What are cookies?
Cookies are files that can be downloaded to your computer through websites. They are tools that have a role
essential for the provision of many Information Society services. Among other things, they enable a website to store and retrieve information about the browsing habits of a user or their computer and, depending on the information obtained, can be used to recognize the user and improve the service offered.
What are they for?
Cookies are commonly used by web servers to differentiate between users and to act differently depending on the server.
Users are normally identified by entering their credentials on a validation page; cookies allow the server to know that the user is already validated, and therefore can be allowed to access services or perform operations that are restricted to unidentified users.
Types of cookies
Depending on the entity that manages the domain from which the cookies are sent and processes the data obtained, two types can be distinguished:
- Own cookies: those that are sent to the user's terminal equipment from a computer or domain managed by the publisher itself and from which the service requested by the user is provided.
- Third-party cookies: those that are sent to the user's terminal equipment from a computer or domain that is not managed by the publisher, but by another entity that processes the data obtained through cookies.
In the case that cookies are installed from a computer or domain managed by the publisher itself but the information collected through them is managed by a third party, they cannot be considered as own cookies.
There is also a second classification according to the length of time they remain stored in the customer's browser, which may be:
- Session cookies: designed to collect and store data while the user accesses a website. They are usually used to store information that is only interesting to keep for the provision of the service requested by the user on one occasion (e.g. a list of products purchased).
- Persistent cookies: the data is still stored in the terminal and can be accessed and processed for a period defined by the person responsible for the cookie, which can range from a few minutes to several years.
Finally, there is another classification with five types of cookies according to the purpose for which the data obtained is processed:
- Technical cookies: those that allow the user to navigate through a web page, platform or application and use the different options or services that exist therein, such as, for example, controlling traffic and data communication, identifying the session, accessing restricted access areas, remembering the elements that make up an order, carrying out the purchase process of an order, applying for registration or participation in an event, using security elements during navigation, storing content for the broadcasting of videos or sound or sharing content through social networks.
- Personalization cookies: they allow the user to access the service with some general characteristics predefined according to a series of criteria in the user's terminal, such as language, the type of browser through which the user accesses the service, the regional configuration from which the user accesses the service, etc.
- Analysis cookies: they allow the person responsible for them to monitor and analyse the behaviour of the users of the websites to which they are linked. The information collected by means of this type of cookie is used to measure the activity of the websites, application or platform and to draw up navigation profiles of the users of these sites, applications and platforms, in order to introduce improvements based on the analysis of the usage data made by the users of the service.
- Advertising cookies: they allow the management, in the most efficient way possible, of advertising spaces.
- Behavioral advertising cookies: they store information on the behavior of users obtained through continuous observation of their browsing habits, which allows the development of a specific profile to display advertising based on it.