What are Cookies?
Cookies are small text files that are sent to and stored in your web browser by most websites you visit. They, for instance, allow the websites you visit (or third-parties) to recognize you as a visitor (but not as an individual), collect analytical data and improve their services and user experience.
Cookies can be divided into two groups: "persistent cookies" and "session cookies". Persistent cookies are saved to the disk and kept there until they expire (depending on their predetermined duration) or until you manually delete them. Session cookies are stored only in memory for the duration of your visit and are therefore deleted as soon as you leave the website (close the browser) and therefore terminate your "session".
Cookies can also be either "first-party" or "third-party". First-party cookies are stored in your browser directly by the website you visit, while third-party cookies are stored by third-party subjects or services, such as advertising platforms, analytics solutions implemented by the website you visit etc.
Cookies can be used for a large number of purposes. In the context of what they are used for, cookies can be divided into four categories:
- Strictly necessary cookies – These are essential so that you can use the website, move around it and fully use its features. Without these, the websites wouldn’t be able to work properly.
- Performance cookies – These cookies are used to collect data about how visitors use the website, which gives website operators information about how visitors interact with the website. That enables them to improve the functionality of their website.
- Functionality cookies – These cookies allow websites to remember choices you make, such as your language preference. Thanks to them, you don’t have to change the settings every time you visit a website – the website will remember them for you.
- Targeting and/or advertising cookies – These cookies are used to show you advertisements more relevant to you.
Most browsers allow you to change your cookie settings in their "Options" or "Preferences" menus. The manufacturers of browsers provide useful help pages related to cookie management, which you can use to learn more about how to manage cookies or turn them off entirely.