More about cookies
What is a cookie?
A cookie is a harmless text document that is stored in your browser each time you visit almost any website. The usefulness of a cookie lies in the ability that it bestows upon websites to remember your visit each time you return to browse them. Although many people do not know this, cookies have been in use for the last 20 years, when the first browsers appeared for the World Wide Web.
What is not a cookie?
It is not a virus, a Trojan, a worm, spam or spyware, nor does it open pop-up windows.
What kind of information does a cookie store?
Cookies do not generally store sensitive personal information about you such as credit cards or bank details, photographs, your national ID, or personal information, etc. The data that they keep is technical data, personal preferences, content personalisation, etc.
The server does not create an association with you as a person but rather with your browser. In fact, if you regularly browse with Internet Explorer and try to browse on the same website with Firefox or Chrome, you’ll see that the website doesn’t realise that you are the same person because it connects to browsers not to people.
What types of cookies are there?
- Technical cookies: These are the most basic cookies and, among other things, they let us know if a human or a bot is browsing; or when an anonymous user or a registered user is browsing, which is basic information that any interactive website requires in order to function.
- Analytical cookies: These gather information on the type of browsing that you’re doing, the sections you use the most, products you’ve looked up, the time of day or night when you browse, the language, etc.
- Advertising cookies: They show adverts based on your browsing, your country of residence, language, etc.
What are first party cookies and third-party cookies?
First party cookies are those generated by the web page you are visiting and third party cookies are those generated by external services or providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I disable cookies?
To make it easier to understand the possible implications of disabling cookies, here are some examples:
- You won’t be able to share the contents of that web on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media.
- The website won’t be able to adapt its content to your personal preferences as generally happens with online stores.
- You won’t be able to access your personal area in that website, for example, My Account, My Profile or My Orders.
- Online stores: It will be impossible for you to shop online: you will have to telephone or visit the actual shop, if there is one.
- It won’t be possible to customise your geographic preferences, such as local time, currency or language.
- The website will not be able to carry out analysis of its visitors and traffic, which makes it harder for the website to be competitive.
- You will not be able to write on the blog, upload photos, publish comments and review or rate content. The website will not know if you are a human or a spam bot.
- It will not be able to show trade-specific advertising, which then reduces the website’s advertising revenue.
Can you delete cookies?
Yes. Not just delete; you can also block them either in general or specifically for one domain.
To remove a website’s cookies you need to go to your browser settings, search there for the cookies linked to the particular domain and then delete them. That way you can proceed to erase them.
Cookies setting on the most popular browsers
Below, we explain how to access a specific cookie on Chrome. NB: these steps may differ depending on the browser version you have:
- Go to Settings or Preferences from the File menu or by clicking on the personalisation icon at the top right hand corner.
- You will see different sections, click on the option Show Advanced Configuration.
- Go to Privacy, Content Settings.
- Select All cookies and the website data.
- A list will appear with all the cookies, ordered by domain. To make it easier to find the cookies of a particular domain, enter the partial or complete address in the Search cookies field.
- After filtering, one or several lines will appear on the screen with the cookies of the specific website. All you need to do now is to select it and click X to delete it.
To access cookie settings on Internet Explorer, follow these steps (they may differ depending on your browser version):
- Go to Tools, Internet Options
- Click on Privacy.
- Move the scrollbar to adjust the level of privacy you want.
To access the cookie settings on Firefox follow these steps (they may differ depending on your browser version):
- Go to Optionsor Preferences, depending on your operating system.
- Click on Privacy.
- In History, select Use a personalised setting for the history.
- You will now see the option Accept cookies; you can enable it or disable it to suit your preferences.
To access the cookiesettings on Safari for OSX, follow these steps (they may differ depending on your browser version):
- Go to Preferences, and then Privacy.
- You will now see the option Block cookies, which lets you adjust the type of blocking that you want to perform.
To access the cookie settings on Safari for iOS, follow these steps (they may differ depending on your browser version):
- Go to Adjustments, then Safari.
- Go to Privacy and Safety and you will see the option Block cookies, which lets you adjust the type of blocking that you want to perform.
To access the cookiesettings on Android devices, follow these steps (they may differ depending on your browser version):
- Open the browser and click on Menu, then Settings.
- Go to Safety and Privacy and you’ll see the option Accept cookies, where you can enable or disable the box.
To access the cookie settings on Windows Phone devices, follow these steps (they may differ depending on your browser version):
- Open Internet Explorer, then More, then Settings
- You can now enable or disable the box Accept cookies.