What is a cookie?
What is a cookie? A cookie is a harmless text file that is stored in your browser when you visit any web page. Cookies are useful because they enable the website to remember your visit whenever you return to that page. Although many people do not know it, cookies have been in use for 20 years, since the first web browsers appeared.
What is a cookie NOT?
It is not a virus, a trojan, a worm, spam or spyware, nor does it open pop-ups.
What information does a cookie store?
Cookies do not usually store sensitive information about you, such as credit-card or bank details, photographs, your ID-card number, personal details, etc. The data they save are technical in nature: personal preferences, content personalisation, etc.
The web server makes links with your web browser, not you as a person. In fact, if you normally use Internet Explorer and try browsing the same site with Firefox or Chrome, you will see that the website does not realise that you are the same person, because it is actually making links with the browser, not the person.
What types of cookie are there?
- Technical cookies: These are the most basic ones, which make it possible, among other things, to know when it is a human or automated app browsing, or when an anonymous or registered user is browsing, which are basic tasks for the operations of any dynamic website.
- Analysis cookies: These gather information on the type of browsing that you are doing, the sections you use most, products looked at, time zone, language, etc.
- Advertising cookies: These show advertisements depending on what you browse, what country you are from, language, etc.
What are proprietary and third-party cookies?
Proprietary cookies are those generated by the website you are visiting and third-party ones are those generated by outside services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I turn cookies off?
To understand the extent of the effect that turning off cookies can have, here are some examples:
- You will not be able to share content from this website on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
- The website will not be able to adapt content to your personal preferences, as normally happens with online shops.
- You will not be able to access the personal area of this website, such as My Account, My Profile or My Orders.
- Online shops: you will be unable to make online purchases; you will have to make them over the phone or by visiting a physical shop, if there is one.
- You will not be able to personalise your geographic preferences, such as time zone, currency or language.
- The website will not be able to carry out analytics of site visitors and traffic, which will make it hard for the website to be competitive.
- You will not be able to write on the blog, upload photos, post comments, or assess or score content. The website will also not be able to tell whether you are a human or an automated app that posts spam.
- It will not be possible to show targeted advertising, which will reduce the advertising revenue from the website.
Can cookies be deleted?
Yes. More than just deleting them, you can block them, either in general or for a specific domain.
To delete the cookies from a particular website, you must go to your browser’s settings, where you can look for those associated with a particular domain and ask for it to be deleted.
How to change cookies settings in the most popular browsers
We show you below how to access a given cookie in Chrome. N.B. These steps may vary depending on the browser version:
- Go to “Settings” or “Preferences” through the “File” menu, or by clicking on the personalisation icon, which is at the top right.
- You will see various headings; click on the “Advanced” option.
- Go to “Privacy” and then “Content Settings”.
- Select “See all cookies and site data”.
- A list of cookies will be displayed, organised by domain. To make it easier to find the cookies from a particular domain, enter all or part of the address in the “Search cookies” field..
- After you use that filter, several lines will appear on screen with the cookies from the requested website. All you have to do now is select it and click on the X to delete it.
Follow these steps to access cookies settings in Internet Explorer (this can vary, depending on the browser version)::
- Go to “Tools”, then Internet options.
- Click on “Privacy”.
- Move the slider until you have set it to the privacy level you want.
Follow these steps to access cookies settings in Firefox (this can vary, depending on the browser version):
- Go to “Options” or “Preferences”, depending on your operating system.
- Click on “Privacy”.
- In “History”, select “Use custom settings for history”.
- You will now see the “Accept cookies from websites” option; you can turn it on or off, as you prefer.
Follow these steps to access cookies settings in Safari for OSX (this can vary, depending on the browser version):
- Go to “Preferences”, then “Privacy”.
- Here you will see the “Block Cookies” option, where you can set the type of blocking you want.
Follow these steps to access cookies settings in Safari for iOS (this can vary, depending on the browser version):
- Go to “Settings”, then “Safari”.
- Go to “Privacy and Security”, you will see the “Block Cookies” option, where you can set the type of blocking you want.
Follow these steps to access cookies settings on Android devices (this can vary, depending on the browser version):
- Open your browser and click the “Menu” button, then “Settings”.
- Go to “Security and Privacy”; you will see the “Accept cookies” option, where you can select or deselect the box.
Follow these steps to access cookies settings on Windows Phone devices (this can vary, depending on the browser version):
- Open Internet Explorer, then “More”, then “Settings”.
- You can now select or deselect the “Allow cookies” box.