Website cookies, also known as HTTP cookies, browser cookies, or internet cookies, are small text files, stored on the user’s device while the user is browsing a website. Cookies on websites have a unique, randomly generated ID which is used to identify and remember the particular browser or device. There are two copies of cookies: one is stored on the user's device and another one is stored on the website. Cookies are used for a range of purposes, that are beneficial for both users and website owners.
What are Cookies Used for on Websites?
Cookies are used by website owners to perform tasks and help with managing the website. With the help of cookies on websites, the website remembers the user's preferences and other changes, made during the last visit.
Website cookies are used for many functions, including:
- Cookies increase the internet browsing experience. Website cookies track how users interact with a website. They also track users' preferences, location, and provide the most relevant information based on these criteria. Websites could suggest products and services, based on the user's location.
- Website cookies personalize your internet activity. When you log into your account like Gmail or Facebook for the first time, you have to enter your username and password. When you visit these websites again, website cookies remember your username. Cookies allow for the e-Commerce websites, such as Amazon and others, to offer you the products the most relevant to you, or for YouTube to show you videos of your interest, so you can see personalized and relevant content.
- Cookies keep your payment information secure and protect your personal information.
- Website cookies show you personalized and relevant ads. Website owners, especially third-parties, track your internet activity, count, how many times you visit their sites, or which sites or products you prefer. Based on that, they could show you personalized ads between cross-websites and cross-devices. If you reject cookies on a website, it does not mean that you will not see ads, it simply means that you will see ads not relevant to you.
- Cookies allow compliance with privacy laws. Different countries have different regulations regarding the users' personal information. CookieScript has a function of geo-targeting that allows websites to get the user's location and provide him an adequate Cookie Banner based on his location and legal requirements of that country, so the user could be sure that his personal data are treated according to the laws. The cookie banner also appears in the user's language.
Types of Cookies
Cookies can be separated by party – they can either be first or third-party, depending on how they have been created and from which server cookies on a website are stored on the user’s browser.
First-party cookies are stored directly on the domain or website the user visits. They collect data for analytical purposes and remember user settings, including sign-in details, online shopping cart items, and website settings, such as language. First-party cookies cannot be used to track user activities on other websites. Most of the first-party cookies are strictly necessary cookies, which are needed for the website’s performance and are always active.
Third-Party Cookies are cookies that are set by a website other than the one you are currently on. Third-Party Cookies are usually used for advertising purposes and are placed on a website by adding scripts or tags. A third-party cookie is accessible on a website that loads the third-party server’s code. Online advertising is the most common use of Third-Party Cookies. By adding their scripts to a page, advertisers can track a user across many websites they visit and across devices.
Website cookies are also classified by category or security. Please visit our blog article on different types of web cookies.
Scan your website for free to know what cookies your website uses.
What is cookie compliance?
In the USA, different states have different regulations for cookie compliance. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which took effect on January 1, 2020, was the first data privacy law in the US. The Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) will go into effect on January 1, 2023, the Colorado Privacy Act will take effect on July 1, 2023, and the Utah Consumer Privacy Act will take effect on December 31, 2023.
There are also other privacy laws regulating Cookie Consent compliance such as the Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD), Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), and others.
There are implied or explicit cookie consent modes, which regulate user data tracking and management. Implied Cookie Consent mode allows you to track your activity and collect personal information when visiting a website. If a website user accepts implied Cookie Consent mode, all cookies are dropped on the user's device, the user is just informed about cookies, and cookies are deleted only if the user specifically asks to delete cookies. Explicit Cookie Consent mode means rejecting permission to track your activity and collect personal information when visiting a website.
For consent to be valid as per the GDPR, the consent has to be:
- freely given
Additionally, GDPR also requires Cookie Consent to be revocable. The website user has the right to withdraw his consent at any time he wishes, and withdrawing the Cookie Consent should be as easy as it was to give it.
The cookie consent must also be demonstrable. According to GDPR, companies or websites must maintain a record of user consent to prove that they have collected consent before collecting personal data from users.
Scan your Website for Cookies for Free
CookieScript Consent Management Platform is easy to use and complies with the latest privacy regulations for website cookies. If you want to build a safe and trustworthy image of your company regarding users’ data privacy, use an optimal, all-around cookie consent solution. Our CMP allows the creation of a customized Cookie Banner, which fits your brand.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a website cookie?
A website cookie is a small text file, stored on a user’s device while the user is browsing a website. Cookies on websites are used to identify and remember the particular browser or device, and are used are for managing user sessions, personalization, website tracking for personalized ads, and other purposes.
What is an HTTP cookie?
An HTTP cookie or website cookie is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s browser. HTTP cookies are also called website cookies or browser cookies. HTTP cookies allow websites to function properly, increase internet browsing experience and personalize your internet activity, allow cookie compliance with privacy laws, and track users to show you personalized ads.
How long will cookies stay on my device?
The length of time a cookie will stay on your computer or mobile phone depends on the type of cookie if it is a persistent or session cookie. Session cookies will stay on your device for a time period while you are browsing. Persistent cookies stay on your computer or mobile phone much longer, until they expire or are deleted.
Can cookies be blocked?
Why do cookies require consent?
Cookies are considered personal data and are subject to privacy laws like the GDPR, CNIL, CCPA, VCDPA etc. To comply with the privacy laws, get users' trust in the company, and avoid penalties for breaching the regulations, companies have to show the user a Cookie Banner and ask them to give cookie consent.