A cookie is a small data file stored on the client’s browser by a website or web application. Cookies are used to store information about the user’s activity and preferences, such as login credentials, shopping cart contents, or preferences for website appearance. This information can be retrieved by the website or application on subsequent visits, allowing it to provide a personalized experience for the user. Cookies are sent from the server to the browser with each HTTP request and are included in subsequent requests to the same domain, allowing the website or application to maintain a state between page loads. However, cookies can also be used to track user behavior across multiple sites and can compromise user privacy, making the use of cookies-less techniques an alternative in certain cases.

Cookies can compromise the privacy of users in several ways:

  • Tracking: Cookies can be used to track a user’s behavior across multiple websites, allowing companies to build a profile of the user’s interests and online activities.
  • Third-party tracking: Third-party cookies, set by domains other than the one the user is visiting, can allow advertisers to track a user’s activities across the web.
  • Persistence: Cookies are stored on the user’s device, meaning that their information can be retrieved even after the user has left the website or closed their browser.
  • Security: Cookies can be vulnerable to hacking or other security breaches, allowing malicious actors to access sensitive user information.
  • Lack of control: Users may have limited control over what information is stored in cookies and how it is used, as they are often set and managed by the website or application, not the user.

Because of these privacy concerns, many users choose to disable cookies in their browser or use browser extensions to block third-party cookies. Alternatives to cookies, such as token-based authentication and local storage, can also be used to store user data while minimizing privacy risk

Another programming technique is cookieless programming. Cookieless programming is a technique for creating and managing web applications without using cookies. In cookie-less programming, alternative methods such as local storage, token-based authentication, or URL parameters are used to store and transmit user data and preferences. This approach can enhance the privacy and security of user data and may also improve performance by reducing the size of HTTP requests. Cookieless programming is often used for privacy-sensitive applications, such as online banking or healthcare websites, where the use of cookies may raise privacy concerns.

Learn the types of cookies most commonly supported by browsers.

First Party CookiesSecond Party CookiesThird-Party Cookies
Take place solely within the boundaries of an individual company’s domain.It can be used both within and outside of the domain that an individual company controls.Acquired through websites that are not part of an organization’s own domain.
such as session or persistent cookies, have analytical or functional purposes.Originate directly from a data-sharing partnership agreement (first-party data belongs to another organization; second-party data comes from the original source).The most common uses are advertising, including remarketing ads, and tracking off-site behavior.
Store site behavior like language preferences, shopping cart items, and usernames. Include customer-provided email and phone numbers.Save users’ language preferences, shopping carts, and usernames. Include client-provided confidential information like email and phone numbers.Avoid collecting any information that could identify a specific individual (PII).

Please read another post to find out what will happen once Google will discontinue the browser’s support for third-party cookies.


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By Md Afzal Sharif

Afzal is an Adobe Multi Solution Architect with experience in designing and implementing the platform with innovative and Architect best practice. He has been in this role for several years. His areas of expertise include directing the planning and strategic development of digital technologies, designing and implementing those technologies, and providing various business solutions.