Web Cookies

If you’ve been on the Internet long enough, you’re likely to have come across the term “cookies”. In the real world, cookies are tasty treats responsible for our weight problems. In the online world, the term refers to something completely different.

If you’ve been wondering what web cookies are all this while, you’re at the right place. We are going to give you a brief lesson on these mysterious cookies.

Web cookies explained

A web cookie or Internet cookie simply refers to a type of message that is sent to an Internet browser. Internet browsers are applications that allow you to browse the Internet. Your typical example would be Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

So, why are these messages/cookies sent to a browser by a website?

Well, the primary purpose of a cookie is to help identify users, which in turn helps the site create a custom experience or even retain login information. Have you ever noticed that some sites offer exactly the kind of information you’re looking for, even after you exit the site and come back to it at a later period?

Well, that’s the site’s web cookie doing its job.

Sites that use cookies may also ask you to fill out forms or provide identification details. All this information is then embedded into a cookie and sent to your browser. The browser then stores the cookie, making the information available to the site upon future access.

This is exactly why when you visit certain sites multiple times, you are bound to come across pages that are catered to your interests or remember your previous browsing history. Every time your browser requests a page, the website’s server uses the cookie to identify you.

Website servers don’t have a memory of their own and therefore have to rely on cookies to do the job for them. Cookies, though at times annoying, can be useful in helping sites remember your preferences. They allow sites to offer a personalized user experience, making your browsing a whole lot easier.

Are web cookies safe?

Now, you’re probably wondering if cookies are safe. Well, technically speaking, they are safe. However, the security aspect of cookies is also dependent on the user. Cookies do not contain information that you haven’t voluntarily provided.

So, the decision is ultimately yours. If you don’t want the sites to know too much about you or your preferences, you can always choose to avoid offering information and use tools to block cookies.