What Are Cookies?

Cookies are small pieces of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing. Furthermore, cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites. Hence, to remember stateful information or to record the user’s browsing activity. 

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Defining Cookies

Cookies are small files which are stored on a user’s computer. In other words, they are designed to hold a modest amount of data specific to a particular client and website. And can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer. Hence, this allows the server to deliver a page tailored to a particular user. Moreover, the page itself can contain some script which is aware of the data in the cookie. And so is able to carry information from one visit to the website (or related site) to the next.

A computer “cookie” is more formally known as an HTTP cookie. Likewise a web cookie, an Internet cookie or a browser cookie. The name is a shorter version of “magic cookie”. Which is a term for a packet of data that a computer receives. And then sends back without changing or altering it.

No matter what it is called, a computer cookie consists of information. When you visit a website, the website sends the cookie to your computer. Your computer stores it in a file located inside your web browser.

Purpose of Computer Cookies

The purpose of the computer cookie is to help the website keep track of your visits and activity. This is not always a bad thing. For example, many online retailers use cookies to keep track of the items in a user’s shopping cart. Hence, as they explore the site. Without cookies, your shopping cart would reset to zero every time you clicked a new link on the site. Therefore, that would make it difficult to buy anything online!

A website might also use cookies to keep a record of your most recent visit. Likewise to record your login information. Many people find this useful so that they can store passwords on frequently used sites. Or simply so they know what they have visited or downloaded in the past.

Different types of cookies keep track of different activities. Session cookies are used only when a person is actively navigating a website; once you leave the site, the session cookie disappears. Hence,tracking cookies may be used to create long-term records of multiple visits to the same site. Authentication cookies track whether a user is logged in, and if so, under what name.

What Are Cookies

In Conclusion

Mention “cookies” and most people expect a chocolate chip treat to appear. When talking about computers, however, cookies are not on the drop down menu. In fact, they are not even physical objects. Yet they do a great deal of the work that makes it more convenient for you to browse the Internet. Furthermore, they can be troublesome if you do not know how to clear or delete cookies.

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