What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small package of harmless text that is stored on your browser when you visit almost any website. The purpose of the cookie is to allow the website to remember your visit when you browse on it at a later date. Many people are unaware that cookies have been used for 20 years, since the first browsers appeared on the World Wide Web.
What a cookie ISN’T!
It’s not a virus, or a Trojan, or a worm, or spam, or spyware, and neither does it open pop-ups.
What information does a cookie store?
Cookies do not generally store sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers or bank details, photographs, identity numbers, personal information, etc. The data that they keep are technical data, personal preferences, content personalisation, etc.
The server does not create an association with you as a person but 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 an automated application is browsing; or when an anonymous user or 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 periods 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 and third party cookies?
First party cookies are those generated by the webpage 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 will not be able to share content from this website on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media.
- The website will not be able to adapt its content to your personal preferences, as generally happens with online stores.
- You will not be able to access the personal section of this website, such as My Account or 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 will not be possible to personalize your geographical preferences such as local time, currency or language.
- The website will not be able to carry out analytics of its visitors and traffic, which makes it harder 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 an automated application that sends out spam.
- It will not be able to show trade-specific advertising, which then reduces the website’s advertising revenue.
Can one delete cookies?
Yes. Not just delete; one 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 for the cookies linked to the particular domain and then delete them.
Cookie settings on the most common browsers
Below, we explain how to access a specific cookie if you use Chrome as your browser. 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’ll see various sections: click on Show advanced options.
- Go to Privacy, Content settings.
- Select all cookies and the website data.
- A list appears with all the cookies arranged 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 slider 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 Options or Preferences, depending on your operating system.
- Faci clic en Privadesa.
- 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 cookie settings 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 cookie settings 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.