Cookies (also known as HTTP cookies or browser cookies)is a small file that a website places on your computer (like a username and password) to store information.
Cookies are put on visitors’ browsers by ecommerce websites to remember login credentials, recognize customers, and provide a personalized shopping experience.
What cookies do?
Cookies enable and improve:
• Customer log-in
• Persistent shopping carts
• Wish lists
• Product recommendations
• Custom user interfaces (i.e. “Welcome back, John”)
• Retaining customer address and payment information
What information does a Cookie store?
Cookies have six parameters that can be passed to them:
- The name of the cookie.
- The value of the cookie.
- The expiration date of the cookie – this indicates how long the cookie will be active in your browser.
- The path the cookie is valid for – this specifies the URL path for which the cookie is valid. The cookie cannot be used by web pages outside of that direction.
- The cookie cannot be used by web pages outside of that path.
- The domain for which the cookie is valid. If a site uses several servers in a domain, this makes the cookie available to pages on all of them.
- A secure link is needed – this means that the cookie can only be used on a secure server, such as one that uses SSL
What are Cookies used for?
- Session management. Cookies let websites recognize users and recall their individual login information and preferences.
- Personalization. Customized advertising is the main way cookies are used to personalize your sessions.
What are the different types of HTTP Cookies?
Session cookies are only used when you are browsing a website. They are only stored in RAM and are never written to the hard drive.
Session cookies are immediately removed when the session ends. They also aid the functionality of the “home” button and third-party anonymizer plugins. These add-ons are made to work with specific browsers and to protect user privacy.
Persistent cookies stay on a device forever, but many of them have an expiration date and are automatically deleted when that date passes.
Persistent cookies have two primary functions:
1. Authentication – These cookies keep track of whether a user is logging in and under what name they are logged in. They also simplify login details, removing the need for users to remember site passwords
2. Tracking – These cookies keep track of how many times you visit the same website over time. Cookies are used by some online retailers to monitor visits from individual users, including the sites and items they access. They will use the information they collect to recommend other things that may be of interest to tourists. A profile is progressively created based on a user’s browsing history on a website.
- Watch Blog. (2020). What Are Cookies | Delete Cookies | Clear Website and Browser Cookies. [online] Available at: https://cwatch.comodo.com/blog/website-security/what-are-cookies/ Accessed 28 Mar. 2021].
- Webopedia. (2010). What are Internet Cookies and What Do They Do? [online] Available at: https://www.webopedia.com/insights/all-about-cookies/ [Accessed 28 Mar. 2021].
- Kaspersky (2018). What Are Cookies? [online] www.kaspersky.com. Available at: https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/cookies [Accessed 28 Mar. 2021].