What Are Cookies: Everything You Should Know

A cookie is a piece of data sent by a web server, which is stored in a file on the user’s computer, for his further identification on this site.

In simple words, a cookie is a small file on a computer by which a site subsequently identifies a user.

In this article, we will talk about what are cookies on the Internet, how do cookies work, and how to use cookies.

The cookie is sent by the browser or sent by another client.

Cookies are purely service data that are used by websites to improve the user experience and make it as complete as possible.

Without cookies, sites will no longer be personalized: for example, they will not be able to remember previously set settings language or user location.

What Are Cookies for?

Over the past decades, cookies have been used for three main purposes:

User behavior tracking. So, how do cookies track you? Cookies increase the accuracy of user history and track requests for new pages.

Thanks to cookies, you can find out exactly which sites the user has opened and how long he has been on each of them.

Site session management. It is thanks to cookies that you can add several products to the basket, close the site, return later, and then see the list of previously saved products even without registering on the site. Cookies are also used for authorization on the site.

Similarly, such a user may return to the site later and be already logged in, as the unique session ID will be stored in the cookie.

Personalization of user experience. A huge proportion of websites use cookies to remember user data.

Let’s say a user has submitted certain data about himself through a form on the site: for example, a login.

Now, when the site is reopened, the information previously specified by the user can be independently inserted into the corresponding line on the page.

Main Cookie Options

Let’s take a look at the four main cookie parameters:

  • File name;
  • The date the cookie expires;
  • max-age. Maximum cookie lifetime;
  • A site that can access cookies.

A cookie is sent every time a user tries to open a page on a website.

What Types of Cookies Exist

The whole variety of cookies can be divided into five types:

Third-party cookies. These are files created by a so-called third party. That is, these cookies are generated by a third-party source, for example, an aggregator site or an advertising system site.

This type of cookie is used by the services you love and know well: Twitter, YouTube, Google Maps, and many others.

Temporary. As you might guess, this type of cookie is stored throughout the user’s session. That is why they are also called sessions. If the user closes the browser, the temporary cookies will be deleted instantly.

Supercookies. This is a file that is not like traditional cookies. If a regular cookie is associated with a specific site (for example, with the domain name posylka.com), then supercookies are associated only with a domain zone (for example, FR or . EU).

Supercookies themselves are not dangerous, but they can be used by hackers to influence a request to another site: for example, to intercept data or compromise it.

That is why supercookies are blocked by default in all modern browsers.

Difficult to remove. These are files that are very difficult or impossible to delete. Even if the cookie was not found in the browser itself, it may be present in other applications or stores.

Thanks to a small script, it is possible to identify the user even if the cookies were not found in any browser storage.

Tracking or permanent. These cookies may live for several months after the browser is closed. They are deleted after a specified time interval or simply on a specific number.

Thanks to persistent cookies, the user does not need to enter a “login-password” pair each time.

By the way, it is this type of cookie that is used by advertising systems to record the user’s habits/interests in the long term.

Are Cookies Safe? A Few Words About Data Privacy

Today, 98% of websites politely let us know that they use cookies. Why didn’t this happen a couple of years ago?

The fact is that a special data protection law (aka GDPR) was adopted. This law was clearly worded: if a site has access to cookies, it can compromise your data privacy.

The reason for the introduction of the law is simple: before it was passed, there was a free market for cookies, and companies could transfer user cookies to each other without permission.

The GDPR solved this problem – at least on paper. Today, if you want to use websites and view the contents of their pages, you will have to accept cookies.

We hope, our article helped you understand what does cookies mean and what role a VPS provider plays here.

Joel Gomez
Joel Gomezhttps://www.gadgetclock.com
Joel Gomez is an Avid Coder and technology enthusiast. To keep up with his passion he started Gadgetclock 3 years ago in 2018. Now It's his hobby at the night :) If you have any questions/queries and just wanna chit chat about technology, shoot a mail - Joel at gadgetclock com.

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