What are Website Cookies?

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What are Website Cookies?


WordPress as one of the biggest Content Management Systems (CMS) in the market is constantly evolving and in 2018 has gone through some of its biggest changes. We already know that there is a huge update coming soon in the form of WordPress 5.0.

BUT – there is another big change that has already happened and that is the releasing of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came in to being the beginning of May 25, 2018.

According to the GDPR regulation, you will need to have complete control over their data, and you have to tell them why you need it and a big part of this concerns COOKIES

What is a cookie?

And no we are not referring to a biscuit that you eat! According to Wikipedia:

An HTTP cookie is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember stateful information or to record the user’s browsing activity.

A cookie is what a website uses to enhance your website experience. As a web server has no memory – cookies are used in a number of different ways:

  • It can identify users on a website
  • It can prepare customised web pages for potential users
  • It can save your information
  • It can also track important information about you as a user and your web behaviour

What types of cookies are there?

  • You have web browser session cookies ( These are temporary and don’t store long-term data about you)
  • You have persistent cookies. (These types of cookies are  permanent and store information on a long-term basis. They usually have a expiration data will be terminated or you can go and delete them through your browser)
  • The last type of cookie is a malicious cookie (This is the cookie that advertisers will use to target you. It tracks you over time. It includes what kind of shopping you do and what your typical online behaviour is.)

How does this fit in with WORDPRESS?

According to Iubenda, WordPress collects data from you if you log in to either a WordPress site or if you log a comment on a post. Google Analytics generates two cookies: _ga – This cookie is used to distinguish users and records the IP address of the user’s computer and _gat – This cookie is used to throttle requests. There are also a variety of other plugins that use cookies.

The good news is that you can monitor this! To see all cookies on a WordPress site, you can use this website cookie tool. You can also check this on your own browser.

If you use Chrome, check Settings: Privacy and Security: Content Settings: Cookies: See all cookies and site data: Search (top right) for the website you want to see.

As you can see it is growing more and more important to understand what a cookie is and what it does and how to remove it if you ever need to. We can see how big a role it plays in WordPress and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve!