Almost any site you browse to will want to set a cookie on your computer. This is a small amount of information , typically 100 – 200 bytes, that tells it how you would like your page presented, or how many times you have visited this site in the last day, week, or month, for example.
Normally, these cookies are only used by the site that sets them, but as there is no safeguard anywhere, they can also be accessed by other people. These are typically those that want to see what your browsing habits are, (trackers), so that they can target advertising to suit your taste, but there could also be others that have a more sinister intent in mind.
Why are cookies stored on your computer?
It would be theoretically possible for every site to keep its own record of every viewer it gets, but the amount of effort and storage space would be prohibitive, not to mention the cost. It is far more convenient for them to store it on yours.
Even though a cookie is small, it still requires one Storage Allocation Unit on your computer, which would probably be enough space to store 4 kbytes of data when used for other purposes. So, to leave a lot of cookies lying around on your computer is very wasteful of storage space, especially as this is all data that you normally can’t access, and have no use for anyway.
I get round this problem by deleting all cookies when I close my browser. If your browser doesn’t allow you to do that, I suggest you find one that will.
Even then, after a heavy browsing session, I sometimes get a message such as –
“Subscribe today to continue reading”
Then its time to delete cookies early!
You can normally do this under “Settings”, “Privacy”, “Cookies” – then delete everything you see from the site that is sending you the message. Refresh the page, and you should get what you wanted to see in the first place.