What Are Cookies & How Do They Work

Nov 17, 2019 12:21pm

 

Learn what cookies actually are and what function do they have.

 

If you have ever used the Internet, you have definitely heard about cookies. Everyone you ask would have an opinion on what cookies are, how they work and how you should be careful with them.

There is definitely a lot of controversy around the topic, however, the truth is that not many people are indeed aware of what a cookie actually is and why it sits on a website. If you want to have a greater overview and form your own opinions, this blog explains exactly that in an objective way.

 

What Are Cookies & How Do They Work?

 

 

A cookie or an HTTP cookie is a virtual piece of information that is being sent to your browsing device as soon as you land on a website. It stores your information and can recognise if this is your first time using that website or the ninetieth.

The paranoia around cookies comes from the fact that it is a way of those organisations storing your information without your approval, in order to market to you. The good thing about cookies that not many people are knowledgeable of is the fact that based on the cookie that is placed on your device, once you visit that website again, your experience would be optimised.

It is a way for the website to tailor particular content towards you and let you browse with ease. Cookies are particularly smart and can analyse how you navigate through the site, how long you spent on it and even what links you click.

How Long Do Cookies Last For? 

 

Cookies are normally made to expire after the browser is closed, however, they can be modified for a specific amount of time, which can be edited on the cookie settings.

 

What Are The Legislations Around Cookies?

 

 

In May 2011, there was a new EU law put in place that explicitly states that all websites should request consent from the browsing individuals whether they can store their information or not. You might have noticed the change, when you land on a page now a window will pop up, asking you to allow cookies or block them. Some websites will not let you browse unless you agree to it and some websites, mostly in the US, will simply not let you browse once they detect that your location is in the EU. 

 

How Do I Manage My Cookies?

 

Cookies are not harmful to your device or browser in any way but it can be quite off-putting for users to have their information stored by others or have various advertisements following them around the web. 

 

Getting rid of the installed cookies is an easy process that can be done by anyone. All you need to do is open your browser, Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, etcetera - it’s where the cookies live and find your “Privacy” section on that default browser. From there you can choose to delete all cookies, set preferences for future cookie activity and even block all cookies. Note that blocking all cookies can influence your browsing activity and you might not be able to navigate through most websites. 

 

How Do Cookies Influence Businesses? 

 

 

If your business has a website then you need to stay updated with all news and regulations regarding cookies. Making sure you comply with the relevant low is crucial for your organisation and failing to do so will result in getting a fine or it might have even more serious implications. 

You need to assure that your website visitors are feeling secure browsing through and don’t lose trust in your brand.

You can do that by simply being aware of what cookies you are using, making sure your visitors know about it and have complied with it. 

 

 

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