Cookies act as a form of short-term memory for the web, stored in your browser to facilitate the ‘remembering’ of small pieces of information between different pages or visits to a website.
Cookies, in their simplest form, are packets of data sent by a server to a user’s browser. These data packets contain information about the user’s session, preferences, and other details. Upon receiving and storing this information, the browser can then send it back to the server with subsequent requests, enabling a more seamless and personalized browsing experience.
One primary purpose of cookies is to maintain user sessions. When you log in to a website, cookies help the server recognize you as the same user across different pages. This ensures that you don’t have to re-enter your credentials every time you navigate to a new section of the site.
Additionally, cookies are instrumental in storing user preferences. For instance, if you customize the layout or theme of a website, cookies preserve these settings, ensuring that the website appears as per your preferences every time you visit.
Despite their positive contributions to user experience, cookies have faced scrutiny due to their potential to infringe on privacy. Certain types of cookies, particularly third-party cookies, can track users across various websites, creating a comprehensive profile of their online behavior. These behavioral profiles become valuable resources for advertisers and marketers seeking to target specific audiences with tailored content and advertisements.