Cookies are small data files that are sent from a website’s server to your web browser, from where they are stored on your device. Their purpose can vary, but they’re often used to:
- Help customize a website
- Help a visitor navigate through a website
- Improve user experience
- Store a visitor’s preferences and login information
Cookies can be both an essential or a non-essential part of your site, depending on your needs.
Essential cookies are automatically placed on your computer or device when you access a website or take certain actions on a website. These cookies are used only to transmit the data online and are strictly necessary to make a website operational. Examples of essential cookies include:
- Session cookies that keep users logged in as they navigate the website
- Persistent cookies that save customized preferences for the users
- Cookies that keep a shopping basket saved during the checkout process
These are all the other kinds of cookies that do not fall under the definition of essential cookies. Non-essential cookies and other technologies are only placed on the user’s device if the user has given consent to do so. Examples of non-essential cookies include:
- Cookies left by analytics tools such as Google Analytics
- Advertising trackers such as Facebook Pixel
- Cookies left by any third-party widgets or embedded content
Certain data privacy legislation such as General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR) may require you as a website owner to inform your visitors of cookies and ask for visitors’ consent to use them.
To learn how to ask for visitor’s consent to cookies on your site, visit How to add a cookie banner.