What is a cookie?
A cookie is a simple text file that is stored on a user’s computer (or mobile device) and is created when a user visits a website using a program called a browser (for example Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari).
A cookie isn’t a program itself and doesn’t actively do anything on a user’s computer. A cookie cannot be used to identify a user personally but they do contribute to improving a user’s experience of a website.
A cookie simply allows the website to read the contents of the cookie text file. The text file itself simply contains a unique identifier code; the site name and some digits and numbers.
Why are Cookies used?
- remembering what items a user may have added to a shopping basket or an itinerary as the user moves between pages on a website
- saving a user’s preferences to allow them to customise a website
- measuring what users do on a website to ascertain which parts of a website are popular, how long they spend on a website, how often users return, where they come from etc.