What cookies are and how they work

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Normally, cookies are nothing more than biscuits (cookies). But on the Internet, cookies are tiny text files that allow the servers on the Internet to identify a visitor to a website and store settings appropriate to that visitor. This means that the visitor to the website does not have to constantly repeat and re-enter settings, for example passwords that have already been entered.

How cookies work

Often, when you visit a website, the website's web server transfers a small file to your computer called a cookie. If you visit the website again, the website retrieves this text file and makes the appropriate settings on the website.

Cookies can be used, for example, to retrieve shopping lists that a user created when visiting a web shop the next time.

But also settings for color selection or font size can be stored and these are then displayed to the visitor of a website when he visits it again, without the user having to make the settings again.

Do you use an e-mail box with your computer and the provider's website automatically recognizes who you are? This function is made possible by cookies. Surfing the Internet is much easier and more user-friendly with cookies.

There are different types of cookies

So-called session cookies store information only for the duration of the visit to a website and ensure that the user of a password-protected file does not have to log in again and again and enter the password again.

Tracking cookies, on the other hand, play an enormously important role in online marketing. You may have already noticed it: If you have searched for a product in a web shop and then see advertisements on another website that refer to the previously searched product, then both are hardly possible without the use of tracking cookies.

The second website learns from the cookies which products you have already searched for elsewhere and displays the appropriate advertisements accordingly.

A distinction must be made between first-party cookies and third-party cookies. First-party cookies are set by the visited website itself. Third-party cookies are transferred to your computer by third-party providers.

Supercookies, on the other hand, are special tracking cookies that are embedded directly by the Internet provider in the code of websites and collect information about the websites visited by the user or about what the user clicks on websites.

Evercookies are combinations of different cookies that are stored in several different locations. This serves to protect against attempts by the user to delete them or so-called tracking blockers.

If a user tries to prevent evercookies from being set or to delete the cookies, copies of these cookies restore the "old" duplicates. These form of cookies are often considered malicious because they clearly act against the user's will.

Just take a look at the cookies that have already been stored on your computer. Here you can learn how to access the cookies on your computer.