What is a cookie?
A cookie is an harmless text file that is stored in your browser when you visit almost any web page. The use of a cookie is for the web to be able to remember your visit the next time you visit that page. Although not many people know, cookies have been used for twenty years, when the first web browsers for the World Wide Web appeared.
What IS NOT a cookie?
It is not a virus or a Trojan , not a worm, or spam or spyware, or open pop -up windows.
What information does a cookie store?
Cookies usually do not store sensitive information about you, like credit cards or bank data, photographs, your ID or personal information, etc. Stored data are often technical, personal preferences, contents customization, etc.
The web server does no associate you, but your web browser. In fact, if you usually browse with Internet Explorer and try browsing the same web with Firefox or Chrome, you will see how the web does not realize that you are the same person because it’s actually associated to the browser, not to the person.
What type of cookies exist?
- Technical cookies: these are the most basic and allows, among other things, to know whether is browsing a person or an automated application, an anonymous user or a registered one; basic functions for any dynamic web to work properly.
- Analysis cookies: they gather information about the type of navigation that you are doing, what sections you use the most, consulted products, use time zone, etc.
- Advertising cookies: they show advertisings depending on your browsing, your country, your language, etc.
What are own cookies and third party cookies?
Own cookies are generated by the page you are visiting, and third party ones are generated by services or external providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I disable cookies?
To understand the scope that disabling cookies may have, we show you some examples:
- You can not share contents of this web on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network.
- The web site will not adapt contents to your personal preferences, as often happens in e-shops.
- You can not access to the personal areas of the web, such as My account, My profile or My orders.
- E-shops: it will be impossible for you to shop online, you will have to do it by phone or visiting the physical store if it has one.
- It won’t be possible to customize your geographic preferences, such as time zone, currency or language.
- The web site won’t be able to perform web analysis about web traffic and visitors, what will hinder the competitive web.
- You can not post on the blog, upload photos, post comments or rate contents. The web will not know if you are a human being or an automated application posting spam.
- Sectioned advertising can not be displayed, what may reduce web income.
Can cookies be removed?
Yes, they can. Not only be removed, but blocked in a general or specific way in a specific domain.
To remove the cookies from a web site you must go to the configuration of your browser and search the ones associated to the domain and remove them.
Cookies configuration for most popular browsers
The following shows how to access a specific cookie in Chrome web browser. Note: these steps may vary depending on the version of the browser:
- Go to Configuration or Preferences via the File menu or the customization icon in the upper right.
- You will see different sections, click the option Show advanced options.
- Go to Privacy, Content Configuration.
- Select All the cookies and sites data.
- There will be a list of all the cookies ordered by domain. In order for it to be easier to find cookies from an specific domain, type the address in the Search field.
- After doing this filter, one or more lines will be displayed with the cookies from the requested web. Now you just have to select and remove them.
To access the configuration of the cookies in the Internet Explorer browser, follow these steps (may vary depending on the version of the browser):
- Go to Tools, Internet Options
- Click on Privacy.
- Move the slipper until adjust the level that you want.
To access the configuration of the cookies in the Firefox browser, follow these steps (may vary depending on the version of the browser):
- Go to Options or Preferences, depending on your operative system.
- Click on Privacy.
- In History choose Use custom configuration.
- Now you will see the option Accept cookies, you can enable or disable it depending on your preferences.
To access the configuration of the cookies in the Safari for OSX browser, follow these steps (may vary depending on the version of the browser):
- Go to Preferences, Privacy.
- Here you will see the option Block Cookies to adjust the type of block that you wish to do.
To access the configuration of the cookies in the Safari for iOS browser, follow these steps (may vary depending on the version of the browser):
- Go to Settings, Safari.
- Go to Privacy and Security, you will see the option Block Cookies to adjust the type of block that you wish to do.
To access the configuration of the cookies in the browser for Android devices, follow these steps (may vary depending on the version of the browser):
- Run your browser and press the Menu key, then Settings.
- Go to Security and Privacy, you will see the option Accept cookies for it to be enabled or disabled.
To access the configuration of the cookies in the browser for Windows Phone devices, follow these steps (may vary depending on the version of the browser):
- Run Internet Explorer, then More, then Configuration
- Now you can enable or disable the Allow cookies box.