Proxyrack - October 30, 2023

What Happens When You Accept Cookies?

We see cookie messages numerous times every day, usually clicking 'accept all' and getting on with whatever we're doing.

But what really happens when you accept cookies, and what data is being stored?

With concerns about how much data cookies track, you need to know what you're signing up for when you click 'accept' to get rid of that annoying pop-up message.

Here, we explain what happens when you accept cookies, the role they play in enhancing our online experience, and why you may want to reconsider accepting cookies next time you head on to a website.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small data clusters that remember our browsing behavior and preferences, like login credentials and language settings.

Cookies track information to paint a picture of your interests, which helps to provide a personalized experience and targeted ads.

While cookies can enhance your online experience and tailor adverts to your interests, privacy concerns exist. Some users choose to disable cookies to protect their private information, although this can limit a website's functionality.

How do cookies work?

Cookies (sometimes called HTTP cookies) are small text files stored on your device when you visit websites. These files contain your browsing history and how you interact with websites and content. Here's a typical process for how internet cookies work.

  1. Browsing the internet: When you visit a website, the site's server sends a request to your browser to store a cookie.

  2. Cookie creation and storage: The browser creates a unique identifier for the cookie, storing it in a folder on our device. This means the website will recognize your device when you revisit it.

  3. Data storage: The cookie stores your login details and language preference information.

  4. Sending data back to the website: When you revisit the website or go to a different part of the website, the browser sends the information in the cookie to the website's server.

  5. Cookies are stored or deleted: Some temporary cookies will be deleted from your device after you close your browser. Other cookies will remain; these store information needed for the next time you visit the site, like language preferences.

  6. Tracking and personalization: websites will use cookies to track your behavior across different pages and sessions to understand your browsing habits and interests. This enables ads to be

Types of cookies

There are three main types of cookies:

Session Cookies

These cookies expire when you close your browser. Session cookies store temporary information, like what you have in your basket online shopping.

Permanent/persistent Cookies

Also known as first-party cookies, these are used to remember your login information and preferences for future visits and will remain on your device even after you close your browser.

Third-party Cookies

These are commonly used for online advertising and tracking your browsing habits across different websites. Other websites set third-party cookies, not the site you're on.

What happens if you accept cookies?

When you accept cookies, you permit websites to install cookie scripts on your device. This can be convenient for you, especially when it comes to playing videos, online shopping, showing personalized ads, and more.

Although this might sound very positive, there are things you need to consider before you press 'accept all.'

California has the most comprehensive data privacy legislation in America, which states that website owners can run cookies without consent. Still, they must inform visitors through a 'Do Not Sell My Personal Information' notice - users can opt out or decline cookies at any time through this notice.

Giving users the option to opt out whenever means that those who have accidentally accepted cookies can go back and change their selection.

What happens if you reject cookies?

You can decline cookies if you want to avoid things like data collection and advertisements for third-party services and products. When you reject all cookies, the following things can happen:

1. Limited functionality and performance

Cookies enable websites to remember things and simplify using services. These cookies are necessary for websites and services to be more convenient. Cookies can also help to distribute requests across servers, reducing load times - rejecting cookies may lead to slower load times, especially on websites with high traffic.

2. Loss of personalization

Rejecting cookies means websites can't track browsing history and habits, so your experience and the adverts you see may become generic.

3. Forms or transactions may take longer to complete

Cookies may store the information you've entered into forms, making it easier to fill them out. Without these cookies, you may have to enter details like your name and address again.

4. Repeated cookie consent requests

Every time you head to a website, you'll need to re-decline their cookies, which may become annoying, especially if you frequent the same websites regularly.

5. Your privacy will be enhanced

As you've rejected cookies, websites and third parties won't be able to track your online behavior and see which web pages you visit.

Can cookies be hacked?

Cookies hijacking happens when malware steals session cookies and sends them to a hacker. A hacker can find your login details and other personal data using this information.

A cookie attack typically happens when a hacker sends a user a fake link requesting they log in to one of their accounts, usually done by sending spam emails.

The scam involves the user clicking the link and 'signing in' to the fake, unencrypted website. Once they do this, their cookie can be stolen, and the hacker can act like the user.

Cookie hijacking can also happen on public, unsecured Wi-Fi connections, as hackers can steal cookies as they travel through the connection. This is even possible if the web address you're visiting is secure and encrypted.

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Should you accept or reject cookies?

Whether you accept or reject cookies depends on your preferences and any privacy concerns you may have.

You should accept cookies if...

1. Personalization matters

If you appreciate personalized experiences online, accepting cookies can enhance your user experience. Websites can remember your preferences, language settings, and login status, providing a seamless and tailored browsing experience.

2. Convenience is important

Cookies save time by remembering items in your shopping cart, login credentials, and form entries. Accepting cookies can be beneficial if you value convenience and avoid repeatedly entering the same information.

3. You want to optimize functionality

Some websites, especially those offering services like online banking or e-commerce, may require cookies to function correctly. Accepting cookies ensures these websites work as intended.

4. You prefer targeted ads

Cookies allow websites to deliver targeted advertisements and content based on your interests. Accepting cookies can provide a more engaging online experience if you prefer relevant ads and personalized content.

You should reject cookies if...

1. Privacy is your priority

If you are concerned about online privacy and do not want websites to track your activities, rejecting cookies can enhance your privacy. By blocking cookies, you reduce the data collected about your online behavior.

2. You want to avoid targeted ads

Rejecting cookies can limit the tracking used for targeted advertising. If you find targeted ads intrusive or prefer not to be tracked across different websites, blocking cookies can prevent such practices.

3. You want to preserve your information

If you are using a public or shared computer and are concerned about your sensitive information being stored, rejecting cookies can help protect your data from being accessed by others.

4. You must comply with regulations 

Some regions have stringent data privacy regulations. Rejecting cookies might be necessary to ensure compliance with laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.

Keep your data safe with Proxyrack

If you're keen to keep your personal data safe, proxies can significantly enhance your online privacy and security.

With a residential or datacenter proxy from Proxyrack, you get the three key benefits below to keep your cookies and data secure:

Anonymity and IP concealment

When you connect to a website through a proxy, the website sees the proxy's IP address instead of your own. This anonymizes your online activities and prevents websites from directly tracking your IP address, adding a layer of privacy to your browsing sessions.

Preventing direct access to cookies

Proxies can prevent websites from directly accessing your cookies. When you connect through a proxy, the website only sees the proxy's cookies, not yours. This indirect connection helps protect your cookies from being collected or tracked by websites you visit.

Enhanced privacy in public networks

Proxies encrypt your data, making it significantly more challenging for hackers to intercept your cookies or personal information, thus ensuring your privacy and security, especially when using unsecured public Wi-Fi connections.

Stop worrying about where your data is being used and use the web with complete peace of mind with Proxyrack. Discover more about our datacenter and residential proxies.

Check out our blog for more advice on ensuring anonymity and securing your data online. Here, you'll find tips on testing proxies, how to hide your IP address, our complete guide to the different types of proxies, and more.


What are third-party cookies?

Third-party cookies are stored in your web browser by websites other than the sites you're directly visiting, e.g. websites and services that run adverts on social media.

While they can enhance your experience of different websites by showing you adverts relevant to your interests, privacy concerns exist around how closely they track users' behavior.

Is your IP address personal data?

Yes, your IP address is considered personal data. When combined with other information, your IP address can be linked to you or the organization you work for and can even give away your location.

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