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Browser Cookie

Last updated: Mar 26, 2021

Definition

Browser Cookie is a small file, containing characters and numbers stored on a user'computer while user is accessing web page on the internet.

It is like a virtual key that enters computers’ memory so that the website can recognize users when they access the website again by opening the door, or clicking on various contents or services.

Just like a key, cookies do not contain information, but when recognized by the browser, cookies can help the website to improve the service.

Types of Cookie

There are two types of cookie: session cookies persistent cookies. Session cookies are created temporarily in a sub-folder on your browser while you are visiting a website. After leaving the website, session cookies will be erased.

Persistent cookies, on the other hand, stay in the subfolder and are activated even after you leave the website. The cookies stay for a given period of time.

Information Stored

Cookies file are automatically stored into your browser’s memory, with each cookie containing:

  • The name of server that sends cookies
  • Cookies’ lifetime
  • Value—usually in a unique and random combination of numbers

Server’s site that sends cookies uses these numbers to identify you when you search through pages and return to the site.

Only the sender can read and use the cookies.

Other Terms/Names

web cookie

internet cookie

browser cookie

Etymology

The term “cookie” was invented by a web-browser programmer named Lou Montulli. It is from the term “magic cookie”, that is a data plan received and sent back by a program once used by Unix’s programmers.

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