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Knowledge base

What’s the Difference Between First-party and Third-party Cookies?

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.

Third-Party Cookies are stored under a different domain than you are currently visiting. Third-Party Cookies are used to track users between websites, and between devices, and help to display more relevant ads between websites.

The main differences between first-party and Third-Party Cookies include:

  • Ownership of the cookies and the data they collect. A first-party cookie is set to a website by the publisher’s web server, and the data is collected by the website owner. A third-party cookie can be set by a third-party server via code loaded on the publisher’s website, and the data is collected and processed by that third-party.
  • Cookie availability. First-party cookies are available to the domain that created it. A third-party cookie is reachable on any website that loads the third-party server’s code.
  • Enabling or blocking cookies. First-party cookies are supported by default by all browsers and can be later blocked or deleted manually by the user. Third-Party Cookies could be either supported or blocked by browsers. Many browsers are blocking third-party cookies by default. Users can also delete or block third-party cookies on their own.
  • Regulation and Cookie Consent. Many privacy laws require an explicit Cookie Consent from a user to use third-party cookies. First-party cookies, on the other hand, are often strictly necessary cookies that do not require user consent. All cookie laws, including GDPR and CCPA, allow essential first-party cookies to be exempt from collecting user consent before performing their actions. However, certain cookie laws do require that the website still informs the user of the use and purpose of the essential cookies.

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