What are cookies and how do they work?

Cookies are one of the topics that cause controversy whenever they are discussed, since they are directly related to the privacy of users.

The term ‘cookie’ refers to files created by websites that save data about the actions that users perform on a website, and which serve as information for the site owners.

The file is created independently of the device or browser from which you are accessing it. To clarify, whenever you visit a website, you must be informed that cookies are active, and you must give your consent regarding which ones to install.

Privacy and web cookies

What is their purpose?

These files with such an appetizing name have two main goals: to remind you of your access data and to know your browsing habits.

Furthermore, thanks to your IP address, many websites even remember the products you view or add to your cart, days after you added them or visited the site.

The main reason web cookies are considered “bad” is because they can also record users’ browsing data. This is done mainly to be able to provide you with information related to the things you visit and to create a profile of the user, their tastes, and their behaviour on the Internet.

A Netscape Communications employee created the first cookie in 1994 when he designed an e-commerce application with a shopping cart that could always be filled with user items without consuming a lot of server resources.

The developer decided the best option was to use a file that would be saved on the recipient’s machine, rather than using the website’s server.

Although cookies have been around for quite a while, they have never been used in browsers. After the creation of this application, browsers that accept cookies began appearing, including Internet Explorer 2 and Netscape.

What types of cookies are there?

Cookies come in different types depending on what they are used for, the user or what is being done.

Cookies can be classified by purpose as follows: personalization, advertising, security, analytics, and monitoring.

We differentiate our own or those of third parties based on the entity.

Based on the duration of activity, we can either use session cookies or permanent cookies.

Do you need to tell your users that your website uses cookies?

99% percent of the time, yes. There are exceptions depending on the type of business you have or what type of analytics you collect.

For example, for people that use most google services (Google Ads and Analytics) your users must be informed about cookies.

If you use an alternative to collect information that’s GDPR compliment, like Plausible, you don’t need to.

Last but not least, if you need assistance setting up cookies on your website to comply with privacy laws, we can always assist you.