Definition & Meaning:

Cookies are small text files that websites send to a visitor’s device (such as a computer or smartphone) to store specific information about the user’s session or interactions with the site.

They are designed to remember details about your visit, making your experience more seamless and personalized.

For example, a cookie might keep you logged into a website, remember your preferences in a shopping cart, or ensure that the ads you see online are more relevant to your interests.

Cookies can be session cookies, which are temporary and disappear after you close your browser, or persistent cookies, which stay on your device until they expire or you delete them.

This means if you visit a website again, it can read the cookie to remember you from your last visit and keep track of your preferences.

For instance, if you set a language preference on a multilingual site, a persistent cookie might be used to remember your choice so you don’t have to select your language every time you visit.

The use of cookies raises privacy concerns, which is why many websites now provide a cookie consent notice.

This notice informs you that the site uses cookies and often gives you the option to control what types of cookies you accept. It’s part of complying with privacy laws that aim to give you more control over your personal data online.

Understanding cookies is important for website owners as well.

If you’re running a site, you’ll need to know how cookies work to provide clear information in your privacy policy and ensure you’re complying with laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States.

These laws require you to get consent from users in certain jurisdictions before you can store cookies on their devices, highlighting the importance of transparent communication about your use of cookies.