What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small text file that is stored in your browser when you visit almost any website. It makes it possible for the website to recognize that you are visiting the site again. Although many people do not know it, cookies have been used for 20 years now, since the emergence of the first World Wide Web browsers.
What is NOT a cookie?
It is not a virus, or a Trojan, or a worm, or a spam, or a spyware, or a pop-up.
What kind of information is in a cookie?
Cookies do not usually store sensitive information about you, such as credit cards or bank details, photos, your personal ID number, etc. They store technical data, personal preferences, customizing of contents, etc.
The web server does not associate you as a person, but your web browser. In fact, if you usually browse with Internet Explorer and try to browse the same webpage with Firefox or Chrome, you will see that the web does not realize that you are the same person since it is actually associating the browser, not the person.
What kind of cookies are there?
- Technical cookies: These are the most basic ones and allow, among other things, to know when a human is browsing a web and when an automated application, or a registered user or an anonymous user. These cookies perform basic tasks in the functioning of any dynamic website.
- Analytic cookies: These gather information about the type of browsing you are conducting, the sections you use most, products you view, time slot of the use, language, etc.
- Advertising cookies: These display advertisement in accordance with your browsing, your country of origin, language, etc.
What are own cookies and third-party cookies?
Our own cookies are those generated by the website visited and the third-party cookies are those generated by services or external suppliers like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I disable the cookies?
The following are some consequences that may result from disabling the cookies:
- You will not be able to share contents of the web on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
- The website will not be able to adapt contents to your personal preferences, as it happens in online shops.
- You will not be able to access personal areas of the web, such as My account, or My profile or My orders.
- Online shopping: It will be impossible for you to buy online, and you will have to do it either on the phone or visiting the physical shop if available.
- It will be impossible to customize your geographical preferences such as time slot, currency or language.
- The website will not be able to conduct web analysis about visitors and traffic on the web, which will hinder web’s competitiveness.
- You will not be allowed to write on the blog, upload photos, publish comments, evaluate or rate content. The web will not be able to know if you are a human or an automated application which sends spam.
- It will not be possible to display targeting advertisement, which will reduce the web advertising income.
Is it possible to delete cookies?
Yes. Not only delete, but also block them, in a general or a particular way for a specific domain.
In order to delete cookies from a website, you have to go to your browser’s configuration where you can find those associated to a specific domain and proceed with their deletion.
Cookies settings for the most popular browsers
Here’s how to manage a particular cookie in Chrome browser. Note: These steps may vary depending on the version of the browser:
- Go to Settingsor Preferences via the File menu or by clicking on customization shown above on the right.
- Click the Show Advanced Options
- Go to PrivacySettings
- Select All cookies and site data.
- List of all cookiesordered by domain appears. To find the cookies of a given domain more easily, enter the partial or full address in the search field cookies.
- The requested web cookies will appear on the screen. Select it and press X to proceed with removal.
To access cookie settings in Internet Explorer, follow these steps (may vary depending on your browser version):
- Go to Tools, Internet Options.
- Click on Privacy.
- Move the slider to adjust the level of privacy you want.
To access the cookie settings for Firefox browser, follow these steps (may vary depending on your browser version):
- Go to Optionsor Preferences, depending on your operating system.
- Click on Privacy.
- In History, choose Use custom settings for history.
- Now you will see the Accept Cookies You can activate or deactivate them according to your preferences.
To access cookie settings for OSX Safari browser, follow these steps (may vary depending on your browser version):
- Go to Settings, then Privacy.
- Here you can see the option “Blockcookies”. You can choose the type of block you want to perform.
To access cookie settings for iOS Safari browser, follow these steps (may vary depending on your browser version):
- Go to Settings, then Safari.
- Go to Privacy & Security, you will see the option “Block cookies”. You can choose the type of block you want to perform.
To access cookie settings in Android devices, follow these steps (may vary depending on your browser version):
- Run the browser and press Menu, then Settings
- Go to Security and Privacy. You will see the “Accept Cookies”option which you can check or uncheck.
To access cookies settings in Windows Phone devices, follow these steps (may vary depending on your browser version):
- Open Internet Explorer, then click More, then Settings.
- Now you can enable or disable the “Allow cookies” option.