A cookie is a harmless text file that is stored in your browser when you visit almost any website. The purpose of the cookie is to allow the website to remember your visit when you navigate back to that page. Although many people may not know this, cookies have been in use for the past 20 years, since the early days of web browsers for the World Wide Web.
What is NOT a cookie?
A cookie is not a virus, trojan, worm, spam, spyware, or pop-up window.
What information does a cookie store?
Cookies usually do not store sensitive information about you, such as credit card or bank details, photographs, your ID card, or personal information, etc. The data they store is of a technical nature, personal preferences, content personalization, etc.
The web server associates the cookie with your web browser, not with you as a person. In fact, if you regularly browse with Internet Explorer and then try to navigate the same website with Firefox or Chrome, you will notice that the website doesn’t recognize you as the same person. It’s actually associating with the browser, not with the individual.
What types of cookies exist?
- Technical cookies: These are the most basic ones and allow, among other things, to determine whether a human or an automated application is browsing, whether the user is anonymous or registered – basic tasks for the functioning of any dynamic website.
- Analytics cookies: They gather information about the type of navigation you are performing, the sections you use the most, products consulted, time of use, language, etc.
- Advertising cookies: They display advertisements based on your navigation, country of origin, language, etc.
What are first-party and third-party cookies?
First-party cookies are generated by the website you are visiting, while third-party cookies are generated by external services or providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I disable cookies?
To understand the implications of disabling cookies, we provide some examples:
- You won’t be able to share content from that website on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network.
- The website won’t be able to adapt content to your personal preferences, as commonly happens on online stores.
- You won’t have access to the personal area of that website, such as My Account, My Profile, or My Orders.
- Online shopping will become impossible; you will need to place orders over the phone or visit the physical store if available.
- You won’t be able to customize your geographic preferences, such as time zone, currency, or language.
- The website won’t be able to perform web analytics on visitors and traffic, which could hinder its competitiveness.
- You won’t be able to write on the blog, upload photos, post comments, rate or review content. The website also won’t be able to tell if you are a human or an automated application that posts spam.
- Targeted advertising won’t be possible, leading to reduced advertising revenues for the website.
Can cookies be deleted?
Yes. Not only can they be deleted, but they can also be blocked, either globally or for specific domains.
To delete cookies from a website, you need to go to your browser settings and search for those associated with the specific domain in question. Then, you can proceed to delete them.
Cookie settings for the most popular browsers:
Below, we’ll show you how to access a specific cookie in the Chrome browser. Note: these steps may vary depending on the browser version:
- Go to Settings or Preferences using the File menu or by clicking the customization icon at the top right.
- You’ll see different sections; click on the option “Show advanced options.”
- Go to Privacy, then Content Settings.
- Select “All cookies and site data”.
- A list will appear with all cookies sorted by domain. To easily find cookies from a specific domain, enter either partially or entirely the address in the “Search cookies” field.
- After applying this filter, one or several lines with cookies from the requested website will appear on the screen. Now, you only need to select the cookie and click the X to proceed with its deletion.
To access the cookie settings in the Internet Explorer browser, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Tools, then Internet Options.
- Click on Privacy.
- Adjust the slider to set your desired privacy level.
For cookie settings in the Firefox browser, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Options or Preferences depending on your operating system.
- Click on Privacy.
- Under History, choose “Use custom settings for history.”
- You will now see the option to “Accept cookies,” which you can enable or disable according to your preferences.
To access the cookie settings in the Safari browser for OSX, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Preferences, then Privacy.
- Here, you’ll find the option to “Block cookies” to adjust the type of blocking you wish to apply.
For cookie settings in the Safari browser for iOS, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Settings, then Safari.
- Proceed to Privacy and Security; you’ll find the option to “Block cookies” to adjust the type of blocking you wish to apply.
For cookie settings in the Android browser, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Open the browser and tap the Menu key, then Settings.
- Go to Security and Privacy; you’ll see the option “Accept cookies” to enable or disable the checkbox.
To access the cookie settings in the Windows Phone browser, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Open Internet Explorer, then More, then Settings.
- Now, you can enable or disable the “Allow cookies” checkbox.
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