What is a cookie?
A cookie is an inoffensive text file stored in your browser when you visit almost any website. The purpose of cookies is for the website to be able to remember your visit when you return to that page. Although many people are not aware of this, cookies have been used for 20 years ever since the first World Wide Web browsers were developed.
What is NOT a cookie?
It’s not a virus, a trojan, a worm, spam or spyware and they do not open pop-up windows.
What information is stored by a cookie?
Cookies do not usually store sensitive information about you like your credit or bank card number, photograph, ID number or any personal information, etc. The data stored are of a technical nature, your personal preferences, content personalization, etc.
The web server does not associate them with you as a person but rather with your web browser. In fact, if you habitually use Internet Explorer and try browsing the same website with Firefox or Chrome, you will see how the website does not realize you’re the same person because in all reality, the cookies are associated with the browser and not the person.
What types of cookies exist?
- Technical Cookies: They are the most basic kind and, among other things, make it possible to know when a human or an automatic application is browsing, when an anonymous or non-registered user is browsing in addition to enabling basic tasks for the functioning of any dynamic website.
- Analysis Cookies: They collect information on the type of browsing being done, the sections most used, the products viewed, the times of use, language, etc.
- Advertising Cookies: They are used to show advertising based on your browsing habits, country of origin, language, etc.
What are first-party and third-party cookies?
First-party cookies are generated by the website you visit and third-party cookies are generated by external services or providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I disable cookies?
In order for you to understand the effects of disabling cookies, here are a few examples:
- You may not be able to share content from that website on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
- The website may not adapt the content to your personal preferences as often occurs with online shops.
- You may not be able to access your personal area on the site such as My account, My profileor My orders.
- Online shops: It will be impossible to make online purchases; you will have to do so by phone or by visiting the physical shop if there is one.
- You will not be able to personalize your geographic preferences such as time zone, currency or language.
- The website will not be able to do web analytics on visitors and traffic at the site which will make it difficult for the site to be competitive.
- You won’t be able to write on the blog, upload photos, publish comments or rate or score content. The website also won’t be able to know whether you’re a human or automatic application publishing spam.
- No targeted advertising may be displayed which reduces the site’s advertising revenue.
Can cookies be deleted?
Yes. Not only can you delete them, but you can also block them in general or individually for a specific domain.
To delete cookies from a website, you must go to your browser settings and then search for the cookies associated with the domain in question and then delete them.
Configuring cookies for the most popular browsers
What follows are some instructions to access a certain cookie when using Chrome. Note: these steps may vary based on your browser version.
- Go to Settings or Preferences via the File menu or by clicking on the customization icon at the top right.
- You will see different options. Click on the option Show advanced options.
- Go to Privacy, Site settings.
- Select All cookies and site data.
- A list will appear with all the cookies arranged by domain. In order to more easily find the cookies for a certain domain, partially or fully enter the address in the Search for cookies field.
- After this filtering, you will see one or more lines with cookies for that website on the screen. Now, you just select them and click on the X to delete them.
To access the cookies settings when using Internet Explorer, follow these steps (they may vary based on your browser version):
- Go to Tools, Internet Options
- Click on Privacy.
- Slide to adjust the desired privacy level.
To access the cookies settings when using Firefox, follow these steps (they may vary based on your 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 then see the option Accept cookies, you may enable or disable it as preferred.
To access the cookies settings when using Safari for OSX, follow these steps (they may vary based on your browser version):
- Go to Preferences, then Privacy.
- You will see the option Block cookies to adjust the type of block you’d like.
To access the cookies settings when using Safari for iOS, follow these steps (they may vary based on your browser version):
- Go to Settings, then Safari.
- Go to Privacy and Security and you will see the option Block cookies to adjust the type of block you’d like.
To access the cookies settings for your browser when using Android devices, follow these steps (they may vary based on your browser version):
- Run the browser and click on Menu, then Settings.
- Go to Security and Privacy, you will see the option Accept cookies to enable or disable the box.
To access the cookies settings for your browser when using Windows Phone devices, follow these steps (they may vary based on your browser version):
- Open Internet Explorer, then More, then Content settings
- Now you can enable or disable the Allow cookies box.