, can also add substantial bloat to the webcache files.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium), Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox, store cookies, browsing history and other supporting data in the database. The file system also stores temporary internet files, browser cache information and other data such as frequently visited sites.

In all cases, the browser database grows rapidly as users interact with the browsers. Storing and restoring this data between sessions leads to increased storage costs, greater network utilization, and often, significantly longer logon and logoff times for users.

Browser Management provides a simple solution to the problems of expanding datasets and/or increased demands for centralized storage.

Using the WebData Management feature, the administrator can define which data is stored, and which data is removed. The feature manages the contents of the browser databases, the relevant files on disk and relevant registry entries for a complete solution to this problem – and an experience seamless to the end user.

WebData Concepts

Cookie Management

Cookies are essential to enable a rich browsing experience for users. Cookies can enhance browsing for users by allowing websites to keep track of user information and preferences. Although some cookies are of real benefit to user experience, others are used for purposes such as tracking user behavior and targeting users (or computers) with advertising.

WebData Management allows you to define which cookies you want to keep and which you want to remove. This is achieved via advanced policies which provide granular control over their management. All common browsers are supported and cookies can be managed across each of them.

WebData Management removes cookies, cookie files and associated cookie data using the following methods:

Remove cookie data associated with cookies not created, modified or accessed in the last x number of days

Remove cookie data relating to the third-partyClosedA third-party cookie is data stored on a user’s computer. It is created by a website with a domain name other than the one the user is currently visiting. Third-party cookies are often used for tracking and advertising purposes to build up a picture of user habits and activities on a particular device. cookies

Remove cookie data relating to specific cookie types including known tracking and advertising cookies

Remove cookie data for expired cookies or cookies which are no longer relevant

Remove cookie data for cookies which do not contain the SecureClosedCookies can be set with a secure flag which forbids the cookie to be transmitted over simple HTTP. By default, cookies are not set with the secure flag. flag

Remove cookie data for cookies which do not contain the HttpOnlyClosedCookies can be set with a HttpOnly flag which limits the scope of the cookie and prevents the use of the cookie on the client side. By default, cookies can be set and used over HTTP and directly by the browser via JavaScript. Setting the HttpOnly flag restricts access to cookies via JavaScript at the client side. flag

Remove cookie data for defined sites

Always retain cookie data for defined sites

Browsing History Management

Web browsers use different methods to store information relating to the browsing history of users. WebData Management provides a consistent interface for administrators to manage the browsing history retained across all browsers:

Define how long to keep browsing history

Retain browsing history based on the number of calendar days or active browsing days

Remove browsing history data for specific (defined) sites

Always retain browsing history data for specific (defined) sites

Temporary Internet Files

Temporary internet files are designed to provide users with a faster web experience. The files typically contain data required by a webpage, and they are placed locally on the end user's machine. The volume of data stored quickly creates a storage burden. Typically, this data is discarded between sessions.

DOM Store Data

Website Document Object Model (DOM) data is stored when users visit a website. DOM data holds web page structures and can speed up browsing and navigation. The DOM data is often stored in the form of XML, HTML or JScript files. As users visit multiple sites, so the data increases. WebData Management enables granular control of the DOM data stored by each browser ensuring only required DOM data is retained.

Compatibility Data

For Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge (Legacy), the webcache database holds compatibility data. This data comprises a default set of URLs provided by Microsoft and its purpose is to ensure that older websites are rendered correctly in newer browsers for example. WebData Management allows for the default list of URLs to be removed and so reduces the size of the webcache database.

Enterprise Mode Data

Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge (Legacy) both have Enterprise Mode capabilities built in. This allows administrators to define how websites are rendered for compatibility. 

Regardless of whether Enterprise Mode is used, the webcache database is populated with data related to Enterprise Mode. WebData Management allows for this data to be deleted from webcache to keep the size of the file down to the minimum required.

When Microsoft Edge (Chromium) is used in IE Mode the Internet Explorer browser is also used to provide website compatibility. When used in this manner, Internet Explorer stores the additional data in the webcache. Again, the WebData Management enables control of this data.

Windows Store Applications

Windows Store Applications were introduced with Windows 8. These applications (known as Store apps, Universal Web Platform (or UWP) apps, Modern UI apps or Metro apps) store browser data in both the file system and the webcache database. Much of the data generated and stored is not required. WebData Management allows for Windows Store app data to be removed, ensuring only relevant data for the user is retained.

Data Optimization

Once the configured Browser Management policies have been applied, WebData Management optimizes the user's web browser databases. This ensures redundant data is cleared and residual space is reclaimed. The resulting size of the web databases is greatly reduced. This optimization minimizes demands on the supporting infrastructure and helps ensure better logon/logoff times for users. This functionality is provided across all supported browsers; Microsoft Edge (Chromium), Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox databases are similarly optimized.

Extension Locale Removal

For organizations using Microsoft Edge (Chromium) or Google Chrome WebData Management provides an option to help manage the data related to extensions that have been installed. Often extensions come with support for over 40 different locales which are not required by most users.

WebData Management provides a mechanism to remove any locales which are not required. This reduces the size and complexity of the data that is stored by each extension. Locales can be defined for retention or removal as required. The default locale for each extension is always retained.

Extension Removal

WebData Management allows you to choose which Microsoft Edge (Chromium) or Google Chrome extensions should be retained, and which should be removed. WebData Management can be configured to whitelist, or blacklist extensions based on requirements. Any extensions that do not match the policy are removed (or retained) accordingly.

Related Topics

Ivanti Browser Management

Browser Redirector

Favorites Synchronization

Browser Management – Default Configuration