What is a Cookie?
A cookie is a harmless text file that is stored in your browser when you visit almost any website. The purpose of the cookie is for the website to remember your visit when you browse that page again. Although many people are unaware of it, cookies have been in use for 20 years since the first web browsers for the World Wide Web were introduced.
What a Cookie is NOT:
A cookie is not a virus, a Trojan, a worm, spam, spyware, or a pop-up window generator.
What Information Does a Cookie Store?
Cookies do not usually store sensitive information about you, such as credit card or bank data, photos, your ID, or personal information, etc. The data they store is of a technical nature, personal preferences, content personalization, etc.
The web server does not associate you with a person but with your web browser. In fact, if you regularly browse with Internet Explorer and then try to browse the same website with Firefox or Chrome, you will find that the website does not recognize you as the same person because it associates with the browser, not the person.
What Types of Cookies Exist?
- Technical Cookies: These are the most basic and allow, among other things, to determine when a human is browsing or an automated application, whether a user is anonymous or registered, basic tasks for the operation of any dynamic website.
- Analytical Cookies: These collect information about the type of navigation you are performing, the sections you use most, products consulted, the time of use, language, etc.
- Advertising Cookies: They show advertising based on your browsing, your country of origin, language, etc.
What are First-Party and Third-Party Cookies?
First-party cookies are generated by the page you are visiting, while third-party cookies are generated by external services or providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What Happens If You Disable Cookies?
To understand the extent of disabling cookies, here are some examples:
- You won’t be able to share content from that website on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network.
- The website won’t be able to adapt content to your personal preferences, as is often the case with online stores.
- You won’t be able to access the personal area of that website, such as My Account, My Profile, or My Orders.
- Online purchases won’t be possible; they’ll have to be done by phone or by visiting a physical store if available.
- You won’t be able to customize your geographic preferences, such as time zone, currency, or language.
- The website won’t be able to perform web analytics on visitors and traffic on the website, making it challenging for the website to remain competitive.
- You won’t be able to write on the blog, upload photos, post comments, rate or score content. The website also won’t be able to tell if you are a human or an automated application that posts spam.
- Targeted advertising won’t be displayed, reducing the website’s advertising revenue.
Can You Delete Cookies?
Yes, you can not only delete but also block cookies, either in a general way or for a specific domain.
To delete cookies from a website, you need to go to your browser’s settings and look for cookies associated with the specific domain, then proceed to delete them.
Cookie Settings for Popular Browsers
Here are instructions for accessing cookie settings in popular browsers:
- Go to Settings or Preferences through the File menu or by clicking the customization icon in the upper right corner.
- You will see different sections; click on Show Advanced Options.
- Go to Privacy, Content Settings.
- Select All Cookies and Site Data.
- A list of all cookies organized by domain will appear. To make it easier to find cookies from a particular domain, you can enter part or all of the address in the Search cookies field.
- After performing this filter, one or more lines with the cookies of the requested website will appear. Now you just have to select it and press the X to proceed with its elimination.
- Go to Tools, Internet Options.
- Click on Privacy.
- Move the slider to adjust the level of privacy you want.
- Go to Options or Preferences, depending on your operating system.
- Click on Privacy.
- In the History section, choose Use custom settings for history.
- Now you will see the Accept cookies option; you can enable or disable it according to your preferences.
Safari for OSX:
- Go to Preferences, then Privacy.
- In this place, you will see the Block cookies option so that you can adjust the type of blocking you want to perform.
Safari for iOS:
- Go to Settings, then Safari.
- Go to Privacy and Security, where you will find the Block cookies option to adjust the type of blocking you want to perform.
- Open Internet Explorer, then More, then Settings.
- You can now enable or disable the Allow cookies box.
Please note that the steps to manage cookies may vary depending on the browser version you are using.
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