GA4 Unwanted Referrals and ignore_referrer Parameter

When a user arrives on your site by clicking on a link from another site then GA4 automatically tracks that site as a referral.

The domain names of that site is a shown as the referral-traffic sources in your reports.

However in some cases you might want to not count some referral in the traffic referral reports. Some examples of such cases are listed below.

Cases When You Might Want to Not Include Referrals in your Report

  • 3rd payment processors - Many sites use a 3rd party payment processor that takes the users to their site to make payment and then redirect the users back to the main site. In that case you don't want the 3rdy party domain to show up as referring source else every purchase will show that site as a referrer.
  • Any partner site - Sometimes you might use a partner to mange some of the operations on your site e.g. account management. In that case you might not want to treat those partner sites as referring source.
  • You network sites - If you have a lot of sites and you want to see entire user journey across them then you might not want to treat each site as a referring source.

These referring sources or referrals are called unwanted referrals in GA4.

Configure unwanted referrals

You can configure a maximum of 50 unwanted referrals per data stream.

To configure unwanted referrals, you need the Editor or Admin role on the property where you want to configure them. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to Admin panel.
  2. Under Data collection and modification, click Data streams.
  3. Click on Web and then click the web data stream that you want to configure.
  4. Click on Configure tag settings.
  5. In the Settings section, click Show all to see all the available settings.
  6. Click on List unwanted referrals.
  7. Under Include referrals that match ANY of the following conditions:
    • Choose a match type.
    • Under Domain, enter the identifier for the domain you want to match (e.g.
    • Click on Add condition to add another domain.
    • Keep repeating the above steps to add all the domains that you want to mark as unwanted referrals.
  8. Click Save.

Excluding Individual Pages instead of complete domain

If you only need to exclude certain pages as referrals then use the parameter called ignore_referrer with a value oftrue on those individual page. This can be accomplished by using gtag as shown below or setting this paramater in Google Tag Manager.

gtag('config', 'G-XXXXXXX', {
  ignore_referrer: 'true'

Automatic referral exclusion

By default GA4 will automatically remove the following domains/subdomains from the referrals.

  • Your own domain and subdomains
  • Any sites that you list in the cross-domain setup. When a user navigates across the domains that you have configured in your cross-domains list, a liner paramater _gl gets added as user navigates from one page to another. GA4 uses that to excluding the referring source.


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