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Check cookies on website

How to Check Cookies on a Website

Last updated on August 19, 2021|Published on June 3, 2021

Cookie pop-ups and banners are now seen everywhere on the web, thanks to data protection laws like the GDPR and CCPA. But, do you know how cookies are set when you interact with them? Do you know how to check cookies that are set on your browser? This blog will tell you how.

Cookie consent banners that are compliant with the privacy laws usually nudge at the following user response:

  • No interaction with the cookie banner
  • Accept cookies
  • Reject cookies
  • Set cookie preferences

So, what happens as a result of each of these actions. What happens when you accept cookies? What happens if you reject cookies? Or what happens if you ignore the cookie banner and continue browsing? 

Interactive cookie banner

Try this interactive banner and see what happens when you visit this website and interact with the cookie banner.

You can see that different types of cookies are being set when you take different courses of action on the cookie banner. You may also go to ‘Cookie Settings’ and enable the different categories of cookies and see the changes happening in the table.

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How do cookies work?

Cookies allow websites to store information on your device and retrieve it later. This information is labeled with an ID that is unique to your device. The next time you visit the website, the server knows what information is needed to specifically cater to you.

Usually, websites place cookies to remember certain information about you — what’s in your shopping cart or your login details and preferences, etc. Cookies are also used to streamline your web experience, for targeted advertising, tracking, and so on. 

So, how do you check cookies set on your browser? Open any website and right-click on the site and select Inspect to open the developer console.

Inspect> Applications > Storage> Cookies 

Read – How to check cookies manually on different browsers

Check cookies on website
Developer console with list of cookies, value, domain, expiry date etc.

Let’s understand what these terms mean.

  • Value is a randomly generated ID that is unique to your device. Here, the attributes ‘yes’ or ‘no’ indicate if the cookie has been set.
  • A domain is the name of the website server that created the cookie.
  • Expires or expiration date is the maximum age of the cookie i.e. how long your browser can use the cookie information to access the website.

What happens if you don’t interact with a cookie banner?

Most often, users tend to ignore cookie banners and continue using a website. So, are cookies then set on your device even when you haven’t given consent? Simply put, yes some cookies are stored in your device.

These are the strictly necessary cookies that are exempt from seeking explicit consent from the user, under both the GDPR and ePrivacy Directive (or the ‘cookie law’).

You can see that the website has loaded three cookies – cookieyesID, cookieyes-necessary, and cky-active-check. 

But how do you know if a website has only set the necessary cookies? On the CookieYes website, you can simply click on the ‘Cookie Settings’ tab, as you’ve seen in the interactive banner. You’ll see the category of cookies used by the website. You can see that the cookies set on your browser are necessary cookies that are required for the website to function properly. 

To check cookies used by any website, head to the Privacy Policy or Cookie Policy page (usually found on the website footer) and see the complete list of all the cookies deployed by the site.

What happens if you accept cookies?

When you accept all cookies, a lot more cookies are set on your browser. These include functional cookies, analytics, and advertising cookies.

The ‘other’ cookies that are set on the website are cky-consent and sib_cuid. cky-consent is used to remember the user’s consent preferences, so that the next time a user visits, the website remembers their choice. Sib_cuid cookies collect information on the user’s website navigation and preferences and are set by SendinBlue.

What happens if you reject cookies?

Four cookies are still enabled even when you don’t accept cookies. As we have previously seen, cookieyesID, cookieyes-necessary, and cky-active-check are necessary cookies and they will be stored in your browser whatever course of action you take about cookie banners. 

The fourth cookie that is enabled is cky-action, which is deployed to remember the user’s consent to the use of cookies on the website.

What happens when cookies are set on your browser? 

Cookies serve different purposes according to the function it is set for. To better understand what happens as a result of your interaction with cookie banners, let’s take a look at an e-commerce website like catapultsports.com. For instance, let’s say you set the cookie preferences to accept targeting cookies. 

check cookies on website
Targeting cookies are toggled on via the cookie settings on catapultsports.com

What happens as a result then? You get targeted ads on other websites you browse! How? Targeting and advertising cookies are specifically used to gather information about you to display targeted ads. For example, if you have expressed an interest in a particular topic while browsing a site, these cookies will help display targeted ads across the web. 

check cookies on website
Targeted ads from Catapult Sports on another website.

Should I disable cookies on my browser?

You’ve now seen how to check cookies set on your browser for each use case. You also know that some necessary cookies get stored on your website irrespective of how you interact with the cookie banners. Some websites may also not have cookies banners that ask for your consent, which means they drop cookies on your browser without your knowledge. 

If you are concerned about your data privacy, you can disable all cookies on your browser. But, blocking or disabling all cookies can impact your web experience. Clearing your cookies will log you out of websites that you regularly use, delete your saved passwords, search predictions, shopping cart information, site preferences, etc. 

If you do not want to compromise with your web experience, you can also choose to enable or disable granular options in your browser settings, such as:

  • Delete cache regularly 
  • Block third-party cookies on your browser
  • Enable the “Do Not Track” feature (for Chrome)

You can do this on any web browser, and customize your cookie settings to suit your needs. 

For chrome, type chrome://settings/content/cookies in the address bar

For Firefox, type about:preferences#privacy  in the address bar

For Safari, launch Safari > Preferences > Privacy 

Do I need a cookie banner for my website?

If you are a website owner reading this and still wondering if you need a cookie banner, the answer is yes. You’ve just seen how cookies continue to collect information about you, sometimes for a longer period till they expire. This is why cookie consent became a focal point of privacy laws across the world.

If your site uses cookies, especially cookies that are not strictly necessary, you should implement a cookie banner. CookieYes is the solution you are looking for. It is a cookie consent solution that will help you comply with data privacy laws like the GDPR, CCPA, LGPD, and CNIL.

With CookieYes, you can

  • Add a cookie consent banner to your website and fully customize it
  • Block third-party cookies automatically till you obtain user consent 
  • Check cookies used by your website with automatic scanning
  • Record user consent for demonstrating proof of consent
  • Generate a privacy policy page curated for your website and much more

What are you waiting for? Start complying right away with CookieYes.

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