What are internet cookies? What types are there?
In their simplest form cookies are text files that are sent from a web server to a users browser. This text can be altered to store unique information which can only be read by the sender.
- Session / Transient Cookie
- Removed from a computer once the user closes the browser (Rouse 2005: online) and can last on a person’s computer for: a few minutes; several hours; several days if a browser is left open and the computer is in sleep mode.
- Performance Cookie
- Analytical purpose-based cookies find out the number of keywords or volume of visitors; they do not track users nor invade privacy.
- Functionality Cookie
- Personalise elements of a website, such as the language (Eijk et al. 2012:60) or the “remember me” function which allows a website to remember a username and/or password.
- Targeting / Marketing Cookie
- Allow advertisements to become relevant by storing users’ keywords and behaviours.
- Persistent / Permanent / Stored Cookie
- Useful for speeding up, enhancing user experience, or remembering details of a return visitor by staying in a subfolder until they are manually deleted (All About Cookies 2013: online): Persistent cookies can remain on a computer for several months or over ten years (Cole 1997:60).
- HTTP, Flash / Local Shared Object, First & Third Party Cookies
- HTTP cookies is the collective term referring to all of the above (session, performance, functionality and targeting cookies).
- Flash cookies, or Local Shared Objects, are used by websites that run Adobe Flash.
- First party cookies are used to identify the relationship a user has with a specific website.
- Third party cookies identify a relationship a user has with a website they have not directly visited.
Researchers have identified other types of, and terms for, cookies:
Photo from Computing Verticals.
A list of the different types of cookies
So this post has identified all the different types of electronic, computer, cookies which will allow you to decide whether or not you want to delete them, deny their use via cookie banners, or allow them to be used.
If you want to find out more you can read:
- All About Cookies (2013) About Cookies. [Online] [Accessed on 26st January 2013] http://is.gd/NgG80r
- Rouse, M. (2005) Transient cookie (session cookie). [Online] [Accessed on 21st December 2012] http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/definition/transient-cookie
- Eijk, N. Helberger, L. Kool, A. van der Plas, B. van der Sloot,, (2012) ‘Online tracking: questioning the power of informed consent.’ Info. 14(5) pp.57 – 73
- Peng, W. and Cisna, J. (2000) HTTP cookies – a promising technology. Online Information Review. 24(2) pp. 150 – 153