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How and Why You Should Delete Your Cookies

delete your cookies

Since GDPR came into play in May 2018, everyone browsing the internet in the UK has gotten used to seeing that familiar ‘accept cookies’ request on every website. With ever-decreasing attention spans, our patience for these pop-ups has long been waning, so now users hurriedly click ‘accept and close’ so they can get on with the task at hand. Though this action might seem trivial, in fact, accepting and storing cookies on your device can have a number of negative effects. Read on to find out more about these, and about how and why you should delete your cookies.

What are online cookies?

The term ‘cookies’ refers to small pieces of data that are captured by the websites you visit and sent to your browser. They contain information about your activity on that particular website, such as the pages you visited, how you found it, and how long you stayed on the site.

The reason why cookies exist is so that your browser (and third parties) can create a profile for you. Because they store information relating to your behaviour, things you’ve searched for, and login details, cookies can often help the user experience. This is because the data is used to help create a more personalised service, by storing information so that you don’t need to re-enter it every time you visit a website.

Different Types of Internet Cookies

There are various kinds of digital cookies that are used for different reasons. Some are erased when you close a browser, some are stored until they expire, and some need to be manually deleted.

Session Cookies

These are short-term cookies that are only stored while you are actually on a website. Instead of storing information that can be used later, they are designed solely for improving your immediate experience. A common example of where these are used is on online shopping sites, which require information to be stored between pages for the user-journey.

Stored Cookies

This kind of cookie is designed to track your online information. They store your personal data, including usernames and passwords, so that next time you access the site these are input automatically. The purpose of this is for the user to save time and have an easy experience on the site. After a period of time, such cookies will expire and the information is lost.

Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are the type of internet cookie that cause the most upset and annoyances among users. This is because these have been created for the purpose of tracking user behaviour and preferences, such as any items you have searched for. The information collected with third-party cookies is either used by the website that created them or sold on to other advertisers. The main purpose of this is so that retailers can target you with relevant adverts while you are online, on many different websites.

Should I delete my cookies?

Internet users might wish to delete their cookies for four main reasons;

  • To improve internet speeds
  • When using a shared computer
  • Protection against cybercrime
  • To avoid targeted ads

To improve internet speeds

After a while, as your cookies build up, the sheer amount of them can cause your systems to slow down. This is why, when you experience problems with internet speed, many IT professionals will recommend clearing your cookies.

When using a shared computer

It’s important to delete cookies when using a shared or public computer so that other users cannot access your information, or use websites while signed in as you. It’s because of the presence of cookies that another user could see your history on the computer, or potentially shop/access information while signed in as you on different sites (e-commerce, banking, social media, and emails etc).

Protection against cybercrime

Unfortunately, it is possible for cybercriminals to gain access to the data stored by cookies for the purpose of stealing personal information. This personal information can then be sold on for a profit or used to make online purchases or access banking. Find out more about how cybercriminals operate.

To avoid targeted ads

One of the most common reasons why internet-users choose to delete their cookies is to stop targeted ads following them around while they are online. Third-party cookies that record the items you’ve looked at are a source of major annoyance for some people, who do not wish to see recurring adverts every time they use the internet.

How to delete cookies

Thankfully, it is possible to choose how cookies work on your browser so that you can enjoy some of the benefits, such as easy automatic log-in while avoiding the negatives. For many people, this simply means disabling third party cookies in browser settings, so that information cannot be stored for future advertising.

It’s usually simple to delete cookies and dictate the way they are stored, by making some changes in your browser settings. In the privacy or security area, you can choose which cookies you wish to delete, plus disable third party cookies altogether.

How often should I delete my cookies?

Cookies will build up over time, so it really depends on how much you use the internet as to how often you should delete your cookies. If you are a regular internet-user, good practice is to delete your cookies around once a month. However, if you have disabled third-party cookies, this can be reduced because there will be fewer cookies affecting the speed of your internet and systems.

 

While cookies are designed to improve the user experience, by storing various information to provide a more relevant and efficient service, they are not without their drawbacks. Frequently deleting your cookies is a good idea to maintain good speed and to stay protected from cybercrime. Get more advice about improving your internet speed.

 

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GBH Law
GBH Law
11:29 22 May 20
Changing IT support providers, like changing lawyers, is not a decision any business takes lightly or frequently. The decision is fraught with numerous questions such as whether the new team will understand my business needs, will it cause teething problems, and more importantly, will the reality match the sales pitch! We took that decision to move to Ramsac in January after ten years with another provider and we have not regretted that choice for a moment. Ramsac are simply great! From the get go we have been very well supported from the front line very helpful telephone support team right up to our relationship manager. We feel that the Ramsac team are very much an integral part of us . What however has driven us to write this review is the fabulous support we have received following a cyber attack this week. Something no business wants to happen but is increasingly a sad factor of modern cyber life. The Ramsac cyber support team were superb and really gave us first class support and guidance through what was frankly a horrible experience. Thank you Dan! Denise Herrington
The HR Services Partnership
The HR Services Partnership
17:59 16 Jan 20
We have worked with Ramsac since 2015. They offer a truly winning formula. We have been delighted by their support at all three levels: our network consultant (Colin) understands our set up and is great when we need to upgrade our infrastructure; we have ready access to our account manager who has been great with supporting our growth; and the helpdesk is always so patient for the day-to-day glitches. Very professional and supportive – thank you team ramsac!
Zoe Brooks
Zoe Brooks
13:02 16 Jan 20
Sam on the support desk is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Every time I have rung with an issue and she has helped the problem has always been rectified smoothly and quickly!
Sarah-Jane Calloway
Sarah-Jane Calloway
16:02 06 Jan 20
Ed spent two days with us following an office reshuffle. He worked to a very high standard and was very helpful, courteous and happy to sort out anything we asked of him!
Luke Hoey
Luke Hoey
14:20 07 Nov 19
Always very helpful and will work hard to resolve any issues you have.
Richard Renson
Richard Renson
16:54 10 Dec 18
Great, helpful IT Kings and Queens
Andrew Worth
Andrew Worth
12:37 30 Aug 18
fine bunch
Colin Warner
Colin Warner
08:46 06 Dec 17
Excellent managed service provider.
Selom B
Selom B
11:58 10 Dec 16
First Class!! Responsive, knowledgeable, professional and very easy to work with - Ramsac have been a fantastic strategic IT partner for the last few years and I'm sure will continue to be for many years going forward. I would highly recommend them!
Ian Windle - Inspiring Leadership
Ian Windle - Inspiring Leadership
08:53 04 Jul 16
Great IT business, with a powerful management team. Could not recommend them more highly.
Patrick O'Luanaigh
Patrick O'Luanaigh
10:55 01 Jul 16
A truly fantastic IT support company - I can't speak highly enough about them.
Sarah Whitemore
Sarah Whitemore
11:59 20 Jun 16
I have known Dan May and Ramsac for 5 or 6 years now. Dan is such a great guy and really helpful with strategic advice and input on all things IT. He's so approachable and doesn't baffle you with IT jargon. If you are looking to outsource your IT or you have a problem you need help with Dan is definitely the one to ask.
Jonathan Richards
Jonathan Richards
12:14 31 May 16
I've worked with Ramsac for many years and whole heartedly recommend their services. They are always professional, approachable and have the rare skill of making IT understandable. Their can do attitude leaves you feeling that you are in safe hands.
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