A cookie is a small internet file containing an identifier (a mix of letters and numbers) that is processed by a web server to a web browser, where it is stored. The identifier is then returned to the server each time the browser requests or refreshes a page from the server. They serve as a memory tool and are able to recognise your online behaviour and remember your actions.
Cookies may be either "persistent" cookies or "session" cookies:
- Persistent cookies will be stored by a web browser and will remain valid until its set expiry date, unless deleted by the user before the expiry date. Persistent Cookies (also known as first-party cookies) work by tracking your online preferences. When you visit our website for the first time, it is at its default setting, but if you personalise the site to fit your preferences, persistent cookies will remember and implement those preferences the next time you visit the site. This is how browser’s remember and store your login information, language selections, menu preferences, internal bookmarks for next time.
- A session cookie, on the other hand, will expire at the end of the user session, when the web browser is closed. Session Cookies are temporary cookies that memorise your online activities. Since websites have no sense of memory, without these cookies, your site browsing history would always be blank and with every click you would make, the website would treat you as a completely new visitor.