Cookies are small data files that are sent from a website’s server to your web browser, from where they are stored on your device. Their purpose can vary, but they’re often used to:
- Help customize a website
- Help a visitor navigate through a website
- Improve user experience
- Store a visitor’s preferences and login information
Cookies can be both an essential or a non-essential part of your site, depending on your needs.
Essential cookies are automatically placed on your computer or device when you access a website or take certain actions on a website. These cookies are used only to transmit the data online and are strictly necessary to make a website operational. Examples of essential cookies include:
- Session cookies that keep users logged in as they navigate the website
- Persistent cookies that save customized preferences for the users
- Cookies that keep a shopping basket saved during the checkout process
These are all the other kinds of cookies that do not fall under the definition of essential cookies. Non-essential cookies and other technologies are only placed on the user’s device if the user has given consent to do so. Examples of non-essential cookies include:
- Cookies left by analytics tools such as Google Analytics
- Advertising trackers such as Facebook Pixel
- Cookies left by any third-party widgets or embedded content
Certain data privacy legislation such as General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR) may require you as a website owner to inform your visitors of cookies and ask for visitors’ consent to use them.