What is a cookie?
In order for a website to work effectively it needs to collect particular information about its users. To do this, a website will create specific files known as cookies, which are usually small text files that exist on a user’s computer. They are designed to enable a website to recognize users when they return to the site. They are also designed to authorize other specific websites to recognize these users for a specific purpose.
What is the function of a cookie?
Cookies play a number of different roles that are designed to enhance your experience when using the internet. For example, they are used to remember your preferences on specific websites you visit frequently. They are also used to help you navigate your way through a website’s pages more effectively and to remember the contents of your shopping basket. Furthermore, cookies make sure that the advertisements you view while online are applicable to your personal interests.
Data collected by cookies is generally anonymous, although in some instances it is designed to detect specific browsing patterns and approximate geographic location to improve the online experience for individual users.
Nevertheless, information collected by cookies is not personally identifiable.
Types of cookies
There are four types of cookies:
- Strictly essential cookies facilitate the entire user experience and are vital when navigating around a website. Basic services such as e-billing would be impossible without them.
- Performance-based cookies anonymously collect data on how individuals use a website. Their goal is to improve the functionality of a website. They cannot be used to track users.
- Functionality cookies enable users to customize the appearance of a website. Features such as language preferences, regions and usernames can be remembered.
- Advertising cookies ensure that the advertisements you see while on a website are more pertinent to you. They can also be used to track how effective an ad campaign is by tracking the number of clicks made by users. They can also limit the number of times you view a particular advertisement. Advertising cookies also provide security when a transaction is being made. The information they collect, including whether you have visited a specific website, can be shared with other organizations and advertisers.
Moreover, these cookies can be broken down into two additional sub-types:
- Persistent cookies stay on a user’s device for a pre-determined period of time that is indicated in the cookie. They are activated every time the user visits the site that created the specific cookie.
- Session cookies are only active for the duration of the users browser session. A browser session begins from the moment the user opens the browser window to the moment they finish when the browser window is closed. The moment the browser is closed all session cookies are deleted.
How to turn cookies off
Most browsers automatically accept cookies. To prevent cookies from being automatically accepted, simply change the settings of your browser. You can accept or reject our cookies by clicking on the Accept or Decline button of the warning pop up box.