AdWords is now Google Ads. Our new name reflects the full range of advertising options we offer across Search, Display, YouTube, and more. Learn more

4.4K members online now
4.4K members online now
Learn to identify referral spam traffic, as well as best practices to reduce referral spam in your Google Analytics account
Guide Me

Valid Hostname Filter: Exclude Spam, Ghost Referrals

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 1
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

Hi there,


The situation
When you create the valid hostname filter in GA you essentially filter in valid traffic, ie, your GA reporting counts humans using real hostnames to access websites, right?  You therefore eliminate ghost spam.


The Challenge
Avoid creating filters and filters and filters to exclude spam referrals (such as:


  1. The questions
    Is there a difference between Spam Referrals ( and Spam Ghost (what you see in GA: Audience > Network > Hostname)
  2. Is the Valid Hostname filter enough to also exclude the Spam Referrals ( from GA or do you need to
    add the source to a filter each time a new spam referrals shows up?

Ghost Spam Bonus Question
I have the valid hostname filter and 99.89% of sessions happen in a valid hostname. However, the remaining .11% of sessions happen in the following hostnames:


The traffic size is totally irrelevant, but since it still collects Ghost spam, is there anything left to be done so we eliminate them?


Thanks in advance!

1 Expert replyverified_user

Valid Hostname Filter: Exclude Spam, Ghost Referrals

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Host-based filters are the easiest to go about this issue.

If you're technically enclined, read up on this topic for alternatives:


VP & Chief Evangelist at Hub'Scan | Contact me
Level 80 Digital Analytics Warrior, KPI Therapist and Keeper of the One True Tagging Plan