Cookies are small pieces or strings of data that websites save on your computer through a browser, for keeping track of certain parameters related to your activity on that site or for other purposes. They enable the web page to become more interactive, by delivering tailor-made pages to users. The web server accesses cookies through the browser to achieve this. There may be inbuilt programming on the page, which enables access to these saved pieces of information, in order to deliver certain functionality to the site.
A cookie file, saved by a web page, is essentially a table of values assigned to specific information parameters that the site needs to access and enables it to deliver dynamic web pages. For example, when you log into a site, your login name, the start of your session time, along with the options that you select on the site, are saved on your computer through the browser. Information about every session can be carried forward to the next with the help of cookies. If you are accessing certain e-shopping sites, then they will carry information about your shopping cart details.
A web page is accessed by millions of users simultaneously. If the server saves all user related information on its side and has to retrieve it every time, the site may slow down. Instead, cookies are saved on the client computer side itself, which enables speedy delivery of pages, from the server side. They can be temporarily or permanently saved on a computer. Some have a ‘self-destruct’ mode and they get deleted, as soon as the browser is closed. So, it is essential that you know how to disable and enable cookies in a browser.