While cookies have become a necessity for modern websites and internet infrastructure, not many people truly understand what they do and what they mean. The main essence behind cookies is that they give developers in making your visit to their website personal, and hence in bettering your overall user experience. Cookies allow websites to remember your login details (with your permission of course!) your searches, your carts, and much more. In short, they make your browsing experience convenient and breezy.
Cookies can be thought of as clues or hints, or as small pieces of data, that allow a website to detect it is your computer accessing it. However, cookies can harm your personal information and privacy and hence you need to know how to remove tracking cookies from your browsers.
What are the different types of cookies?
Cookies essentially are of two different types: magic and HTTP. Magic cookies refer to an older technology, that allowed an exchange of information packets over an internal network. HTTP cookies refer to the cookies we are familiar with in current times, and allow us to manage our experience on the web. They are especially built for web browsers and allow them to track every user’s internet session and help in identifying their web browser. Due to this tracking, this is always an underlying threat to your privacy.
HTTP cookies further have different types which include session cookies and persistent cookies. Session cookies are those which come to use only when an individual is navigating through a website and these are stored in your RAM. They get deleted once your browsing session ends and hence maintain some level of your privacy.
Persistent cookies are used for authentication and tracking purposes, and they remain in your devices indefinitely. Some persistent cookies also have an expiry date after which they expire.
What are the different uses of cookies?
Cookies are used to overall shape your experience online. Without cookies, you time spent online would be a little annoying and pushy at times. Following are the most popular uses of cookies:
- Cookies allow you the luxury of not having to login every time you leave a site. This is because they allow websites to recognize users and reinforce their online presence once they rejoin the site they left earlier.
- Cookies allow you the luxury of not having to add the same items into your cart every time you leave a site and come back to it.
- Cookies allow marketers to shape their marketing messages and approach to you and personalize it. The advertisements you see are in line with items you may have searched for elsewhere and hence are personalized to your preferences.
- Cookies allow websites to keep track of items that you may have viewed previously. Hence, website’s bots can make sense of what you like and what you don’t like.
Overall, while cookies help improve your experience online, they can also be a threat to your privacy. Whilst you marvel of the different benefits they bring, you also need to understand the threats associated with it.