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What are cookies?

Ever wondered what browser cookies do? Our latest blog reveals their secrets and impact on your web experience.

What are cookies?
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Welcome to the delicious world of cookies! But hold on, we're not talking about those sweet treats you munch on during tea time. We're here to unveil the mysterious and oh-so-important cookies that exist on the vast landscape of the internet. 

These cookies aren't tangible, instead, they're small pieces of data that roam around cyberspace, shaping and enhancing your online experience. In this article, we break down what cookies are exactly and how they impact our online interactions. 

What are cookies?

These digital marvels play a vital role in enhancing our online experiences. So, what exactly are cookies and why does your computer store them?

When you're hopping from one website to another, your computer keeps a small file on behalf of each website you visit. This file is the cookie. The name "cookie" actually comes from a programming term called a magic cookie, coined by the programmer, Lou Montulli, and adds flavour to your online adventures.

But why do computers store these little files? Cookies help web servers remember you, ensuring a smooth and personalised browsing experience. Let's say you perform an action on a website, like switching to a dark mode or logging in with your credentials. Your computer takes note of this and saves the information in a cookie.

When you revisit that website in the future, your computer hands back the stored information from the cookie to the website. It's as if your computer is acting as a helpful assistant, reminding the website of your preferences, saved settings, and even items left in your virtual shopping cart.

The bottom line is that cookies are an integrated service that allow for a seamless and tailored browsing experience. 

The different types of cookies

As with its baked goods counterpart, not all cookies are created equal. Each type serves a unique purpose in enhancing your online experience. Here's a breakdown of the most common cookie varieties:

Session cookies

These are temporary cookies that exist only during your browsing session. They hold information about your activities on a website, ensuring smooth navigation. Once you close the browser, session cookies vanish, leaving no trace behind.

Persistent cookies

Unlike their transient cousins, persistent cookies stick around even after you close the browser. They store information like login details or preferences, making your return visits more personalised and convenient.

First-party cookies

These are created by the website you are visiting. They help to remember your preferences and settings, making your browsing experience smoother.

Third-party cookies

These cookies come from external sources, often embedded in the website you're visiting. They track your browsing habits, allowing advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on your interests.

Cookie consent and those pop-up banners

When you visit a website, you may have noticed those cookie consent banners or pop-ups that demand your attention. Turns out they are quite important. Implementing these notifications helps websites comply with data protection regulations and respect your privacy. 

They also play a vital role in helping users understand the importance of giving consent and being aware of how their data is used. So, next time you encounter a cookie consent banner, remember it's there to protect your rights and ensure transparency in the online world.

How cookies track and analyse your behaviour

Cookies have become a powerful tool for tracking and analysing user behaviour on websites. They enable website owners to gather valuable analytics data and gain insights into visitor patterns and preferences. 

By utilising cookies, website administrators can track the number of page views, monitor the time users spend on their site, and gain a deeper understanding of how visitors interact with different elements. This data helps them optimise their websites, improve user experience, and tailor content to suit audience preferences. 

On top of that, cookies also play a crucial role in targeted advertising, allowing marketers to display ads based on users' browsing habits and interests. So, the next time you encounter a personalised ad, you can thank those little, but mighty, cookies for their clever insights.

How you can manage your cookies

Managing and controlling useful cookies gives you more control over your online privacy. Through browser settings, you can choose to accept, reject, or delete cookies. Taking control of your cookie preferences allows you to customise your browsing experience and limit the data collected by websites. 

Additionally, various cookie management tools are available, making it easier to handle cookies across different websites. It's important to understand the implications of accepting or rejecting cookies, as it can affect website functionality, personalised experiences, and even the relevance of advertisements. Find the right balance that suits your privacy preferences and browsing needs.


In the vast realm of the internet, cookies are the unsung heroes that make our online experiences seamless and personalised. These small files, stored by our computers on behalf of websites, play a crucial role in remembering our preferences, settings, and actions. 

So, the next time you encounter a cookie consent banner or notice the personalisation of a website, you'll know it's all thanks to these small but mighty digital gems called cookies. 


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