What Are Website Cookies?
Cookies are small pieces of code that can store general information about a person’s website visit. Most often, this data is stored in your browser for later use. It helps speed up access by storing passwords, preferences, etc., that will be needed on subsequent visits. The data cookies store is most often innocuous – small bits of information that help a website manage a person’s session. How about a couple of examples?
Ever go to an online store, drop something in a cart, and leave the site without finishing the purchase? When you come back a week later, you notice the products are still in your cart. That’s cookies.
A more specific example would be when you go to a site, create a login for your new account, and then return later, and the site still remembers your login information. Yup, that’s cookies.
The interest around cookies and cookie policies has to do with the fact that your website is creating the need to store those tiny bits of user data for later use, and that information is technically personal data — a scorching topic at the moment.
While currently, California here in the U.S. has a series of robust laws regarding the privacy of persona data, most states are still in the formation period of these laws, and they do not generally have any hard and fast rules. They are coming, though. Personal data and its use is a very heated topic, as it should be. Users want to know when data is being stored about them and the assurance that it is not being used for any nefarious purposes. And that is understandable.
Most of the time, no. If you are using a Content Management System (CMS), like WordPress or Joomla, you can most likely find a plug-in that will allow you to install it pretty easily. If you’re using Squarespace or another website builder service, it might just be the click of a button. If you hire a web designer to do it for you, it is not a time-intensive task generally.
Photo credit: Domenico Loia / Unsplash
by Erin Lynch // Business, Web Development