Why do websites use cookies?

16th October 2023

Why do websites use cookies?

From online shopping to searching for information, using websites has become an essential part of everyday living. While browsing online, you may have encountered a "cookie" consent pop-up. In this blog, we'll explain what cookies are and why websites use them.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small data files that a website downloads to your device. These files are created by the website's server and saved in your website browser to help them function.

Why do websites use cookies?

Some cookies are essential to the basic functionality of a website, while others are used for more advanced features like analytics. Below are listed some examples of what cookies are used for:

Session management: One of the primary uses of cookies is to manage user sessions. When you visit a website, a session cookie is created to identify your unique session. This allows the website to remember information about your visit as you navigate its pages. For example, it helps maintain your login status, ensuring that you remain logged in while you browse different sections of the site.

User preferences: Cookies can store user preferences and settings, such as language preferences, display preferences (like light or dark mode), and location settings. This allows websites to tailor the user experience to your individual preferences.

Authentication: When you log into a website and check the "Remember Me" option, a cookie stores your login credentials. This means you don't have to enter them every time you visit. This makes it easier for you to access your accounts.

Checkouts - Ecommerce websites use cookies to keep track of items you add to your shopping cart. This allows you to continue browsing without losing the items in your cart.

Tracking and analytics: Cookies are commonly used for tracking user behaviour. They collect data on which pages you visit, session duration, clicks, and other interactions. This data is valuable for website owners and for marketing purposes. It helps give an understanding of user preferences and improve their websites.

Third-party cookies: Some cookies come from third-party domains and are often used for advertising and tracking across different websites. These third-party cookies can raise privacy concerns and have led to increased scrutiny and regulation in recent years.

Security: Cookies can be used for security purposes, such as verifying your identity when you log in or preventing unauthorised access to your account.

Understanding what cookies are and how they work can help you make informed decisions about your online privacy and enhance your web browsing experience. You have the power to manage and control cookies through your web browser settings. Allowing you to strike a balance between personalisation and privacy in your online interactions.

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