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What are cookies? (Not the tasty kind)

So, what actually are cookies? No, not the delicious chocolate chip kind. The kind that your web browser constantly nags you to allow. Most people will just allow cookies so they can get on with their web searches but haven’t really got any idea what they are allowing or how it might affect them. Here is everything you need to know about cookies…

What are cookies?

A cookie is a small bit of text that a website stores on your computer, this is used as your unique ID. This ID tells different websites whether you’ve visited their site before. This can be useful for a variety of reasons. Websites are able to suggest things you might like based on your past visits, personal information can be stored to make checking out quicker, and items can be stored in your shopping basket for your next visit.

Are they all the same?

No, there are three different types of cookies:

First-party – These types of cookies are created by the website you are using. This means that they are safer (considering the website is not compromised). Websites will use these for your own convenience such as keeping items stored in your shopping basket etc.

Third-party – These types are created by websites outside of the one you are using and are usually used by the adverts you see on the page. Even if you don’t interact with these ads your computer may still install these cookies.

Zombie – These come from a third party but are permanently installed on a computer. Even after deletion, these will reappear.

Is it safe to allow them?

Most cookies are generally safe as long as you manage them correctly.

Managing your cookies

When you go into a supermarket to buy cookies (yes, the tasty kind), you don’t just get told which ones you have to buy, you make your own decision. The same rule applies to computer cookies. You have the ability to manage what you don’t want websites to track. The tutorials below will show you how to do this. This can usually be done by clicking the three dots in the top right of your web browser, then clicking Settings > Cookies and site permissions > Manage and delete cookies and site data (see below). From here you can allow or deny things such as ‘block third-party cookies’ or ‘preload pages for faster browsing and searching’. These can also be adjusted at any time!

Google Chrome

Microsoft Edge

If you would prefer, you can opt-out of cookies completely but not clicking ‘allow’ when webpages ask you. However, this does mean that websites will not recognise you as a previous visitor and you’ll have to fill out your information time and time again.

Did you enjoy this blog and want more advice? Call us on 03333 055 055 and talk to one of our experts!

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