What is a Cookie?
A cookie is a small text file that is stored in a web browser. It is generally used to customize the user experience. It is based on the cookies is how the language preferences are done. The recommendations based on what the user previously clicked on and more are done. The login in the email is maintained when the user comes back after checking the remember user is checked. Also, the website knows if or not the users are returning visitor to the site without even logging in.
Cookies are a way for the website for maintaining the application state. It stores the website information/preferences. They are also known as HTTP cookies, browser cookies, and just cookies also.
How cookie works?
When a user visits a website, the website puts a piece of information on the computer. This information generally is regarding the preferences of the user. These cookies can be used to improve the overall site experience or also the experience for the individual uses. There are many types of cookies and the most common one is the Session cookies. Apart from session cookies, there are first-party cookies, third-party cookies, secure cookies, and zombie cookies.
What is a Session cookie?:
Session cookies are created by the server application so that it can differentiate a user using a website in computer to a different user using the same website on a different computer. For example, a user can access facebook at the same time another user can also use Facebook but the second user does not see the same content as the first use. This happens because Facebook maintains a session for a particular user. As soon as the user logs out or leaves the browse inactive for a long time, the session expires.
After the session has expired, another user can log in to Facebook and use it and still not see the contents meant for the previous user.
These session cookies are also used with language preference. Sometimes websites that provide service that is over quickly also use a session to differentiate one user from another.
What is a First party cookie:
When a user visits a website, the website puts a cookie on the user. These cookies are used by the website and they can be used for the latter purpose by the website. These are first party cookies.
What is a Third party cookie:
These cookies are also known as tracking cookies. These cookies are used by other sites that were not visited by the user. How this works is, let us say that a website A has a content on website B. When the user visits website B, the content of the website B puts a cookie into the browser so that when the user actually visits website A, website A will know that the content has been already served to the user.
What is a Secure Cookie?:
Secure cookies are used with the website with HTTPS connection. These websites encrypt the data that is being exchanged between the client and the server. This is done so that any sniffing tool does not get what is being exchanged between the server and the browser. But the security is not complete if the information that is specific to the user is also not encrypted.
When a site is using an HTTPS connection, the cookies are no longer stored in plain text but it is also encrypted with powerful encryption techniques and encryption keys. This makes the cookies unreadable by common people and keeps the user personal information safe.
What is a Zombie cookie:
These are the cookies that can respawn themselves after even getting deleted. These cookie function by saving scripts directly to the user computer and it is considered a security vulnerability. Web site analytics companies use zombie cookie to track the user activity on a website.
How much time does a cookie last?
A cookie’s time to persistence can be set during the time of creation. As soon as the cookie crosses the time limit, the browser deletes the cookie. Otherwise, the cookies are automatically deleted as soon as the browser is closed. It is possible to make a cookie last for a longer period of time using server-side scripting. This information is usually passed in the response header.
Who can see a cookie?
Generally, the website that creates a cookie can see the cookie. That is the simple rule, and the browser prevents other domain names to access the cookies of a different website. This is mainly due to security reasons.
When a cookie is made, the website can determine which path the cookie can be visible and the cookie will behave accordingly.
Cookies are small text files saved by the website on a user computer. These cookies are a good way to tailor the user experience. They are also a way for an advanced web application to maintain user login, sessions and more. There are several types of cookies and the best one is secure cookies as it offers the same benefits with the addition of encryption of the cookies to protect the user data.