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Saturday 23 March 2019
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What are web cookies and how can you manage them?

Whenever you visit a new website for the first time, you’ll be presented with a window that asks for your permission to store cookies on your computer. If you aren’t particularly tech savvy, it can be difficult to understand exactly what you’re consenting to. But, how many times have you clicked ‘okay’ without putting much thought into what it means?

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what cookies are and how you can manage them. We will look at why they exist, whether you should block them, and how they affect you and your internet browsing. Read on to find the answers to any questions you might have.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small files that can be placed on your computer by the websites that you visit. According to LetUsFixIT’s guide to computer cookies, these files allow websites to keep note of certain pieces of information, such as whether you’ve left anything in your shopping basket, or what your login details are.

There are some benefits to giving permission for cookies to be placed on your computer — after all, returning to a full shopping basket and not having to remember your password can be very convenient. But, cookies can also be used by websites and their advertisers to track your browsing habits and adjust their online adverts to suit you. For some people, the feeling of having their online activity tracked can make them feel quite uncomfortable. It’s important to know that cookies can’t collect any information from your computer that isn’t relevant to the website they’ve come from. Still, many people like to have control over the cookies that are being placed on their computers, and there are a number of ways in which you can do this.

Should you block cookies?

If you block all cookies, lots of pages won’t display correctly in your browser, and many websites won’t actually allow you to visit them unless you give them permission to place cookies on your computer. However, you should be able to block certain types of cookies without being negatively affected.

Most browsers will give you the option to block third party cookies, which tend to be responsible for tracking your online habits and tailoring adverts to them. Also, if there are particular sites you don’t trust, you might want to ask your browser to compile a blacklist and stop these websites from placing cookies on your computer. For more information about the ins and outs of blocking and enabling and cookies, take a look at The Daily Mail’s privacy policy and cookies FAQ.

How can you delete internet cookies?

While deleting cookie files can seem quite complicated if you’ve never done it before, it’s actually pretty simple once you’ve gotten the hang of it. However, the process can differ depending on which internet browser you’re using.

Here is what you need to do if Internet Explorer is your preferred browser:

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Click the ‘Tools’ icon in the upper right hand corner of the window.
  3. Hover your cursor over the ‘Safety’ option and then click ‘Delete browsing history’.
  4. Make sure there is a tick in the box next to ‘Cookies’ and click ‘Delete’.
  5. Your computer should now be cookie-free.

And this is how to delete cookies if you’re using Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Click the icon made up of three dots in a vertical line, which is in the top right hand corner.
  3. Select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu that appears and a new window will load.
  4. Click ‘Show advanced settings’.
  5. Under the ‘Privacy’ section, click the ‘Content settings’ button and a new window should open.
  6. Click the ‘All cookies and site data’ button if you would like to delete cookies individually, or the ‘Remove all’ button.
  7. Click ‘Done’ and all of the cookies you don’t want should have been deleted.

If you aren’t using Internet Explorer or Google Chrome, Computer Hope has a guide to enabling, disabling, and deleting internet cookies that will talk you through the process for your preferred browser.

 

A lot of the time, cookies can be quite convenient. But, if you’re tired of seeing adverts that are obviously based on your browsing history, you can delete them to start afresh and give yourself some peace of mind. And, now that you’ve read our guide, you have the knowledge you’ll need to do so.




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