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Cookies, also called HTTP cookies or browser cookies, are small, often encrypted files that are stored on your computer whenever a website user visits a website. Cookies are used by website owners to perform tasks and help with managing the website. With the help of cookies, the website remembers the user's preferences and other changes, made during the last visit. There are different types of cookies.
Cookies could be enabled or disabled by changing website browser settings. Depending on the device, operating system, and the internet browser, there are different ways how to enable cookies. Please read the answer to why to enable cookies and the guides on how to enable them.
Why Cookies Should be Enabled?
Many websites rely heavily on cookies. Some cookies are vital for a website to function properly. For example, if you are using an online shop and you want to put an item into your shopping bag, you will need to accept cookies to perform such an action. Disabling all cookies will log you out of all your accounts and could prevent you from using online services, such as online shopping.
Cookies can give you convenience. Cookies track website users’ activity when they surf the internet. For example, when the user logs into an account like Gmail or Facebook for the first time, he has to enter his username and password. When he visits these websites again, with the help of cookies the websites remember and show his profile username. The user just needs to enter his password. Websites also track users' location and provide the most relevant information in the users' area based on their location.
Cookies also allow compliance with the privacy laws. Through a function of geo-targeting websites get the website user's location and provide him the most relevant Cookie Banner based on his location and legal requirements of that country. The banner appears in the user language and is adapted to the relevant privacy laws, so the user could be sure that his personal data are treated according to the laws.
Should I Enable or Disable Cookies?
Each website user could choose between the convenient internet experience and the security risks based on his preferences. The user usually has three general options regarding cookie permission:
- Enable all cookies
- Disable all cookies
- Enable just first-party cookies, and disable Third-Party Cookies.
Enable all cookies. If the website user wants to have the most convenient and personalized internet experience, he should allow both first-party and Third-Party Cookies to be used on websites he visits. Websites will remember important information and user preferences, such as login data, region, language, and enhanced content. It saves time for website users, allows them to get personalized content and ads, and increases the functionality of websites. This option is recommended for the users who want to get the best internet browsing experience and the most functionality of the websites while sharing their data with website owners and third-parties.
Disable all cookies. Disabling cookies entirely is not recommended since many websites will not function normally. Disabling first-party and Third-Party Cookies will log you out of all your accounts and could prevent you from using online services, such as online shopping. You will also have to log in with full credentials every time you visit a website. If you disable all cookies, websites could not offer you personalized content, such as offering you videos or music based on your preferences and internet browsing history. If you don’t mind logging in every time you want to access a particular service, and you don't want the websites to remember your preferences, then you can disable cookies. Just be aware that you may have to turn on cookies for certain websites to access full services.
If you choose to disable all cookies, you could also block fingerprints. Fingerprinting takes place when a website owner creates a profile of your device's unique characteristics, such as the hardware, software, and add-ons you use.
Enable just first-party cookies, and disable Third-Party Cookies. The balanced option for choosing between a convenient internet browsing experience and your personal data security could be achieved by enabling first-party cookies and disabling Third-Party Cookies. In this case, the website user could use all the functions of the website normally but his personal data will not be accessed by third-parties.
If you block third-party cookies, it does not mean that you will not see advertisements on the websites. You will simply see not personalized advertisements. However, in a few years, the use of Third-Party Cookies could be limited. Google has announced that by the end of 2023 it will officially have new strategies to be able to advertise without relying solely on third-party cookies.
Some browsers, for example, Firefox, offer advanced browser privacy settings when control of the privacy and cookies settings are combined together. The user can choose one of the three main options for privacy and cookies management: Standard, Strict, and Custom. The standard option allows most of the first-party cookies that most websites need to work properly and blocks Third-Party Cookies that are often used by companies to track user behavior across multiple websites. The Strict option still allows essential first-party cookies which most websites need and blocks third-party Tracking Cookies, cryptocurrency miners, social media trackers, and fingerprinters. The Custom option gives you the biggest control over what will be allowed or blocked by Firefox.
Some browsers have an option “Do not track”, which could be turned on or off at the browser settings. By this function, you inform the website how to treat your personal data. It is turned off by default. However, it depends on a website, if this option is executed and how the website responds to the request. Many websites will still collect and use your browsing data to improve services and security, as well as collect your behavior statistics to provide you personalized ads and recommendations. Most websites, including Google's, don't change their behavior when they receive a Do not track request. Website browsers do not provide details on how websites interpret the request.
Instructions on How to Enable Cookies
Depending on the device, operating system, and the internet browser, there are different ways how to enable cookies.
As a general rule, to enable cookies, you should open your browser, find Settings, then Privacy or Site settings, select Cookies, and then turn cookies on.
Here you can find the step-by-step guides on how to enable cookies for different devices, operating systems, and browsers:
- The guide on how to enable cookies on Android.
- The guide on how to enable cookies on iPhone.
- The guide on how to enable cookies on iPad.
- The guide on how to enable cookies on Macbook.
- The guide on how to enable cookies in Chrome.
- The guide on how to enable cookies in Firefox.
- The guide on how to enable cookies in Safari.
- The guide on how to enable cookies in Edge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I enable all cookies?
No, you do not have to enable all cookies. There are some cookies, such as strictly necessary cookies, which are essential for websites to function normally. Other cookies, such as Third-Party Cookies, are used to track users between websites and display more relevant ads between websites. Disabling third-party cookies will not affect the functionality of the website. Most of the browsers have an option to enable first-party cookies and disable third-party cookies. See the guides here on how to enable or disable cookies for various browsers.
Is it OK to allow cookies?
Accepting cookies will give you the best internet browsing experience while declining cookies could prevent websites to function normally. If you want to use most of the contemporary websites' functions, such as online shopping or browsing personalized content like videos or music, you should enable cookies. See the guides here on how to enable or disable cookies for various browsers.
What happens if I don't accept cookies?
The potential problem with rejecting cookies is that you could not use some websites if you don't accept their cookies. Another drawback is that without acceptance of cookies you may not receive the full user experience on certain websites. Therefore, to enhance your online experience, you should accept cookies.
What happens when I accept cookies?
Should I accept or decline cookies?
There are options regarding cookie permission: accept all cookies, reject all cookies, or accept just first-party cookies and reject Third-Party Cookies. Enabling all cookies is recommended for the users who want to get the best internet browsing experience and who do not mind sharing their data with website owners and third-parties. Disabling cookies entirely is not recommended since many websites will not function normally. The balanced option could be to enable just first-party cookies and disable Third-Party Cookies, so the website user could use all the functions of the website normally but his personal data will not be accessed by third-parties. See the guides on how to enable or disable cookies for various browsers.