What is a Cookie (Internet)?

By Scott Max

I'm sure that more than once when you enter a website you've heard the famous "accept cookies" message, but what exactly are they and what are they for?

Cookies are part of the measurement methods of websites, they are data fragments that are accumulated in a text file on the computers' hard drive.

This video will help explain:

They are generated by web servers, whose mission is to send cookies to different browsers. Once installed, the browsers return the information collected about user behaviour to the servers, making the user see one information or another in their browser.

Why are cookies used?

First, to recognize the user, that is, if someone enters their name and password on a web page, the next time they access the site they will be automatically recognized without having to identify themselves again.

Another use of cookies is to know the behavior of users, that is, to personalize navigation and offer relevant advertising according to the consumer's behavior.

How many types of cookies are there?

There are different types but we could highlight two classifications:

According to their duration

  • Temporary: once the user closes the browser they disappear.
  • Permanent: they continue once the browser is closed, and can be set for an unlimited time.

Depending on who manages them

  • 1st party (1st part): set by the same domain that appears in your browser.
  • 3rd party (3rd part): managed by a third party, normally it is the advertising companies that manage this type of cookies. Their aim is to control user behaviour on various websites.

How the first cookie came about?

The first cookie was created by programmer Lou Montulli in 1994, then a developer at Netscape Communications.

The developer's task was to make it possible for e-commerce users to keep the shopping cart filled with the same objects while browsing.

In addition, Montulli had to do this using technology that did not use a lot of server resources. This is why the cookie is a text file installed on the user's computer.

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