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CookiesWhat is a cookie?

A cookie is a tiny file which can be left on your computer by a website when you visit it.

What is a cookie for?

To answer that, we need to think about how the internet works and what would happen if we didn’t have cookies.

Whenever go to look at a website, a request is sent across the internet to the server hosting that website. The webserver gets your request, responds to it by sending the page back, and forgets about it.

This means, in a world without cookies, every time you try to log in to an online account, you get immediately logged out again because the web server forgets who you are. Online shopping carts wouldn’t work, as you would find that as soon as you put an item into your cart, it falls out again.

Cookies are used to help a webserver remember you. Whenever you visit a website, a cookie is typically delivered and put on your computer, and thereafter, every time you make a request, the cookie is sent with it, so the webserver knows who you are and can respond appropriately.

Sounds fine, what’s the downside?

Like most things in life, cookies serve a useful purpose and are necessary in many circumstances, but there are others that are not, and are used to track users as they visit lots of different sites. For example, a lot of sites will use cookies to track your movements on the web, then will use that data to target adverts at you.  

What’s the law on cookies?

There are some cookies that are considered ‘strictly necessary’, these are cookies that are essential and without them would render your website unusable. An example of a ‘strictly necessary’ cookie would be an account login cookie.

For other types of cookie, such as cookies used by services such as Google Analytics, website owners are required by law to notify users of the cookie and get their explicit content before allowing their use. If your website is delivering non-essential cookies without or before getting a user’s consent, you are breaking the law.

What can I do to check?

If you are not sure if your website is compliant, get in touch, and we will inspect your site for you and let you know if your website is cookie compliant.