What are cookies and what is their importance?

¿Qué son las Cookies?
Hernán Sosa at Digital Jump

Author: Hernán Ariel

Web Developer

Cookies are small files that are stored in the user’s browser when they visit a website. These files contain information about the user’s preferences, habits and behaviors, as well as technical data that facilitate navigation and personalization of the site.

They have several important functions for the operation of a website, such as:

  • Remember the user’s login details, preventing them from having to enter them every time they access the site.
  • Adapt the content and design of the site to the user’s preferences and needs, offering a more satisfactory and relevant experience.
  • Compile statistical information on the use and performance of the site, which allows it to improve its functionalities and optimize its positioning in search engines.
  • Show personalized advertising, based on the user’s interests and browsing history.
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Cookie Classification

In short, these are divided into three large groups:

  • Depending on their origin: cookies may be your own or third-party cookies.

    Your own are those that are sent from the website you visit, while those of third parties are those that are sent from other websites that offer services or content on the visited site.
  • Depending on their duration: cookies can be persistent or session.

    Persistent ones are those that remain stored in the user’s browser until they expire or are manually deleted.

    Session cookies are those that are automatically deleted when the user closes the browser.
  • Depending on their purpose: they can be technical, personalization, analysis, advertising or behavioral advertising.

    The techniques are those that allow the basic operation of the website, such as navigation, access to secure areas or management of the shopping cart.

    Personalization cookies are those that allow the user to configure aspects such as language, format or location.

    The analysis ones are those that allow measuring and analyzing the activity of the website and the behavior of users.

    Advertising cookies are those that allow you to manage the advertising spaces on the website. Behavioral advertising are those that allow personalized advertising to be shown to the user based on their profile.
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As you can see, this resource is essential for the functioning of a website, but it also implies certain risks for the privacy and security of users. Therefore, it is important for users to know what types of cookies a website uses, for what purposes and how they can manage them.

To do this, websites must inform users about the use of cookies through a legal notice, a privacy policy and an acceptance or rejection option. Likewise, users can configure their browser to accept or reject all or some cookies, as well as to delete them periodically.