Cookies are small text files with their unique ID stored on your system by a website. The website stores your browsing details like preferences, customizations, login ID, pages clicked, etc. specific to that website. Storing this information enables the website to provide you with a customized experience the next time you visit it.
When you visit a website through your browser, the website creates and stores a cookie file in your browser or program data folder/sub-folder. This cookie may be of two types −
Session cookie − It is valid only till the session lasts. Once you exit the website the cookie is automatically deleted.
Persistent cookie It is valid beyond your current session. Its expiration date is mentioned within the cookie itself.
A cookie stores these information −
A cookie is meaningless by itself. It can be read only by the server that stored it. When you visit the website subsequently, its server matches cookie ID with its own database of cookies and loads webpages according to your browsing history.
Cookies were initially designed to enhance user’s web browsing experience. However, in the current aggressive marketing scenario, rogue cookies are being used to create your profile based on your browsing patterns without consent. So you need to be wary of cookies if you care about your privacy and security.
Almost all modern-day browsers give you options to allow, disallow or limit cookies on your system. You can view the cookies active on your computer and make decisions accordingly.