What are Computer Cookies and why are they used?
- May 18, 2016
You have probably heard this term a lot while browsing the internet or while searching for a pack of biscuits in the supermarket. We are not going into the part where you have heard the term while shopping for biscuits. We are concerned only with computer cookies. You might have noticed a message similar to this one “We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site” while going through a specific site. Today we’ll discuss cookies in details like what they are, why they are used and various other important features.
Cookies: What are they?
Cookies are basically small files that are stored on a computer. Cookies are designed in a manner that holds a satisfactory amount of specific data tailor-made for a specific client and a website. These cookies can be acquired either by the web server or by the computer of the client. This is pretty beneficial from the point of view of the server because it permits the server to distribute a web page tailor-made for a specific user.
How do you know whether cookies are enabled on your browser or not?
There’s a simple way to check whether cookies are enabled on your browser or not. You can go to this site for a cookie test to know whether cookies are enabled or not. If cookies are enabled, you’ll be displayed a message like “Cookies are ENABLED in this browser”. If you want to know how to enable/disable cookies on your browser, you can go through this article. Almost all the popular browsers are covered by that article. To know about the ways through which you can clear cookies on your website, you can go through this article.
Information present in a Cookie
Each cookie is basically a minor look-up table that contains pairs of values. Once this cookies is read by a code on the client computer or the server, the same data can be redeemed and used for appropriate customization of the web page.
Why are they used?
Cookies are mainly used to carry data from one particular session on a specific website to another. They are also used to carry data between various sessions on a number of related websites. The specific benefit of that feature is that it doesn’t put an additional burden on the server machine with enormous amounts of data for storage. Storage of data on a server will also be quite troublesome because it’ll be immensely difficult to recover a specific user’s information without the requirement of a login for each user visit to the specific website.
When are they used?
Data is usually written on a cookie when a brand new webpage is loaded. Example- As soon as the user clicks on the ‘submit’ button, the data handling page will store the necessary values in a specific cookie.
How long does a cookie last?
The expiry time of a cookie is set at the time of its creation. By default, a cookie gets destroyed after the closure of the current browser. But this lasting time can be extended by making the cookie last for an erratic time-length after that.
Accessibility of cookies
After the creation of a cookie, its visibility can be controlled by setting the cookie’s root domain. It can then be accessed by any URL that belongs to the same root. By default, a cookie is visible to all paths located in their specific domains.
Security of cookies is still considered an issue due to several reasons. But first and foremost, we would like to make this clear that cookies, themselves are not so threatening considering the privacy of the users. This is because they are primarily used for storing information volunteered by the user. It looks pretty much harmless from the hindsight but it does bear a threat because the user information can be revealed to any 3rd party users who might misuse such information. Therefore, we request you to abstain from providing any confidential information to any website before signing yourself up.
Please note that cookies should NOT be confused with viruses. Both of them are entirely different from their own view-points. With that we would like to conclude our article on cookies. Hope you had a good read.
Futurite aims to bring high quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education to school students in India. Our mission is to use cutting-edge technologies such as Robotics and 3D Printing to impart a thorough grounding in STEM subjects and concepts to school students while making their learning experience fun, engaging and hands-on. Futurite has been operating in Dubai successfully (as Premier Genie) since a number of years, working with over 25 of the top international schools and teaching 1000+ students. Futurite has been founded by alumni from IIT, IIM, JU and HEC Paris.
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