A cookie is a harmless text file that is stored on your browser when you visit any website in general. The usefulness of the cookie is that the web can remember your visit next time you browse that page. Few people know the cookies have been in use for 20 years, when the first browser for the World Wide Web started.
What is NOT a cookie?
It is not a virus or a Trojan, neither a worm, nor spam spyware, neither a pop-up window.
What information does a cookie store?
Cookies do not usually store sensitive information about you such as credit card or bank account information, photographs, your ID nor any other personal information, etc. The data stored is technical, personal preferences, content personalisation, etc.
The web server does not associate you as a person but as a web browser. In fact, if you regularly browse with Internet Explorer and try to browse the same web with Firefox or Chrome you will see that the web does not realise that you are the same person because you are actually associating the browser, not the person.
What kind of cookies are there?
- Technical Cookies: These are the most basic. They allow you to know, among other things, when you are browsing a human or an automated application, when an anonymous user navigates and when one is registered, as well as basic tasks for running any dynamic web.
- Analysis Cookies: They collect information on the type of navigation being done, on the sections most used, on consulted products, on the time period, on the language, etc.
- Advertising Cookies: They display advertising based on the navigation, the country of origin, the language, etc.
- What are private and third-party cookies?
Private cookies are those generated by the page you’re visiting and third-party ones are generated by internal or external providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What if I turn off cookies?
Let me show you some examples of what happens if you turn off the cookies:
- You cannot share content from that page on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
- The web site will not adapt the content to your personal preferences, as this is the case in the online stores.
- You cannot access the personal area of the web, such as my own, or my profile or orders.
- Online shopping: It will be impossible to make online purchases. These could only be done by telephone or at the physical store if you have one.
- You will not be able to customise your geographic preferences as time zone, currency or language.
- The web site will not perform analytical web visitors and traffic on the web, making it difficult for the website to be competitive.
- You will not be able to write in the blog. You cannot upload photos, post comments, neither evaluate, nor rate any content. The web page may not know whether you are a human or an automated application that publishes spam.
- The advertising section may not be displayed, reducing advertising revenue on the web.
Can I delete cookies?
Yes you can. Not only can you delete them but you can also block them all or only those related to a specific domain.
To remove cookies from a website you should go to your browser settings where you can find the associated domain and proceed to its removal.
Cookie settings for the most popular browser
Here’s how to access a particular cookie on the Chrome browser.
Note: these steps may vary depending on the browser version.
To access the cookies settings for a Chrome browser these steps
- Go to “Settings” or “Preferences” via the “File” menu or by clicking the icon, “Customisation”, that appears top right on the screen.
- You will see different sections. Click the “Show advanced settings” option.
- Go to “Privacy” and then “Content settings”.
- Select “All cookies and site data”.
- A list will appear with all cookies ordered by domain. To find cookies in an easier way, go to a particular domain or part of the address in the field “Search for cookies”.
- After this filter, you will see on the screen one or more lines with the cookies of the requested website. Now just select the line or lines and press the “X” to proceed with their removal.
To access the cookies settings for an Internet Explorer browser follow these steps (these may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to “Tools” and select “Internet Options”
- Click on “Privacy”.
- Adjust the level of privacy you want.
To access the cookies settings for a Firefox browser follow these steps (these may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to “Options” or “Preferences” depending on the operating system.
- Click on “Privacy”.
- Go to “History”, then choose “Use custom settings for the history”.
- You will now see the “Accept Cookies” option. You can turnit on or off according to your preferences.
To access the cookies settings for a Safari browser for OSX follow these steps (these may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to “Settings”, then “Privacy”.
- You will see the “Block cookies” option. You choose the type of block you want.
To access the cookies settings for a Safari browser for iOS follow these steps (these may vary depending on the version of the browser):
- Go to “Settings”, then “Safari”.
- Go to “Privacy & Security”. You will see the “Block” option. You choose the type of block you want.
To access the cookies settings for Android devices follow these steps (these may vary depending on the version of the browser):
- Run the browser and press the “Menu” button, then click on “Settings”.
- Go to “Security and privacy”, see the “Accept cookies” option. You can activate or deactivate this option.
To access the cookies settings for Windows Phone devices follow these steps (these may vary depending on the version of the browser):
- Open “Internet Explorer”, then, click on “More”, and then click on “Settings”.
- You can choose to enable or disable the “Allow cookies” option.