Are Cookies Evil? What Service Do Cookies Perform In A Web Browser? Keyword Discovery
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Are Cookies Evil? What Service Do Cookies Perform In A Web Browser?

Posted by Fred Black on: 2006-10-10 18:55:36

Self SEO > Internet Articles

Are cookies are bad and do they invade your privacy? We're not talking about the kind of cookie you eat, we're talking about computer cookies! It's not really true that cookies are evil.

So, what is a cookie, what's it made of and what does it do? A cookie is a tiny text file that a web site can put on your computer as you browse the pages on that web site. One thing people don't understand is that a web site can only read and write its own cookies, it cannot access another web site's cookies. Cookies are used for storing various items of information, such as a name, or a selection choice you made. This information will be read back from the when you load other pages on the site, or, on return visits to the site.

What reason does a web site need to use cookies? Web browsers are stateless, stateless means that as you through various pages on a web site, each of those pages is a separate and distinct action. For example, the web server does not know it's the same person that was on the home page that made the request for the order page. This is very different from desktop applications like Microsoft Excel that you run on your computer. The web server sees all page requests as individual requests for pages, not as a continuous visit from you. As you move through a web site and select things and make choices, what keeps you from having to reenter or reselect that information as you load each page? Usually the answer is a cookie. A cookie can be used by the web server to keep track of you as a user so that as you navigate from page A to page B, the web server knows it's you and the developer of the web site can reference those items stored in your cookie to maintain a stateful experience for your session or visit to the web site.

Occasionally, you may want or need to delete your cookies.

You can delete your cookies a few ways. Most web browsers (Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, FireFox, Opera,

etc.) have different ways to do this, so consult the help for your browser on how to delete the cache files and cookies. There are also several software packages to clean your PC and these packages also delete cookies.

Using cookies improves your user experience when browsing the Internet. Is there a security risk or danger to cookies? A web site can use cookies for saving information that you enter into forms on web pages and that's where security concerns arise. Usually this never causes any problem, however, before letting someone use your computer, or taking your computer somewhere to be repaired or serviced, always delete your browser's cache AND cookies!
Each browser is different, so consult your help files for the browser you use (Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, FireFox, Opera, etc.) for how to delete the cache files and cookies.

About The Author:
Fred Black created, An Introduction to Creating Web Sites, to help guide others seeking to learn about HTML, CSS, and more.

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