What are cookies? How Cookies work on the computer and the internet!
Many people have probably come across a cookie sign, where the website asks if you want to accept cookies. But what are cookies really, and how do they work? We find out in this article.
What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files which get saved in your browser when you visit certain websites. Cookies store information about the visitor, and the purpose of them is to provide a better experience for the visitor. They enable many smart features, such as saved login or saved shopping carts.
What are the different types of cookies and what are they used for?
There are three different types of cookies. Time-limited cookies that are stored on your computer for a long time, they can for example show what information you have missed since the last time you visited the website.
Session cookies that are deleted when you leave the website. They remember which settings you have chosen on the website such as language. There are also so-called third-party cookies, whose main task is to ensure that visitors receive targeted advertising.
Below we talk more about the functions of these different types of cookies.
What are time-limited cookies?
You encounter time-limited cookies when you visit a website or online store on the Internet, they get saved on your computer or mobile phone for a longer period of time. These cookies are used to remember when you last visited the website and what you saw then, to be able to give you relevant and new information that came after your last visit.
They can also save profile settings, such as login details. Also you may have noticed that if you google something, for example, some links may be a different color than the remaining links?
This is because time-limited cookies remember which websites you have already visited and give them a different color. This is to give you as a visitor a better experience when you google.
What are session cookies?
Sessions cookies only collect your information when you remain on the website. They are deleted as soon as you leave the website or close the browser. These are also used to improve the experience on the website.
They do this by, for example, remembering which language you chose when arriving at the website, so you do not have to change the language again every time you change or go to another page on the website.
What are third-party cookies?
Then there is another variant called third-party cookies. These are used to save information about the visitor that makes it possible to display tailored content and adapt the advertising uniquely to you as a visitor.
These cookies do not come from the person responsible for the website, but instead come from, for example, an advertising company. They can then place ads or statistics services that learns your surfing habits on various websites.
Since third-party cookies make it possible to map out your surfing habits more comprehensively than just on a specific website, these can be considered more sensitive from an integrity perspective. There are settings in most browsers that do not allow third-party cookies, but that accept other cookies.
- Keep statistics. You who run a website or webshop have a lot to gain from installing cookies. Mainly, they make it possible to keep statistics on the visitors’ behavior on the website. Which pages they visit most often, which pages they stay on for a longer period of time, where the visitors come from and much more. This will help you understand your visitors to be able to improve the website in the future.
- Fairer votes. Cookies make voting better by registering that you have already voted once, and then saving it in your browser. This means that you cannot go in and vote several times without the website hosting the voting noticing that cookie.
- Adaptation of appearance and functions. On some websites, you can change the color, text size and more to adapt your website to each visitor’s personal preference and thus improve the user experience. Cookies save your choices and remember them for the next time.
- Tailor-made advertising. When ads appear that are completely customized for you, even if you have not visited the website, it is your cookies that made it possible. For example, when you are on certain product pages and read about specific products, cookies save that information and remember what you have read. They are then scanned by other websites to produce content and ads that are tailored for you.
If you who run a website or app want help building cookies, we will arrange it. Contact us for more information on how we can help you build a website with cookies and thus collect valuable website data.
If you do not yet have a website but are considering building or buying a website, we can help you with that as well. If you have a budget that can’t be exceeded, we can do a website for a fixed price.
Frequently asked questions
Are cookies dangerous to your computer?
Cookies are not dangerous for either mobile phones or computers. Cookies are just a text file and cannot infect your computer with viruses or steal your credit card information. You can delete all saved cookies in your browser at any time by going to the settings menu.
How do I turn off cookies?
If you as a visitor to a website want to turn off cookies so that they do not save your information, you can do so. You can do this either by turning off the browser’s function of saving cookies, clearing cookies at regular intervals, or by browsing in incognito mode.
Do I have to inform visitors about cookies?
What are the risks with cookies?
Cookies are in themselves harmless. They do not affect the computer or mobile phone as, for example, a virus does. The risks that exist are that some believe that cookies infringe on privacy, as they save information about the visitor. They can also be abused in criminal activity through wiretapping and forgery.
What are tracking cookies?
Tracking cookies are cookies that are shared by several different websites. These cookies are not dangerous, they are also completely legal and are mainly used by marketing agencies to be able to provide visitors with targeted advertising. However, tracking cookies contain information about which pages you have visited.
This has meant that tracking cookies have gained a bad reputation, as these types of cookies can in theory be used to map out what a user does online.