Cookies are delicious baked trea- Oh sorry for a moment there I forgot I worked for a tech company. Of course we’re actually talking about the other type of cookies you may have heard of, browser cookies. But what are they and why does it matter to you?
Browser cookies, also known as HTTP cookies, web cookies or internet cookies are a small but essential part of browsing the web, without them many websites would not be able to function properly. Whenever you go onto a website a text file is created which is usually saved on your web browser (think chrome, internet explorer, firefox etc.), these text files are called cookies.
Cookies are what allows a website to remember you, so when you’re logged in to your email account for example if you close down the page and re open it later, the website will read the cookies it left on your browser and identify who you are. This means you won’t have to log in every time you open the website on a new page.
Cookies are actually separated into three main different categories.
Session Cookies – These are the cookies that are only active whilst you’re browsing that website, as soon as you close the website the cookies are deleted.
Tracking Cookies – These are the cookies that are saved to your browser long term and track your activity on that website.
Authentication Cookies – When you log into a website these identify your account and confirm to the website that you are logged in and what name you’re logged in with.
Cookies are not without controversy however. You see cookies are often used by companies to gather information about your browsing habits and they use that to target advertisements towards you. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it does raise some privacy concerns. Have you ever had that thing happen to you where you’ll be searching for a product online and then later you’ll find that you keep getting advertisements for those types of products on other websites you visit? I know I have and it’s cookies which are responsible for that.
Overall cookies are not something to be massively worried about but it’s always good practice to know what you’re doing online and what websites are doing to track you. You can’t completely disable all cookies for every website because they rely on them to perform basic functions however you can limit the amount of data these websites are keeping on you and it’s your right to do so.
If you want to delete your cookies for whatever reason then you can do this in the settings of your internet browser but remember that you’ll get signed out of any websites you were previously logged into so make sure you know all your passwords.
Well now that I’ve said cookie about a hundred times the word sounds strange to me, hopefully i’ve not made you too hungry with this article, thank you for reading!