What Are Cookies?
When you log onto a site you’ve visited before and your login credentials are already loaded, or you return to an eCommerce shopping cart to find your chosen items stored there along with suggestions for others you might like, you have encountered cookies. These small bits of code are installed on a user’s browser, not their personal one, during a visit to a website in order to “remember,” information, such as email addresses, login information, and personal data and behaviors. Because that information is readily available the next time a user visits the site or logs in, it helps the site load faster and provides a smoother experience for the user.
Cookies can be set either by the site itself or by third parties that provide content via the site, such as advertisements or embedded video content. They can exist as “session cookies,” that expire once the user exits the site, or as “persistent cookies,” that remain on a user’s web browser for a set period of time – as short as a few hours, or as long as a year or more.
Cookies can also improve the speed and performance of a website by remembering and autofilling information on contact and comment forms, and by streamlining the checkout process on eCommerce sites.
By default, the WordPress source code is designed to generate cookies for two reasons: to save users’ login credentials for future visits, and to store identifying information when users leave comments. Comments are disabled on our websites. These two cookie functions are built into the source code, so they are a part of every WordPress site, although both of them may not be activated. The default WordPress cookies can help the site load faster and make it easier for returning website visitors to view pages.
We use different types of cookies on our website. Some of these cookies are placed by us, while others are placed by our third-party plug-ins providers. These cookies may be deleted from your device at different times, such as at the end of your browsing session (when you leave the website) or after a pre-set amount of time, or they may persist on your device until you delete them.
We use the following types of cookies on our website:
- essential cookies – these are cookies that allow our website to perform its essential functions. Without these cookies, some parts of our websites would stop working.
- site analytics cookies – these are cookies that monitor how our website is performing, and how you interact with it. We do not currently actively use these, but they may be used by our third-party plug-ins providers.
- functional cookies – these are cookies that remember who you are as a user of our website. We use them to remember any preferences you may have selected on our website, like saving your username and password or settings, or filling out a form.
MANAGING COOKIES ON WORDPRESS SITES
Cookies can carry out a number of essential functions, but many users find them intrusive and want to disable them. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox offer options under Privacy settings for showing what kinds of cookies have been set and for clearing them from the browsing history – or for refusing to accept cookies at all. When selecting this option, users are warned that getting rid of cookies can affect how a site performs and that not all of its features may be available. That can also mean that since data isn’t being saved, users must enter their required information every time they visit the site. Still, for users concerned about online privacy, disabling cookies can be a way to protect sensitive data.
Cookies remain passively in the background on a user’s web browser and users may not even be aware that they exist, or what kind of information they’re collecting. There is a cookie control interface that runs once a month on our websites and allows you to disable certain categories of cookies.
Cookies make WordPress sites run faster and help to provide a positive user experience.