In simple words, cookies can be defined as small snippets of plain text codes that are usually sent by websites and stored in the internet browser of users during a browsing session. If you do not have any clear idea about cookies, then you might be surprised to hear that cookies are an integral part of surfing the internet. Unfortunately, most internet users are not aware of the significance of cookies.
The primary aim of installing cookies on browsers is to considerably improve the user experience of website visitors. However, in some cases, cookies are also used to boost the performance of websites. There are plenty of default cookies included in the source code of WordPress, which can be used for the above-mentioned purposes. You can also find several third-party plugins that will enable you to ensure the GDPR compliance of cookies and even manage them.
Why are Cookies Important
If you are an active internet user who browses plenty of websites on a daily basis, then you will surely come across internet cookies at least a couple of times. For instance, when you are revisiting an old website, you will be able to see that the login credentials would have automatically filled, which is due to cookies. Internet users who access online stores are usually able to find the purchased items and even related suggestion thanks to the presence of these tiny bits of text codes.
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Cookies are stored on the browsers of internet users in order to remember their login credentials, email addresses, and other personal data. Since the cookies save these kinds of details, users will be able to log in to an old website without going through the trouble of entering the credentials once again. This, in turn, helps users to proceed straight to browsing without wasting any of their valuable time.
Who is Responsible for Installing Cookies
A major percent of internet users has a misconception that browser cookies can be installed only by websites. The reality is that third parties may also set cookies with the help of embedded video contents or ads. These types of cookies are generally called as session cookies because they tend to expire when users end the website browsing session.
It is crucial to note that these types of cookies will be present on the internet browser of website visitors for a certain amount of time. However, the time period can be either hours, months, or even more. Cookies serve the crucial function of auto-filling information on comment and contact forms and make online shopping a lot easier by streamlining the checkout process. This is why cookies are of significant importance when it comes to internet browsing.
Cookies in WordPress Websites
From the above statements, you must have probably learned the fact that cookies possess the unique ability to improve website performance and user experience. This is one of the major reasons why the WordPress platform uses them. You can add and manage cookies to different WordPress websites in two ways.
The first method includes using the source code of WordPress itself while the second technique incorporates the use of third-party plugins for managing cookies. The source code of WordPress is generating cookies to save identifying information and login credentials of internet users during a browsing session. These two cookie functions are included in the WordPress source code, which means that they will be present on all WordPress websites.
It is true that almost all WordPress sites will contain the above-mentioned cookie functions, but in some cases, only one of them will be activated. This is because the commenting section will be absent in some WordPress websites, which means that the cookie to save identifying information of users when they are commenting isn’t required. An important thing to note is that some websites may even need additional cookie functions.
For instance, cookies that can be used for managing buyer preferences, wish lists, and shopping carts are critical for e-commerce websites. On the other hand, Google Analytics and several other analytics software applications will need to heavily rely on cookies that offer info about the browsing behavior, location, and other details of website visitors. Finally, if you have a good idea on how to code, then you might be able to design custom cookies and use them.
How To Manage Cookies On WordPress Websites
It is evident that cookies are highly useful, as they take care of a number of processes with utmost ease. However, several internet users still find cookies to be disturbing, which is why they are looking for ways to disable cookies from their internet browsers. If you are using an internet browser like Firefox or Chrome, then you will be able to see, clear, or even refuse to accept them when browsing different websites.
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If you are following such an approach to get rid of website cookies, then you need to pay attention to the fact that removing cookies may have a negative impact on website performance and user experience. Another point to remember is that internet users who are revisiting websites will have to enter their credentials again and again since no data is being saved due to the absence of cookies.
A major portion of internet users particularly the ones who are afraid of online data leakage and related issues disable cookies to prevent the leakage of their sensitive online data. The increasing concern of several internet users urged the European Union to launch the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. This new regulation was introduced for the sole purpose of protecting the online data of EU citizens. Thanks to the global research of GDPR, this rule is applicable to almost all WordPress websites.
As per the GDPR, websites will have to obtain the explicit consent of users if they wish to store, use, or even acquire their personal details. This means that websites will not be able to make use of the health data, location, financial data, physical addresses, or even names without the permission of users. In fact, websites will also need to ensure that the cookies used are GDPR compliant.
How to Achieve WordPress GDPR Compliance
One of the simplest and easiest ways through which you can make your website GDPR compliant is to add a checkbox which asks the permission of users to collect, use, or store their personal information. However, achieving GDPR compliance for cookies is not that easy. This is because these tiny bits of data that stay on the background can collect user data without their knowledge, but this practice is also prohibited as per the GDPR.
It is significant to note that cookies play an integral role in improving the user experience and performance of websites. So, you should think things thoroughly and get in touch with expert website designers and developers to learn more on WordPress website cookies.