Understanding HTTP Cookies 2024: The Role of HTTP Cookies in Web Browsing

Every day, 4.66 billion individuals use the internet actively and engage with HTTP cookies in one way or another.

HTTP cookies offer you a streamlined and tailored online experience in many ways, however for some people, these features are frequently disregarded or misunderstood.

So, in this post, we will give you a comprehensive understanding of HTTP Cookies and the things you should know about them.

Understanding HTTP Cookies

Are HTTP Cookies safe?

The modern Internet cannot function without HTTP cookies, but they compromise your privacy.

HTTP cookies enable web developers to provide you with more individualized, practical website visits as a fundamental component of web browsing.

Websites may remember you, your website logins, shopping cart contents, and more thanks to cookies.

There are security issues to think about because user information is accessible on internet servers.

Many people are concerned about the privacy and security of their personal information, a topic that has gained more attention in recent years.

However, protecting your privacy online can be challenging. To prevent prying eyes from viewing your internet activity, it is crucial that internet users have a fundamental grasp of cookies.

But first, let’s understand what are Cookies and what HTTP Cookies really are?

What are Cookies?

Cookies are text files that include tiny bits of information, such as a login and password, and are used to recognize your machine when you’re connected to a computer network.

Strikingly cookies setting

HTTP cookies are a particular type of cookie that are used to identify specific users and enhance web browsing.

The server creates data in a cookie as soon as you connect. An ID that is specific to you and your computer is used to identify this data.

Your computer and the network server exchange cookies, and when they do, the server reads the ID and knows what data to give you exactly.

What are HTTP Cookies?

The term “HTTP cookie,” sometimes referred to as “web cookie,” “browser cookie,” or simply “cookie,” refers to a little amount of information that a server transmits to a user’s web browser.


Cookies are sent back to the server with each request after being obtained and saved on the browser. HTTP cookies often store user activity data and aid in preserving the session state across several browsing sessions.

You should be aware that HTTP is a stateless protocol. This means that the server does not keep track of prior requests made by the same user and that each request is handled independently.

In order to keep track of a user’s session, more data must be sent along with each request. The purpose of cookies is precisely this.

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In the past, cookies were employed for general client-side archiving. Modern storage APIs are now advised, even if this made sense when they were the only means to save data on the client.

Every request includes cookies, which may result in performance issues (especially for mobile data connections).

HTTP cookies are used by websites to improve user experience. Without cookies, you would have to log back in each time you left a website or, if you accidentally closed the browser, rebuild your shopping cart. making cookies a crucial component of using the internet.

Here is how cookies should be used:

Session management

Cookies, for instance, enable websites to identify users and recall their unique login information and preferences, such as their preference for sports news over political news.


The primary method for personalizing your visits with cookies is through customized advertising. Cookies use information about the pages or content you view to help create adverts that are more relevant to you.


Shopping sites utilize cookies to keep track of the products customers have previously viewed, enabling the sites to recommend additional products they might like and keep products in shopping carts while customers browse elsewhere.

Although you stand to gain the most from this, site developers also gain a lot from this arrangement. Cookies are kept locally on your device in order to reduce server storage requirements.

In turn, websites can be customized while spending less on server upkeep and storage.

Types of Cookies

With a few variations, cookies in the cyber world come in two types: session and persistent.

Session cookies

Session cookies, also called temporary cookies, are gone as you close or leave the browser. If you have to provide your login information each time you visit a website, session cookies are being used.

The shopping cart on every eCommerce site is one illustration to take into account. When you click an item to open a new tab, session cookies assist keep goods in the shopping cart.

The website would not remember the items you previously clicked on without session cookies.

First-Party cookies

The website you are visiting places first-party cookies on your computer. The website gathers statistics and practical data to enhance your user experience.

The example provided previously in this blog post is one use case to take into account.

A request with a specific cookie value under the domain www.example.com will be sent to your computer when you access a website like www.example.com.

Websites won’t log you in automatically or remember your settings from previous sessions if first-party cookies aren’t used.

Third-Party cookies

Cookies from websites other than the one you directly access are known as third-party cookies. Third-party cookies are typically used for tracking purposes and are retained even after the browser is closed.

Ad tracking from websites other than the ones you visit is one typical use case.

For instance, you can come across third-party cookies from a domain other than the one you visited when browsing through several product pages on an eCommerce website.

A third-party cookie can be used afterward, when your browser is closed, to determine whether or not you purchased the item you viewed on the website.

Third-party cookies may be present in certain images downloaded from websites other than the one you are now on, which enables other websites to send you targeted emails or advertisements for products you browsed but didn’t buy.

Secure cookies

Secure cookies shield new users from unauthorized parties seeing cookies delivered as part of an HTTP response.

HTTP requests with the Secure property will only contain the cookie if they are sent over a secure channel.

Zombie cookies

Zombie cookies, as the name suggests, are cookies that reappear even after being erased or the browser is closed. At locations other than the web browser’s designated cookie storage, zombie cookies keep themselves alive.

In the event that a cookie is destroyed by the user, a zombie cookie may take the backup cookie and reattach it to the user’s cookie storage.

Creating some basic HTTP cookies

HTTP cookies can be created in two different ways. You can enter a Javascript code to set the cookie into the console of any browser you access, whether it be Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

The web server could also send one or more set cookie headers as an alternative.

A server may include one or more Set-Cookie headers in the response it returns after receiving an HTTP request.

Typically, the cookie is saved by the browser and sent together with requests to the same server in a Cookie HTTP header.

The Set-Cookie reference article can be used to get further information about the header attributes that are described here.

  • Cookies are sent from the server to the user agent via the Set-Cookie HTTP response header. A basic cookie is configured as follows:

Set-Cookie: <cookie-name>=<cookie-value>

  • This tells the server that sends headers to advise the client to save two cookies:

HTTP/2.0 200 OK

Content-Type: text/html

Set-Cookie: yummy_cookie=choco

Set-Cookie: tasty_cookie=strawberry

[page content]

  • The browser then uses the Cookie header to send all previously saved cookies back to the server with each future request to it.

GET /sample_page.html HTTP/2.0

Host: www.example.org

Cookie: yummy_cookie=choco; tasty_cookie=strawberry

Cookie Lifetime

The lifetime or “Validity” of a cookie can be defined in two ways:

Session cookies

Those that are erased at the conclusion of the current session. The “current session” is defined by the browser, and some restarting browsers use session restoration. Due to this, session cookies may persist indefinitely.

Permanent cookies

the ones that expire on a certain date or after a certain amount of time defined by the Max-Age attribute.


Set-Cookie: id=a3fWa; Expires=Thu, 31 Oct 2021 07:28:00 GMT;

Web Scraping & Security Threats

It is crucial that the data retrieval software behaves like a human when it comes to web scraping. If not, many websites’ anti-scraping technologies may mistakenly recognize your scraping script as a bot and ban it.

What is web scrapping?

Remember that the server is what tells the browser to create cookies.

Hence, these cookies in HTTP requests are expected by the server itself. Remember that cookies hold details about a specific user’s session.

So, you can trick the server into thinking each request is originating from a different user by fabricating legitimate cookies. This will make it more challenging to locate, monitor, and block your site scraping script.

Cookies are a difficult but necessary part of web data scraping. Because of this, you ought to rely on a cutting-edge, modern, fully functional scraping tool.

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Pros and Cons of HTTP Cookies

HTTP cookies are a powerful and adaptable tool that can be used for many purposes. They do, however, have some disadvantages to take into account.

So let’s examine the principal advantages and disadvantages of HTTP cookies.


  • Cookies are a quick and efficient way to keep the HTTP session state intact.
  • Data from the previous browsing session can be kept even after the browser has been closed thanks to persistent cookies.
  • Several pages on the same website and various subdomains of the same domain can utilize the same cookie.


  • The majority of browsers cap browser size at 4 KB and only permit 150 cookies per domain.
  • Websites that depend on cookies may experience issues as a result of users’ ability to delete them at any time directly from the browser.
  • Cookies constitute a security issue since they can hold private information about the user. Cookies can also be used to track and gather information about a user’s activities, which poses privacy issues.

HTTP Cookies- Final Thoughts

HTTP Cookies have their share of benefits and disadvantages. It all boils down to how you use it or how it is used by other users or websites.

So, whether or not you allow cookies for the websites you surf, just be sure of what you are searching for and the data you are furnishing on the websites.

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Kashish Babber
This author is verified on BloggersIdeas.com

Kashish is a B.Com graduate, who is currently follower her passion to learn and write about SEO and blogging. With every new Google algorithm update she dives in the details. She's always eager to learn and loves to explore every twist and turn of Google's algorithm updates, getting into the nitty-gritty to understand how they work. Her enthusiasm for these topics' can be seen through in her writing, making her insights both informative and engaging for anyone interested in the ever-evolving landscape of search engine optimization and the art of blogging.

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