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What are the different types of web cookies?

August 29, 2016
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Every website seems to have the “we use cookies so click ok plz” banner nowadays. What gives? And what are they all doing with these cookies? Well, look no further, in this short article I’ll give you what types of cookies there are and what they do.

1. First of all, what’s a cookie?

A cookie is text file stored on your hard drive (more precisely in your browser folder) when you visit a website. A little bit of trivia: cookies were created in 1997 by Netscape, who also created Javascript and SSL.

2. Types of cookies

All cookies are not created equal. There are 3 types of them:
  • Session: They expire when you close your browser (or if you stay inactive for a certain time). They’re used for example on e-commerce websites so you can continue browsing without losing what you put in your cart.
  • Permanent: They persist even when the browser is closed. They have an expiration date though and by law, you can’t make them last more than 6 months. They’re used to remember your passwords and login info so you don’t have to re-enter them every time.
  • Third-party: Cookies attributes usually corresponds to the website domain they are on. Not for third-party cookies—as you probably gathered from the name, they are installed by … third-party websites (no wayy), such as advertisers. They gather data about your browsing habits, and allow them to track you across multiple websites. Other websites using third-party cookies: Facebook, Flickr, Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Plus, SoundCloud, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube.

3. Should you use cookies?

First of all, you probably already are using them, if you have an A/B Testing or Personalization solution for example. Cookies help you remember information and settings about your visitors to make their future experience on your website faster, convenient and personalized.

Example: remember which language they picked and directly show them the right version when they come back.

4. Cookies are regulated by laws

Be careful how you use your cookies as they are regulated by laws (different depending where you or your visitors live). More information on the regulations : and wikipedia.
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