What are cookies?

Cookies or internet cookies are small files containing data sent by a website to store in the user’s browser. When you visit a website, the website sends cookies on your browser or the hard drive of your computer, smartphone or tablet. The next time you visit the same website, the web server asks for and reads the cookies to load a customized version of the website for you. Cookies consist of information saved as text, used for a variety of purposes such as to remember usernames, passwords, visits, pages viewed etc.

Cookies go by different names, such as HTTP cookies, computer cookies, web cookies and browser cookies. It was coined from the term ‘magic cookies’ that derives from a fortune cookie — a cookie with an embedded message. Cookies were invented in 1994 by a computer programmer, Lou Montulli when he was working for the firm Netscape, which was trying to help websites become viable commercial enterprises.