What Are Computer Cookies?

What Are Computer Cookies?

“Cookies”- you are certainly aware of this term. You might have come across this term while you are browsing the internet or you might have heard of this term when you are shopping for a pack of biscuits. But in this case, we’ll talk only about computer cookies. Yes, you guessed it right. We mean the ones that you have come across while you are on the internet. You are usually shown a message like “We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site.”  In this article, we’ll discuss cookies in details and several other significant features that are related to the same.

 

 What are cookies?

Cookies are actually small files stored on a computer. They are designed in a specific manner in which they hold an adequate amount of data tailor-made for a specific website and a client.

Cookies can be acquired either by the computer of the client or by the web browser. Cookies are particularly very beneficial from the server’s point of view because it allows the server to distribute a specific web page tailor-made for a particular user.

Is your browser cookie-enabled or not?

There’s a simple way through which you can check whether your browser is cookie-enabled or not. To know whether cookies are enabled on your browser or not, you can visit this site for a cookie test. If cookies are actually enabled on your browser, you’ll be shown something like “Cookies are ENABLED in this browser” on that website.

You can enable or disable cookies on your browser. To know about the ways through which you can enable or disable cookies on your browser, you can go through this article. To know about the ways through which you can clear cookies on your browser, this article can be of help to you.

Information in a cookie

A cookie’s basically a minor look-up table containing pairs of values. The main objective is to make the cookie read by a particular code present on the client computer/server. Once it’s read, the data can be redeemed and can also be used for suitable customization of a web page according to the convenience of the user’s computer.

Why are cookies used?

Cookies are used to carry data from one specific session on a particular website to the other. They can also be sued to transfer data from several sessions on some related websites. There’s a specific benefit for that. The particular benefit is that the use of cookies doesn’t put any additional load on the server. Thus, the server doesn’t have to store a huge amount of data. Data storage on the server is also no easy business.

When are cookies used?  

When a brand new webpage is loaded on a browser, data gets written on a cookie. For example: As soon as the user clicks on “submit,” the data handling page stores the required values in a particular cookie.

How long do cookies last?

The expiry time of cookies is usually set at the time it’s created. A cookie, by default, gets destroyed after the closure of the browser. This lasting time can also be extended.

Security

The security of cookies is a real issue for several reasons. But do remember that a cookie, itself isn’t so threatening when the privacy of the user is concerned. Cookies are basically used for storing information that is volunteered by the user. This might look pretty much harmless from the hindsight. But it bears a threat because the information that’s stored in the cookie can be revealed to any 3rd party who can misuse such information.

Therefore, you should abstain from providing any sensitive information to any website before you sign yourself up on the same website.

The last thing to remember is that cookies are definitely not viruses. Both of them are completely different and should not be confused with one another. With that statement, we’ll bring this article to an end. Hope you had a good read.

Sudipto Das

Sudipto writes technical and educational content periodically for wizert.com and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation.
Follow him on twitter @SudiptoDas1993

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