The term “cookies” refers to small text files that are generated by web servers, sent to your web browser, and stored on your browsing device when you visit websites online. These files contain information that enables websites to identify you across multiple visits.
What are cookies used for?
As we’ve said, cookies help websites to recognize users who have already visited their pages. As such, they can be used for a variety of different purposes, depending on the information the files contain, and typically serve to improve the user experience.
Some typical use cases for cookies are:
- Customization: Cookies allow sites to remember user preferences, including display and language options so that preferred settings can persist for a consistent experience.
Should I accept or reject cookies?
Cookies are neither inherently positive nor negative, so the choice to accept or reject them will depend on your priorities and what information you feel comfortable sharing with websites.
Should you choose to accept cookies when presented with the option, you will benefit from a more personalized, streamlined, and convenient website experience in which you are automatically logged in and your site preferences are upheld. However, this means forfeiting a certain degree of privacy online, and can potentially create security vulnerabilities if login credentials are remembered.
On the other hand, rejecting cookies will mean that you get a more generic, universal experience from which not cater to your specific needs as accurately. Additionally, some sites may not permit you to access them without accepting their cookies. At the same time, however, rejecting cookies allows you to prevent sites from tracking certain aspects of your online activity, which translates to a greater degree of privacy and security.
Can I delete cookies?
Yes, you can delete cookies from your device, here’s a quick guide on how to do so. You may want to do this to rest browsing history or site preferences, eliminate potentially malicious files, or simply free up some space on your device by clearing temporary files.
You will need to access your browser settings in order to delete cookies from your device. Depending on which browser you’re using, the specifics will differ to some extent, however, you can typically find the “Clear cookies” option within the “Privacy” section of your browser settings. Doing this will delete all browser cookies from your device.
To conclude, cookies are temporary text files that are created by web servers stored on user devices. They exist to enhance the user experience enabling websites to remember user-specific information such as login credentials, site preferences, and more, but they come at a cost of privacy, and in some cases, security. All in all, cookies are a highly useful browser feature in many instances, but if you are a privacy-conscious user who wishes to avoid being tracked, then you wish to reject them.