When you think of cookies, you might imagine delicious treats. However, those cookies on the computer can cause more harm than good. You can pick up cookies from visiting certain sites, where they store personal information about you. While cookies can make the web browsing experience better, they can slow down your experience. Here are a few things that you will want to know about those cookies on your computer.
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What Are Internet Cookies?
When you visit an internet site, small text files are stored on your drive. These aren't malicious files, but they make the web browsing process a little easier for visitors. A cookie is a small text file that is no larger than one or two kilobytes. Once you have visited a site, the cookie creates a unique ID tag on your computer, recognizing you when you return to the website. Cookies usually keep track of your preferences so that you don't have to re-enter data every time you visit the webpage.
There are two types of internet cookies: session cookies and persistent cookies. With session cookies, these files are only around when you are actively visiting a website. Once you close down your computer, these cookies are deleted. Some web developers call them "transient cookies" since they never collect information from you but store information about the visit.
Related: Time to First Byte (TTFB)
The other type of cookie is known as persistent cookies. These permanent cookies are stored in the cache of your web browser. They could linger there for years until they expire, or you delete them. Some of the files will have an expiration date, but that might not be for several years. All of these cookies are harmless, but there are ways that they can affect the performance of your computer.
Cookies are used to help you personalize your preferences for a particular website. Along with that, they can help speed up the browsing experience, especially if the cookies contain the latest site information. When you visit, the website will drop a cookie into the client's cache. As the visitor explores other parts of the site, the cache collects more cookies.
There are an unlimited amount of cookies that can be stored in the cache. However, the more cookies in the cache, the slower the browser's performance. When information is updated, the old cookies are replaced by the newer versions. If there is a long list of cookies, the browser will take longer to browse through the cache.
Cookies don't carry viruses, and even a few thousand of them will not take up much space on your computer. However, there are plenty of ways that cookies can slow you down.
Cookies Can Affect the Browsing Experience
Is there any harm to having cookies on your computer? While cookies cannot slow down your computer, they will decrease a website's performance speed. As you visit a website, the cookies' information must be loaded into the page. If there are many cookies, you will see a delay in the loading times.
Along with that, cookies can slow the performance of your search engine. When you type in a search term, the provider will optimize your results based on past searches, website views, and preferences. It could take longer for you to see search results flash across the page with all those cookies.
Is It a Good Idea To Remove Cookies?
There are some disadvantages to having thousands of cookies on your computer, but there could be more harm in removing all of them from the cache. If you don't have cookies for a particular website, that can slow you down as well. Plus, deleting cookies will cause the website not to remember you, and in most cases, you will need to re-enter your information every time you visit. With that, you will spend more time duplicating information than if you left the cookies in your cache.
In addition to that, if you disable cookies, you could be unable to see certain websites. Some of these sites will require that you must enable cookies to visit them or view their information. If you want to visit these online spots, you will need to allow cookies from the website's server.
You will have to decide whether there are more advantages or not to having cookies stored on your computer or not.
Are All Cookies Harmless?
While the majority of cookies are harmless, some are a bit more intrusive. Some cookies can carry adware or spyware to track your personal information and browsing habits. When these cookies are collected on your computer, you might not even notice a problem. However, these cookies could be selling your information to third parties who will spam your email. For that reason, it might be a good idea to clean out those cookies from your cache.
Cleaning Out Your Cache
As you can tell, cookies are primarily harmless, but you still should think about cleaning out the browser cache. You can find cleaning tools and instructions from the major web browning companies. If you are worried about a cookie overload, it is an excellent time to conduct a weekly cleaning to keep up the speed of your computer.
Cookies can be helpful to keep your personal browser settings. In most cases, they will not slow down your computer, but they can lead to a decrease in loading time for specific websites. You might want to do a cleaning in the cache to remove old and outdated cookies. With this information, you can have a computer that quickly loads websites in a blink of an eye.
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