Difference between Cache and Cookies in Computer Network

What is Cache?

A cache is a data storage mechanism that allows users to retrieve data or files on computers quickly.

  • Caches can be found in both hardware and software. Caching reduces data access latency by acting as an intermediary between the primary storage appliance and the receiver hardware or software device.

  • A cache provides similar capabilities in both hardware and software. It's a type of internal memory with a tiny form factor that saves instances of the most frequently executed programs in main memory for faster access when the CPU needs them in physical or hardware form.

We are all familiar with the caching mechanism of a Web browser, where the HTML, pictures, CSS, JavaScript, and other website elements are cached locally so that a page loads faster after the first visit.

What is a Cookie?

A cookie is a small text file that a web browser saves on the user's computer.

  • Web apps use cookies to keep track of their state.

  • Websites use them for authentication, storing website information/preferences, other browsing data, and anything else that can enable the Web browser to connect to Web servers.

  • Browser cookies, Web cookies, and HTTP cookies are all terms used to describe HTTP cookies.

  • For security concerns, a cookie is a small amount of data that is encrypted. In most cases, a cookie is sent from an HTTP server to a Web browser together with an HTTP header in response to a user request. When access to a specific website is required, this saved cookie is given to the HTTP server.

  • There are two types of cookies: those with an expiry date and those without. Cookies with no expiration dates are automatically stored in users' workstations and remain in memory until the user's browsing session ends. Once a cookie's expiration date has passed, it is no longer valid.

Cookies are Not Malware

Unfortunately, most individuals do not understand what a cookie is, and many believe that cookies are tiny files containing viruses, malware, or spyware. All of them are false assumptions.

Lou Montulli, a Netscape founding engineer, was the first to implement the concept of "magic cookies" in 1994. These were essentially plain text files saved on the computer of the user. A Web server would allow the browser to save and transport this text file in response to each user request. The server used this file to identify each user.

Types of Cookies

The types and varieties of cookies are as follows −

  • Session Cookies − These are cookies created for a particular session and expire when the user's browser session ends.

  • Persistent Cookies − Also known as tracking cookies, persistent cookies last for a set amount of time before expiring

  • Secure Cookies − Secure cookies encrypt user data when a user connects to the server using HTTPS for maximum security.

Cookies that are automatically rebuilt after a user deletes them are known as zombie cookies.

Difference between Cache and Cookies

The following table highlights the major differences between Cache and Cookies −

The cache is a technique for storing website material for the long term.A cookie is used to save the user's preferences.
The contents of the cached website are only saved in the browser.The contents of cookies are saved on both the server and the browser.
In terms of capacity, it takes up a lot of space.In terms of capacity, it takes up less storage space.
Contents such as HTML pages, pictures, JavaScript, and CSS are stored in the cache.Cookies, on the other hand, save information such as browsing sessions and brief tracking data.
The response is not sent with requests by Cache.Cookie, on the other hand, transmits the response with requests.