A browser cookie is a small piece of data produced by a web site that you have visited, stored in your browser, and then sent back to the web site the next time you visit. Cookies are used to save session between visits, to keep you logged in to a site, or even store your preferences. For instance, when you visit a site and then use the login page, a special cookie is placed on your computer with a unique identifier. This identifier is used the next time you click on a page to verify that you have already logged in and look up your user details.
Many people wrongly think that cookies are a privacy problem, or that web sites can steal your cookies, or place something bad on your computer. The reality is that cookies are just tiny pieces of text, and can only be sent back to the same web site that originally created them. They are very useful, and when you wipe your cookies, you are simply logging yourself out of every web site at once.
Cookies are also a delicious food, like these Raspberry Sable cookies from our sister site, Cooking Wiki.
- By Lowell Heddings on 08/28/12