What are cookies?
A cookie is a text file stored on a user’s web browser on any device they use to access a site that contains information about the user’s visit, such as preferences. When the user returns, the browser provides the cookie with the information stored for the site.
What are cookies used for?
Cookies are used to adjust the content of a site to suit user preferences and to optimize the site. They store useful information that enhances the user experience of a website. They are most commonly used for:
Storing login information so that a user does not need to re-login on each visit.
Recognizing a user’s device type navigates with any preferences and applied to optimizing the site specifically for the device.
Creating statistics that help site owners understand how their users interact with their site, allowing them to improve their structure and content.
What types of cookies are used?
There are two types of cookies: persistent cookies and session cookies. Persistent cookies remain on your hard drive for a period of time specified in the cookie file parameters or even manually removed. When you return to a site and it requires you to log in again, despite storing your login information in advance, it is usually because the persistent cookie has expired; which helps increase security while maintaining accessibility.
Session cookies, on the other hand, are used temporarily and expire once the site or browser is closed. They are used to monitor user activity on a site during a single visit. When a site requires you to check your age or location once each visit before allowing you to view the content and without the need for additional personal details, it is a session cookie at work.
Do cookies include personal data?
If there is a need for the collection of personal information, such as for account creation, then the cookie may store personal information. However, it is required by data protection law that users are informed about the collection of personal data. This data will also be encrypted to make it inaccessible to unauthorized users.
Dealing with cookies
By default, browsers are set to accept cookies. However, these settings may be changed to block cookies entirely, or to inform the user each time they are used. Detailed information about cookies and the options associated with them is available in each browser’s settings.