November 17, 2021

Advantages and Disadvantages of Deleting Computer Cookies

There's plenty of controversy around cookies nowadays. No, not the ones your gran bakes whenever you visit.

Computing cookies are contentious in the digital age, with some believing that they're a severe breach of privacy, while others claim they're a necessary evil.

As usual, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Deleting Computer Cookies: eAskme
Advantages and Disadvantages of Deleting Computer Cookies: eAskme

But let's start with the obvious question: what are computer cookies, and should you delete them?

Well, cookies are files that websites can save in your browser whenever the browser asks for a page, picture, download, or more from the website.

Essentially, cookies help websites remember who their visitors are. But sometimes, this function can be problematic.

Here are a few ways first-party cookies help website visitors:

  • Remember the choice of language
  • Save visual preferences
  • Personalized product recommendations
  • Maintain shopping carts and wish lists

What are third-party tracking cookies?

Domains other than the websites you visit create third-party tracking cookies, usually to help multimedia giants like Google target you with ads.

When you search for a product and minutes later see it advertised everywhere on the Internet?

Yep, that's cookies.

Cookie consent popups

You can't go to most websites these days without them asking for your consent to use cookies.

This change is courtesy of new laws from the EU, telling websites to give users a choice to accept or reject cookies.

Pros and cons of deleting cookies:

Deleting your cookies will help remove data related to your online activity, login credentials, website settings, preferences, shopping carts, and more.

This action is helpful if you want to handle your privacy on a public or shared computer.

However, deleting cookies makes less sense on a private computer. For the most part, cookies are harmless.

Without your cookies, you'll be a stranger to your favorite websites every time you visit, losing your preferences and shopping lists.

Life on the Internet can also be tedious without cookies, as you'll have to enter your usernames and passwords every time on a personal device.

You may also have to go through extra security measures if the website takes precautions.

For example, when you try to log into PayPal without cookies proving your identity, the payment platform may ask you to prove your identity in other ways, even after entering your username and password.

Without cookies, PayPal may see you as a stranger with a client's login credentials, especially if your ISP provides a dynamic IP address or if you like to browse the Internet while on the road on different networks.

Similarly, your bank may ask you to call them or text you a password to verify that you're the account holder.

Deleting cookies doesn't delete your digital footprint:

Deleting cookies doesn't mean you're anonymous on the Internet, and Websites can still see your IP address.

A VPN that assigns a virtual IP address can hide your location and protect your data from fraudulent WiFi networks or invasive ISPs.

In addition to a VPN, you should limit your social media profiles to friends and get malware protection to stop spyware, adware, keyloggers, and stalkerware.

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