What are internet cookies

In this guide, we will explain what internet cookies are, the different types and how they work. We will also show you how to block or allow internet cookies and where to find them on your computer.

Internet Cookies Everything you need to know

What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files that are downloaded to your web browser and stored on your computer. They are not programs or software.  There are a few different types of cookie but the main two are called 1st party cookie and 3rd party cookie. Internet Cookies are a way of customizing your website experience.

Below we talk about the two major internet cookie types and what each type of cookie does.

What are 1st party internet cookies?

A 1st party cookie is supplied directly from the website you visited and stores information about you on that individual website. The cookie is downloaded by your browser when you visit a website and stored on your computer. The cookie itself is a very small text file which has a simple identifier and some basic information about your preferences.

The text file or cookie allows the owner of a website to customize their website to your needs. Like a website loyalty card. When you visit a website site it searches to see if you have already downloaded a cookie and if you have it applies the settings.

What do 1st party cookies know about me?

1st party internet cookies generally store information that is helpful to you,  such as the list below.

  • A cookie could remember what language you want the website to be in.
  • The cookie might remember the username and password you use for their site.
  • Cookies could also allow you to leave things in the shopping basket and return later.
  • Generally allows web owners to tailor their website site to your needs.

Are there any negatives to 1st party cookies?

Generally speaking, 1st party cookies are the helpful ones. This type of cookie makes your experience more personal. However, there have been instances where website owners have targeted new customers with discounted prices and of course those that are considered ‘new’ are not using cookies.

A very famous brand was found to be doing this and has since stopped. You could always check prices before buying by using a device with no cookies installed.

Additionally, if you are using banking or other secure websites and have trouble logging in, deleting your cookies can sometimes resolve the problem.

What are 3rd party internet cookies?

3rd Party Cookies are slightly different. 3rd party cookies are tracking cookies. They are supplied by one website to be used on that website and other websites. They tend to be used by advertisers and therefore have a negative association.  When you notice adverts appearing for items you have been looking at on other sites, these are probably because of 3rd party cookies.

This type of cookie is used by advertising companies to record where you saw their advert. They also could know what time it was, where in the world you are and if you clicked on the advert.

Should I block 3rd party internet cookies?

We all value our privacy and advertisements are annoying. But there are also positive reasons for allowing 3rd party cookies. Such as social media buttons like a ‘Facebook like’ button on a website, is probably using a 3rd party cookie. As are the social share buttons at the end of this guide.

In terms of adverts, you are going to be receiving advertisements anyway; they may as well be targeted to what you are interested in.

How do they store all this information in a small text file?

As cookies are limited to a small text file stored on your computer, there is a limitation of what could be stored.  However, someone clever discovered that if the stored text file contained code that represented larger information once translated on the site.  They would be able to store more information about you.

How to block cookies, allow cookies, and see the cookies stored in Chrome

Below are instructions on how to manage your cookies in Chrome.

  1. Open Chrome
  2. In the address bar at the top of the page (not the google search box)
  3. Copy and paste chrome://settings/content/cookies
  4. Here you will see the cookie settings
  5. Click See all cookies and site data to see the cookies currently stored on your computer

You can also get to the same location by

  1. Open Chrome
  2. In the top right corner click the icon with 3 vertical dots as shown below 
  3. From the drop-down menu click settings
  4. A new window will open, scroll to the bottom
  5. Select Advanced settings
  6. Under the Privacy and Security section
  7. Click Content settings
  8. Click Cookies
  9. Here you will be able to block cookies, allow cookies, and see the cookies stored

In a physical sense the cookies used in chrome will be stored in the below location, however, it is easier to view them in your browser.

C:\Users\<your_username>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\

How to delete all internet cookies in Chrome

  1. Open Chrome
  2. In the top right corner click the icon with 3 vertical dots as shown below  
  3. From the drop-down menu hover over History and a new menu will open, select History
  4. A new window will open select Clear browsing data
  5. Tick the box next to Cookies and other site data
  6. Caution: Untick anything you do not want to delete.
  7. Press the Clear Data button

How to block cookies, allow cookies, and see the cookies stored in Internet Explorer

Below are instructions on how to manage your cookies in Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Press Alt to show the menu bar
  3. Click the tools tab (top of the screen)
  4. From the drop-down menu select Internet Options
  5. Select the Privacy Tab
  6. In Windows 7 a slider will appear, drag to top to block all and below for each level of restriction.
  7. In Windows 7 and 10 you can also manage 1st Party cookies and 3rd Party cookies by clicking the advanced button.
  8. Change Settings to suit your needs.
  9. Click Apply

How to view or remove internet cookies in Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Press Alt to show the menu bar
  3. Click the tools tab (top of the screen)
  4. From the drop-down menu select Internet Options
  5. A new window will open. On the General Tab under Browsing History click Settings
  6. Select View files or View Objects
  7. Delete chosen cookie.

How to delete all internet cookies in Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Press Alt to show the menu bar
  3. Click the tools tab (top of the screen)
  4. From the drop-down menu select Delete Browsing History
  5. Tick the box Cookies and Website data
  6. Caution: Untick anything you do not want to delete.
  7. Click Delete

How to allow or block cookies in Microsoft Edge

  1. In Microsoft Edge, you will need to click the three horizontal dots in the top right corner of the browser. 
  2. Click Settings from the drop-down menu
  3. Scroll down and click the View advanced settings button
  4. Scroll down until you see the Cookies section
  5. Choose from Block all cookies, Block only third-party cookies or Don’t block cookies.
  6. Close menu.

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