What is a cookie?
What is a cookie NOT?
It’s not a virus, a Trojan, a worm, spam, spyware, or something used to enable pop-up windows.
What information is stored in a cookie?
Cookies do not usually store sensitive information about you, such as credit card or bank details, photographs, your ID or personal information, etc. The data they store are of a technical nature, generally involving personal preferences, personalisation of contents, etc.
The web server does not associate it with you as a person but rather with your web browser. In fact, if you regularly browse with Internet Explorer and try browsing the same website with Firefox or Chrome, you will see that the website does not realise that you are the same person because it is actually associating the browser, not the person.
What kinds of cookies are there?
- Technical cookies: They are the most elementary and allow, among other things, to know when a human or an automated application (or ‘bot’) is doing the browsing, when an anonymous user or a registered user is browsing… in other words, performing basic tasks for the operation of any dynamic website.
- Analytical cookies: They collect information on the type of navigation you are doing, that is, which sections you use the most, which products you have viewed, the times of day they are visited, language, etc.
- Advertising cookies: They display advertising according to your browsing habits, country where you are located, language, etc.
What are proprietary and third-party cookies?
Proprietary cookies are those generated by the site you are visiting, while third-party cookies are those generated by external services or providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I turn off cookies?
To help you understand the effect of disabling cookies, here are a few examples:
- You will not be able to share content from that website on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
- The website will not be able to adapt the content to your personal preferences, as is often the case in online shops.
- You will not be able to access the personal area of that website, such as My Account, My Profile or My Orders.
- Online shops: It will be impossible to make purchases online; they will have to be by telephone or by visiting the physical store if there is one.
- It will not be possible to customise your geographical preferences such as time zone, currency or language.
- The website will not be able to perform web analytics on visitors and traffic to the website, which will make it difficult for the website to be competitive.
- You will not be able to write in the blog, nor will you be able to upload photos, publish comments, rank or rate contents. The website will also not know if you are a human or an automated application (‘bot?) that posts or publishes spam.
- It will not be possible to show sectorized advertising, which will reduce the website’s advertising revenue.
Can cookies be deleted?
Yes. Not only can they be deleted, they can also be blocked in a general or particular way for a specific domain.
To delete a website’s cookies, go to your browser settings and from there you can search for the cookies associated with the domain in question and delete them.
Configuration of cookies for the most popular browsers
Here’s how to access a specific cookie in Chrome (Note: The steps may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Settings or Preferences via the File menu or by clicking the customize icon in the upper right hand corner.
- Scroll down to the Advanced button and click on it.
- In the Privacy window, select, Content settings.
- Select Cookies and then See all cookies and site data.
- A list is displayed with all cookies ordered by domain. To make it easier for you to find the cookies for a particular domain, enter part or all of the address in the Search cookies field.
- One or more lines with the cookies from the requested website will be displayed. Now all you have to do is select the cookie and click on the X to delete it.
To access the cookie configuration in Internet Explorer, follow these steps (which may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Tools, Internet Options.
- Click on Privacy.
- Move the slider to select the desired level of privacy.
To access the cookie configuration in Firefox, follow these steps (which may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Options or Preferences depending on the operating system.
- Click on Privacy.
- In History, select Use custom settings for history.
- You will now see the Accept cookies option. You can enable or disable this according to your preferences.
To access the cookie configuration in Safari for OSX, follow these steps (which may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Preferences, then Privacy.
- Here you will find the Block all cookies option to determine the type of blocking you wish to set.
To access the cookie configuration in Safari for iOS, follow these steps (which may vary depending on the browser version):
- Go to Settings, then Safari.
- Go to Privacy and Security. Here you will find the Block cookies option to determine the type of blocking you wish to set.
To access the browser cookie configuration for Android devices, follow these steps (which may vary depending on the browser version):
- Run the browser, and then select Menu, followed by Settings.
- Go to Security and Privacy. You will now see the Accept cookies option, where you can enable or disable by checking the box.
To access the browser cookie configuration for Windows Phone devices, follow these steps (which may vary depending on the browser version):
- Open Internet Explorer, then More, followed by Setup.
- Here you can enable or disable the Allow cookies box.