Designed to improve the user experience, cookies are a simple way of enabling websites to store information about visitors - helping them get the most out of their time online. By logging a short text file, the cookie allows the website to ‘remember’ the user next time they visit the site, making it easier to access the information they require.
Cookies can store a user’s log-in details, for example, meaning they don’t have to enter their password every time they visit the site, known as ‘persistent cookie’. Similarly, a ‘session cookie’ temporarily stores information for the duration of a single visit. Without this sort of cookie, the website would believe the user to be a new visitor on every page they turned to, requiring them to log in time and time again.
Cookies can also remember a user’s preferences and browsing habits, which is used by websites to tailor the adverts and marketing information a user sees based on their previous data. These cookies can also be set by other websites whose content is hosted on the page being viewed, known as ‘third party cookies’.