when you visit some websites either blogs or online shopping websites, you often see a popup asking you for permission for cookies. For example see the following screenshot taken from a random website
You can see they are using the word cookies and explaining you that they will enhance their services for your better experience when next time you visit this website again. In this lecture we will try to understand what’s actually the internet cookies meaning.
What are Cookies on the Internet?
Cookies allow websites to keep a record of a visitor and track his or her activity on the website. I mean which pages the user visits, which services visitor uses or on which products the visitor shows interest.
How Cookies work?
Suppose my friend Zaib always uses Google Chrome browser to access websites. He visits first time an online shopping website. Let’s say Daraz.pk. When the request comes at the server it creates a unique identification number and save this number in its database.
Web server responses to browser with cookie file containing the identification number let’s say 1234. Daraz web server uses this number to track Zaib’s activity on Daraz website. It knows exactly what pages or products he visited, time of coming , time he spent and may be his domain name.
At this stage Daraz web server doesn’t even know Zaib’s name unless he provides information about his name, email, phone and credit card number etc. Then web server will update its database. Now his name will be saved against the identification number 1234. Next time whenever he visits the website the browser sends request along with updated cookies. On the other hand Daraz shows the best offers based on his interests and products he visited last time. Now if he wants to buy a product he doesn’t need to re-enter his name, phone and card number.
Fig-1: Cookies Explained
From the above discussion we can see the cookies are helpful to identify a visitor. Based on the information provided by the browser with the help of cookies the web server allows the user to use some services . For example a user wants to log in to Gmail server. The browser will send cookies to the server includes the identification number and other information. So server can recognise the user throughout his or her session with the Gmail server.
Uses of Cookies
- Some websites only allow access to their services to registered users. For example a user visits a website and get registration there to access some services. Next time the website only allows access to particular services to those users who send appropriate cookies.
- Some websites are only portals and user access only limited pages.
Are Computer cookies bad?
Should i delete cookies from computer?
Cookies are good if you visit a particular website very often. So you wouldn’t need to enter a required data every time. But over a long period of time cookies can be a burden over the hard disk of your computer. It captures memory and in some cases slows down the computer. But deleting cookies completely depend upon your priority. But I suggest you to delete cookies after sometime because it could be good practice to avoid any malfunction attack. I mean some one can breach the security and steal your confidential data.
What happens if i delete cookies?
Everything has some pros and cons. If you delete cookies you will lose all your history in the browser. Next time when you visit website they will not recognize you. So you have to enter the data again. If you re-enter data a new cookie will be generated. This cookie will be sent to your browser for future use.