Whenever we hear the word ‘cookie’, we start picturing them and have a craving for the, don’t we? And why wouldn’t we, cookies are so sweet, so delicious and they are just so lovely. There is hardly anything that can go wrong with a cookie. We enjoy them, we love them and most importantly, we can never say ‘no’ to them.
However, there is one more type of ‘cookie’ that we encounter on a daily basis and yet have very little idea about. What are these ‘cookies’ you ask? Well, they are web cookies that websites leave behind for your browsers and devices.
What are web cookies?
These web cookies are small pieces of information stored on your media device, left behind by websites that you had browsed through. These cookies are generally small text files that contain your login information and other important stuff like username, password and website preferences.
These cookies are an important browser feature that enhances your overall web-browsing experience. It is because of these cookies that sites get loaded faster and in a more efficient manner when you are browsing through them for the second time. They make sure that you stay logged-in on a website even after you have turned off your device or exited the browser.
These cookies act as your identification cards in the online world. They store all the necessary and important details in them and only show it when it is required. Cookies are majorly found on e-commerce and entertainment websites. They store in your details like your username, login credentials along with items that you might have added to you shopping cart. They do this in order for you to avoid logging in again and again and avoid the same process every time.
The Good & The Bad Cookies
These web cookies go a long way in providing us with a seamless and smooth web browsing experience. But do note this, not all cookies are good. As there are two side to a coin, there are two sides to these cookies as well- the light side and the dark side.
The light side or the good cookies are the cookies that store your login information along with username and website preferences when you login onto a website for the very first time. They keep your login information confidential along with preferences in order to keep them away from falling into wrong hands (advertisers and tracking websites in this case).
They also keep in mind your preferences and choices so when you login the next time, you have a smooth surfing experience. These good cookies also store in your browsing history when you are browsing through a shopping or an entertainment website to provide you with a personalised browsing experience.
The dark side or the bad cookies on the other side are a nefarious affair. The general rule for cookies is that only the websites that created the cookies can read it. For example, if you visit Flipkart.com, then Flipkart can read only its cookies and cannot examine cookies left behind by other websites. But some websites use tracking cookies to track your activities across the web. They use this information to show you targeted ads and, in some cases, it is even worse- they phis your data to sell it to data mining companies. For example, if you were browsing on a rental home website and later switch to a completely different website, there are chances that you would still see ads from the previous website you visited. Although the current website you are on has nothing to do with rental homes, you would still see ads from it because of targeting cookies.
Managing your cookies
Although these web cookies are complex and hard to understand if you are not into tech that much, you can still manage them and have control over them through your browser’s setting page. From here, you can control which sites can load cookies onto your device, you can also clear them or disable them for some sites if you want.
However, you need to keep this in mind that when you clear your browser cookies, you get logged out of all the sites that you had logged in using that browser. Clearing them also means all your preferences for a particular website is back to its default settings. Disabling them can hamper your user experience and in some cases, you could not even access a particular website because they need cookies to function.