What is a cookie?
A cookie is a harmless text file that is stored in your browser when you visit almost any website. The value of the cookie is that the web is able to remember your visit when you return to browse the same website. Not many people are aware that cookies have being around and in use for almost 20 years since the creation of web browsers for surfing the World Wide Web.
What cookies aren’t
Cookies are neither viruses nor Trojans, worms, spams, spyware or popups.
What information can you store in a cookie?
Cookies do not usually store sensitive information about you such as credit card or bank account details, photos, your ID or personal information. For example, the data stored in cookies are technical, personal preferences, content personalization, etc.
The web server will not associate you as a person; it will solely create an association with your web browser. In fact, if you regularly browse using Internet Explorer and try to browse the same web with Firefox or Chrome you will see that the web does not realize that you are the same person because you are actually associating the browser, not the person.
What kind of cookies are there?
- Technical cookies: These are the most basic types of cookies. They allow a level of distinction between when a website user is human or an automated application, or the person navigating is anonymous or registered on the site, and basic tasks for running any dynamic web.
- Analysis cookies: These collect information on the type of navigation being carried out, the sections you use most, products viewed, times of use, language, etc.
- Advertisement based cookies: These show advertising based on navigation, country of origin, language, etc.
What are first party and third party cookies?
First party cookies are those generated by the page you are visiting and third party cookies are generated by internal or external providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if you disable cookies?
- To better understand what occurs when you disable cookies, we will show you some examples:
- You will not be able to share content of the site on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
- The web site will not adapt content to your personal preferences, as in the case of online stores.
- You cannot access the client area of a website, such as your personal account, or your order or order history.
- Online Shopping: It would be impossible to make purchases online.
- It will not be possible to customize your geographic preferences, time zone, currency or language.
- The web site will not be able to perform web analysis regarding web visitors or traffic making it difficult to have a competitive website.
- You will find it difficult to blog; you would not be able to upload pictures, post comments or rate contents. The web would not know whether you are a human or an automated application that publishes spam.
- If you generate income from advertisements shown on your site, then disabling or removing cookies would seriously reduce the amount of income generated.
Can I delete cookies?
Yes you can delete cookies. Furthermore, you can also block, or remove cookies pertaining to specific domains.
To remove specific cookies from a particular domain, go to your browser settings and find those associated to the domain, then delete them.
Cookie settings for the most popular browsers
We will now show you how to access a particular cookie in Google Chrome. Note: these steps may vary depending on browser version:
- Go to Settings or Preferences using the File menu or by clicking the list icon on the far top right of the browser.
- You will see different sections, click on Show Advanced Options.
- Go to Privacy, Content Settings.
- Select All cookies and site data.
- You will see a list of all cookies organized by domain. To make it easier to find the cookies of a given domain just enter the name of the domain in the search field.
- Once the domain that you want to delete appears, select it and press X to delete it.
To access the cookie settings in Internet Explorer follow these steps. Note: these steps may vary depending on browser version:
- Go to Tools, Internet Options
- Click on Privacy.
- Move the slider to adjust the level of privacy you require.
To access the settings of Firefox browser cookies follow these steps. Note: these steps may vary depending on browser version:
- Go to Options or Preferences depending on your operating system.
- Click on Privacy.
- In History, choose Use custom settings for history.
- Now you will see the Accept Cookies option, you can enable or disable it according to your preferences.
To access the cookie settings for OSX Safari browser follow these steps. Note: these steps may vary depending on browser version:
- Scroll to Settings, then go to Privacy.
- Here you will see Block cookies to fit the type of blocking you want to perform.
To access the cookie settings for iOS Safari browser follow these steps. Note: these steps may vary depending on browser version:
- Go to Settings, then Safari.
- Then go to Privacy and Security, you will see the Block cookies option that allows you to choose the type of blocking you require.
To access the browser’s cookie settings for Android devices follow these steps. Note: these steps may vary depending on browser version:
- Start the browser and press Menu, then go to Settings.
- Go to Security and Privacy, you will see the Accept Cookies option. You can check or uncheck the box.
To access the browser cookie settings for Windows Phone devices follow these steps. Note: these steps may vary depending on browser version:
- Open Internet Explorer go to More, then go to Settings
- Now you can enable or disable the Allow cookies check box.