What is a cookie?
A cookie is a harmless text file which your web browser stores when you visit almost any webpage. Cookies allow a website to remember when you come back to it. In spite of it, not many people know that cookies have been used for more than 20 years, when the first internet browsers came up.
What is NOT a cookie?
It is not a virus, a Trojan, worm, spam, spyware, nor a pup-up window.
What information does a cookie store?
Cookies usually do not store sensitive information, such as credit card or bank details, photos, your ID or personal information, etc. The data cookies keep are related to technical matters, personal preferences, content, etc.
The web server does link you as person; it links your computer browser. In fact, if you normally use Internet Explorer for browsing and then try to browse the same website using Firefox or Chrome you will see that the website does not know that you are the same person because it actually links the computer browser not the person.
What types of cookies are there?
- Technical cookies: are the basic ones which allow, among other things, to identify when a human or a robot is browsing, to know basic tasks for proper functionality of dynamic websites.
- Analytical cookies: collect information regarding the type of browsing, the most visited sections, the most viewed products, time-zone usage, language, etc.
- Advertising cookies: show advertising according to your browsing, your country, language, etc.
What are own and third-party cookies?
Own cookies are the ones generated by the website you visit. Third-party cookies are created by external services and providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens when I disable cookies?
So you may understand the consequences of disabling cookies, we give you some examples:
- You will not be able to share the website contents on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
- The website will not be able to adapt its contents to your personal preferences, as online stores do.
- You will not be able to access to your personal area in that website. For example, My Account, My Profile or My Orders.
- You will not be able to buy from store son-line, you will only be able to buy by phone or personally.
- Customization of your geographical preferences, such as time-zone, currency or language will not be possible.
- The website will not be able to analyze its visitors and web traffic, therefore will hinder the website’s competitiveness.
- You will not be able to write on the website’s blog, upload photos, publish comments, nor assess contents. The website will not be able to know whether you are human or a spam robot.
- Segment-oriented advertisements will not be shown, therefore reducing advertising income from the website.
Can cookies be deleted?
Yes. Not only delete them, but block them as well, for a specific domain.
For deleting cookies of a given website you must go to your browser’s configuration where you will find the cookies associated to the domain and proceed to its deletion.
Cookies configuration for the most popular web browsers
Follow these steps for configuring cookies in Google Chrome (steps may vary depending on the browser’s version).
- Click on Chrome menu icon.
- Select Settings.
- Select Show advanced settings.
- In the “Privacy” section, select Content settings.
- Select Block sites from setting any data.
- Select Done.
Follow these steps for configuring Internet Explorer cookies (steps may vary depending on the browser’s version).
- Select the gear icon on the upper-right corner of the screen, then select “Internet Options“.
- Click the “Privacy” tab.
- Move the slide to select the desired security level.
- Select “OK” when done.
Follow these steps for configuring Firefox (steps may vary depending on the browser’s version):
- Depending on your operating systems, go to Options or Preferences.
- Click on Privacy.
- From History, choose the Use a custom configuration option.
- The Accept Cookies options allows you disable or enable them as you wish.
Follow these steps for configuring Safari for OSX (steps may vary depending on the browser’s version):
- Go to Preferences, then Privacy.
- From the Disable Cookies option, select the type of disabling of your choice.
Follow these steps for configuring Safari for iOS (steps may vary depending on the browser’s version):
- Form Settings, choose Safari.
- From Privacy and Security, choose the Disable cookies option to adjust the type of disabling of your choice.
Follow these steps for configuring cookies on the browser of Android devices (steps may vary depending on the browser’s version):
- From the browser, click on the Menu key, then select Settings.
- Go to Security and Privacy, where you see the Accept Cookies option, so you may enable or disable them.
Follow these steps for configuring cookies on the browser of Windows Phones (steps may vary depending on the browser’s version):
- Open the Internet Explorer, then click on More, and then Settings
- Check the enable-disable cookies box as you wish.