What are website cookies?

What are website cookies?

As one of the most extensive Content Management Systems (CMS) in the market, WordPress is constantly evolving and, in 2018, has gone through some of its most significant changes. We already know that there is a huge update coming soon in the form of WordPress 5.0.

BUT – another significant change has already happened, and that is the release of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into being at the beginning of May 25, 2018.

According to the GDPR, you will need to have complete control over their data, and you have to tell them why you need it, and a big part of this concerns COOKIES.

And no, we are not referring to a biscuit that you eat! According to Wikipedia:

An HTTP cookie is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember stateful information or to record the user’s browsing activity.

A cookie is what a website uses to enhance its website experience. As a web server has no memory – cookies are used in several different ways:

  • It can identify users on a website
  • It can prepare customised web pages for potential users
  • It can save your information
  • It can also track important information about you as a user and your web behaviour.

What types of cookies are there?

  • You have web browser session cookies ( These are temporary and don’t store long-term data about you)
  • You have persistent cookies. (These types of cookies are permanent and store information on a long-term basis. They usually have expiration data that will be terminated, or you can go and delete them through your browser)
  • The last type of cookie is a malicious cookie (This is the cookie that advertisers will use to target you. It tracks you over time. It includes what kind of shopping you do and what your typical online behaviour is.)

How does this fit in with WordPress?

According to Iubenda, WordPress collects data from you if you log in to either a WordPress site or if you log a comment on a post. Google Analytics generates two cookies: _ga – This cookie is used to distinguish users and records the IP address of the user’s computer and _gat – This cookie is used to throttle requests. There are also a variety of other plugins that use cookies.

The good news is that you can monitor this! You can use this website cookie tool to see all cookies on a WordPress site. You can also check this on your browser.

If you use Chrome, check Settings: Privacy and Security: Content Settings: Cookies: See all cookies and site data: Search (top right) for the website you want to see.

As you can see, it is growing more and more important to understand what a cookie is, what it does and how to remove it if you ever need to. We can see how significant a role it plays in WordPress, and it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve!

    • Related Articles

    • Preparing website copy

      Every website needs to say something. What makes website communication unique is that rich media (images, graphics, videos, links etc.) can beautify your pages and speak much louder than a plain text document. However, the copy (text/words) on a web ...
    • The 6 disadvantages of using WordPress

      One of the great adventures of growing your business is crafting a unique online presence through a well-designed website. On this quest to conquer cyberspace, one could argue that WordPress is the road of least resistance. Celebrating their 17th ...
    • Image optimisation

      It's often said, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. We love to interact with visuals rather than words. If we are able to reduce the size of these images without reducing the image quality, then it will have a direct positive impact on page load ...