If you’re operating or interested in operating any type of website business, you would do well to learn about various terminology of the web and also about the many tricks of the trade used in order to calculate data. One piece of information that’s great to know about before getting started is the website cookies.
If you’ve ever visited a website, then you’ve probably had a cookie on your computer. Simply put, a website cookie is a small piece of information, usually delivered in the form of a file, that’s less than 250 characters.
When a visitor loads up a website, this cookie is sent to their computer. Unless the browser is cleaned and cookies are dumped, this cookie will be given back to the server the next time this person logs on to that particular website.
Many people want to know if cookies are unethical. The simple answer: no.
Whether you use Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or any other web browser, cookies are completely voluntary. Any person can quickly set their browser to not accept cookies.
Moreover, cookies from a website will not harm your computer, more often than not, and they’re not purposed to gather information outside of how that particular browser communicates with that particular server. In other words, the cookie isn’t telling the website about your step-by-step Internet activity, and your personal information remains safe.
Cookies are only used in order to ascertain information about the traffic a site is getting. For instance, if someone visited your website and you wanted to know which pages they were looking at, how long they stay and how frequent they visit, exchanging a cookie with this visitor’s browser will relay that information.
There are four basic types of cookies used by websites: session cookies, persistent cookies, first-party cookies, and third-party cookies.
With session cookies, these are temporary files and are removed from the visitor’s computer as soon as they end their session. Since this cookie is not exchanged, it will gather no useful information.
The next type of cookie, a persistent cookie, will stay on a visitors hard drive until which time they delete it or until it expires. This type of cookie will gather information and relay it to the server.
With first and third-party cookies, the difference is simple: if the website you log on to issues the cookie, it’s a first-party cookie; if another site other than the host site issues a cookie then it’s a third-party cookie.
The type of cookies your website gives out is important. If you’re looking to extrapolate the maximum amount of data, then persistent cookies are the way to go.