What does a cookie do?
A cookie is a harmless text file that is stored on your browser when you visit almost any website. Cookies are used so that the website is able to remember your visit when you browse on that website again. Though many people may not realise, cookies have been used for the past 20 years, when the very first World Wide Web browsers appeared.
What does a cookie not do?
It is not a virus, a Trojan, or a worm. It is not spam or spyware, and does not open pop-up windows.
What information does a cookie store?
Cookies do not usually store sensitive information about you, such as credit cards or bank details, photographs, your ID number or personal information, etc. The information it does store is technical, personal preferences, contents customisation, etc.
The website server does not connect to you as a person, rather your website browser. In fact, if you regularly browse with Internet Explorer and try to browse on the same website with Firefox or Chrome, you will see that the website does not know that you are the same person because in reality it is linked to the browser, not to the individual.
What kinds of cookies are there?
Technical Cookies: These are more elementary and allow, among other things, the device to know when it is a human or machine browsing, when an anonymous or registered user is browsing, as well as basic tasks for the operation of any dynamic website.
Analysis Cookies: These collect information about the type of browsing that is taking place, the most used sections, products looked at, usage time band, language, etc.
Advertising Cookies: They show advertising based on your browsing habits, country, language, etc.
What are own and third party cookies?
Own cookies are those generated by the website you are visiting, and third party cookies are those generated by external services or suppliers, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if i disable cookies?
Here are some examples of what can happen if you disable cookies:
- You will not be able to share contents of that website on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network.
- The website will not be able to adapt contents to your personal preferences, which is what usually happens on online stores.
- You will not be able to access the personal area on that website, such as My account, My profile or My orders.
- Online stores: You will not be able to make online purchases; they will have to be made over the phone or by visiting the physical store in person if there is one.
- It will not be possible to customise your geographic preferences, time band, currency or language.
- The website will not be able to carry out web analytics about website visitors and traffic, which will make it harder for the website to be competitive.
- You will not be able to write on the blog, upload photos, publish comments, assess or grade contents. The website will not know whether you are human or an automated application that publishes spam.
- It will not be able to display sector-specific publicity, thus reducing the website’s advertising income.
Can cookies be deleted?
Yes. Not just deleted, but also blocked in general, or for a specific domain.
To delete cookies from a website, go to the settings on your browser and there you will be able to find those linked to the domain in question, then proceed to delete them.
Configurating cookies on the most popular browsers
Below we will show you how to access a specific cookie from the Chrome browser. Note: these steps may vary depending on the browser version:
- Go to Settings or Preferences via the File menu, or by clicking on the customisation icon that appears to the top right.
- You will see different sections, click on Show advanced options.
- Go to Privacy, Contents settings.
- Select All cookies and website data.
- A list will appear with all the cookies sorted by domain. To make it easier to find the cookies of a specific domain, enter some or all of the address in the Search for cookies field.
- After carrying out this filter, one or various lines will appear on the screen with the cookies of the requested website. Now you just have to select it and click on the X to proceed to delete it.
To access cookies settings from the Internet Explorer browser, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Tools, Internet Options
- Click on Privacy.
- Use the slider to set the privacy level you require.
To access cookies settings from the Firefox browser, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Options or Preferences depending on your operating system.
- Click on Privacy.
- In History select Use a customised configuration for the history.
- Now you will see the Accept cookies option, which you can activate or disable as required.
To access cookies settings from the Safari for OSX browser, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Preferences, then Privacy.
- Here you will see the Block cookies option to set the desired type of blocking action.
To access cookies settings from the Safari for iOS browser, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Settings, then Safari.
- Go to Privacy and Security, where you will see the Block cookies option so you can configure the required type of blocking action.
To access cookies settings from the browser for Android devices, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Run the browser and click on Menu, then Settings.
- Go to Security and Privacy, where you will see the Accept cookies option to activate or disable the checkbox.
To access cookies settings on a browser for Windows Phone devices, follow these steps (they may vary depending on the browser version):
- Open Internet Explorer, then More, then Settings
- Now you can activate or disable the Allow cookies checkbox.