What are Cookies – HTTP, Web and Browser Cookie -Temporary Cookie -Permanent Cookie

What are Cookies – HTTP, Web and Browser Cookie -Temporary Cookie -Permanent Cookie

Cookie

A cookie is used to maintain information about a user state. Cookies can be used to store user preferences and user information that can be used across pages in the website. A cookie is also known as web cookie, browser cookie and HTTP cookie.
A cookie is stored as text string on the computer. A web server sends a cookie and the browser stores it. The browser returns the cookie to the server when the page is referenced again. The most common use of the cookie is to store the user ID. A cookie may contain the string such as ID=123456789

Types of Cookies

Cookies can be temporary and presistent.

Temporary Cookie

Temporary Cookie is also called session cookie. It is stored temporarily in the browser memory and is deleted when the session ends or the browser is closed.

Permanent Cookie

Permanent cookie is also call presistent cookie. It is stored permanently on the computer’s hard drive. If it is deleted, it will recreated when the user visits the website again.

Uses of Cookies

Cookies are used for different purposes such as follows:

  • Most websites use them for personalization of user preferences. For example a news website may allow the user to customize the page to display the news of his interests. The website store user preferences in cookies.
  • Some websites also use cookies to store user’s password. The user do no need to enter the password again and again.
  • Some websites use cookies to track visits of users and web pages visited by the users.
  • Online shopping websites generally use session cookies to keep track of item in user’s shopping cart.
  • Some websites may use cookies to target advertisement. These websites store a user’s interest and browsing habits in the cookie and display related ads on the pages.

Browser Setting for Cookies

The browser can be set to accept cookies as follows:

  • The user can set the browser to accept the cookies automatically.
  • It can be set to prompt the user to accept a cookie.
  • It can be set to disable the use of cookies altogether. However, the user may not be able to use many e-commerce websites if cookies are disabled.

Privacy Concerns About Cookies

Webmasters obtain information about user’s IP addresses, browser type, last pages visited using cookies. It allows Web server to recognize a user who has already visited website from the same computer. It allows the compilation of user profile and large amounts of data related to the interests of the user.
Advertisers and webmasters are currently using cookies to develop detailed profiles of users and their browsing habits. Each click on a particular type of page in a website is added to the profile. The information is primarily used for website design and placement of banner advertisements. However, this information can be sold for other commercial purpose that creates a concern to personal privacy.

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