Cookies: What Are ‘Website’ Cookies?Dee
Today we are talking about (drumroll please…) COOKIES!!! No I am not talking about Maryland cookies or the lovely chocolate chip cookies you enjoyed last weekend 😉 but ‘website’ Cookies. In the recent years we have been accepting cookies in various websites and I have realized that most of us don’t know what cookies are or what they do or mean. Due to this, I’ll be making this a series because, there is a lot to unpack. So buckle up and let’s get into it.
What are cookies?
Cookies are text files with small pieces of data – like a username and password – that are used to identify your computer as you use a computer network. An analogy I could use is that of neurons and our brains. Neurons send coded messages to our brains e.g., if you don’t like an activity, neurons relay that message to our brains and a record of the same is banked. Cookies work in a similar way, if I visit a site and accept their cookies, my information is stored on their servers.
The data stored in a cookie is then labeled with an ID unique to you and your computer. This way, whenever you visit a website the server reads the ID and knows what information to specifically serve to you. Same to your brains and the neurons if you didn’t like something and you interact with it again, your brain reminds you that you didn’t like it the first time. This is the easiest way I could describe them.
Types of cookies?
There are two types of cookies; magic cookies and HTTP cookies. They both function the same way but have been applied to different uses. Magic cookies refer to packets of information that are sent and received without changes. Normally, they are used for a login to computer database systems such as a business internal network. This is the older version of today’s ‘modern’ cookies.
We also have HTTP cookies, these are the modern day cookies. They were modeled after their predecessor the magic cookie. Unlike their predecessor, they were built specifically for internet browsing. This cookie is what is used currently to manage our online experiences. On the flip side they are also what malicious people can use to spy on your online activity and steal your personal information. But we shall dive into that in the weeks to come.
Our focus through this series shall be the HTTP cookie or internet cookies. What they are used for, whether you should keep on accepting them. When should you never accept cookies and whether you should clear them from your browser from time to time. Basically almost everything you need to know about cookies. This is a topic I’m really excited to dive into and I hope you’ll enjoy it too.