What is a cookie?
A cookie is a harmless text file that is stored in your browser when you visit a web page. Cookies help a web page to remember your visit next time you visit it. Although not many people know it but cookies have been in use for 20 years, when the first Internet web browser appeared.
A cookie is not…
A virus, a trojan horse, nor a work, nor spam, nor spyware and it does not open pop up windows.
What information does a cookie store?
Cookies do not normally store sensitive personal information such as credit card or bank informantion, photos, your ID number or other type of personal information, etc…The data stored are technical, personal preferences, personalised content, etc…
The web server does not know your personally but rather your web browser. In fact, if you usually use Internet Explorer to visit web page and then switch to Firefox or Chrome, you´ll notice that the web page doesn´t recognise you as the same person because it relates to the browser and not to the person using it.
What types of cookies are there?
- Technical cookies: They are the most basic and allow, among other things, when a human person is browsing or if it’s an automated application, when the person is a registered user or not, basic tasks that allow the running of any dynamic web page.
- Analytical cookies: They collect information on the type of browsing taking place, the sections that are used the most, the products viewed, time frame, language, etc.
- Advertising cookies: They show ads based on your browsing, your country of origen, language, etc.
What are first-party cookies and third- party cookies?
1st party cookies are those generated by the web page you are visiting. 3rd party cookies are those generated by serviced or external providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I disable cookies?
In order to understand what happens when you disable cookies, here are a few examples:
- You can share the content of that web page in Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
- The web site will not be able to adapt the content to your personal preferences for example in online shops.
- You will not be able to access the web’s private sections such as my account, my profile o my orders.
- Online shops: It would be impossible to shop online, they would have to be by pone or by visiting the store, that is if the brand has one.
- You will not be able to personalised preferences such as location, time slots, currency or language.
- The web page will not be able to web analysis about visitors and web traffic, making it difficult for the web page to be competitive.
- You will not be able to write in the blog, upload photos, publish comments, give feedback or rate contents. The web page will not know if the visitor is a human person or an automated application that publishes spam.
- The web will not be able to show segmented ads leading to lower revenues.
Can cookies be erased?
Yes they can. Not only erased but also blocked, for everything or for a speficic domain.
To erase a web page’s cookies you must visit your browser’s settings, search the cookies related to the domain in question and erase them.
Cookies settings for the most popular browsers
Following is how to reach a specific cookie using Chrome. Note: the following steps can vary depending on the versión of the browser:
- Go to Settings or Preferences from the Folder menu or by clicking on your personalised icon at the top right of the screen.
- You will see different sections, click on show advanced options.
- Go to Privacy, content configuration.
- Choose All cookies and web data.
- A list of all cookies will appear organised by domain. To find the cookies of a particular domain, type in the web address partially or completely in the field search cookies.
- Once this filter is done you will see the cookies of the web page. Just select and click on the X to erase them.
To access the cookies settings for Internet Explorer follow these steps (they can vary depending on the version of you browser):
- Go to Tools, Internet Options
- Click on Privacy.
- Move the slider to adjust the privacy level you want.
To access the cookies settings on the Firefox browser following these steps (they can vary depending on the versión of your browser):
- Go to Options or Preferences, depeding on your operating system.
- Click on Privacy.
- In History choose Use a personalised setting for your history
- Now you will see the option Accept Cookies, you can enable or disable them as you wish.
To access the cookies settings for Safari browser for OSX follow these steps (they can vary depending on the versión of your browser):
- Go to Preferences and then to Privacy.
- Use the option Block Cookies to adjust what you want to block.
To access the cookies settings for Safari browser for iOS follow these steps (they can vary depending on the versión of your browser):
- Go to Setting, then Safari.
- Go to Privacy and Security, use the option Block Cookies to adjunto what you want to block.
To access the cookies settings for Android devices follow these steps (they can vary depending on the versión of your browser):
- Open the browser and click on Menu and then Settings.
- Go to Security and Privacy, use the option Accept Cookies to enable or disable the box.
To access the cookies settings for Windows Phone devices follow these steps (they can vary depending on the versión of your browser):
- Open Internet Explorer, then click on More, then on Settings.
- Now you can enable or disable the option Allow Cookies.