A cookie is a small text file that stores information about your preferences when you visit a website but are they good or bad?
When cookies were first invented they were small text files, saved on your computer, that would store your preferences when you visited a website.
Cookies store your personal preferences.
For example: if you visited a website and set your language preference to English it would save this information in a cookie and remember it for the next time you visited.
As the Internet has developed and developers realised they could make greater use of them for tracking information about users. However, the size limits of the files prevented them from growing further.
So developers came up with a way round this problem. Instead of trying to store lots of information in cookies on your computer they would store a unique code instead. This code could then be used to look up your preferences in a database that they could store on their servers.
Cookies store a unique ID so a website can look up your preferences in a database.
An Internet Cookie can only be read by the website that created it. Another website can not read the information that it holds. However, you will often see adverts on other sites that are based on things you viewed on a website.
If, for example , you visit a shopping website and then later look at a sports website. You see adverts on the shopping website embedded in the sports website.
This is because the adverts are small parts of the shopping website which can access your cookie for the shopping website and show adverts based on your preferences.
Cookies allow websites to provide personalised adverts.
So are cookies good or bad? Cookies are supposed to be there to help you, but whether they are good or bad depends on the developer and what they have designed them for.