How To: Managing Browser Cookies

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A cookie is a small piece of text stored on your computer by a web browser. A cookie can be used for authentication, storing site preferences, shopping cart contents, the identifier for a server-based session, or anything else that can be accomplished through storing text data. A cookie consists of one or more name-value pairs containing bits of information.

Most modern browsers allow you to decide whether to accept cookies, and the time frame to keep them, but rejecting cookies makes some websites unusable. You can also set your browser to prompt you each time a cookie is offered. The main browser types are listed below.

Google Chrome

  1. Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Click Show advanced settings.
  4. In the Privacy section, click Content settings.
  5. In the Cookies section, change the following cookies settings as necessary:Keep local data only until you quit your browser: Chrome will allow sites to keep local data including first-party and third-party cookies and erase them when you exit or quit Chrome.

    Block sites from setting any data: Chrome will not allow sites to install cookies on your computer.

    Block third-party cookies and site data: Chrome will not allow third parties to install cookies on your computer.

    Make exceptions for cookies from specific websites or domains: To control how cookies should be handled for a few specific sites or domains, click Manage exceptions. To add a rule, do the following: In the Hostname pattern field, enter the domain name for which you want to create an exception and select Block or Clear on exit from the Behavior field.

Firefox

  1. From Firefox, go to Open menu > Options. The Options window appears.
  2. Click the Privacy tab.
  3. In the History section, select Never remember history from the drop-down menu if you want to delete cookies every time you close your browser.
  4. However, if you want to manage your cookie settings, select Use custom settings for history from the drop-down menu.
  5. To not allow cookies from all websites, enable the Request that sites not track you checkbox.
  6. Click OK.

Internet Explorer

  1. Go to Tools > Internet options. The Internet Options window appears.
  2. Click the Privacy tab.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Then enable the Prompt radio button for both first and third-party cookies. This prompts you each time a site tries to place a cookie on your machine. If the number of cookie prompts is too excessive, you can select the option to Always allow session cookies. This allows non-persistent cookies to be accepted without user interaction.
  5. Click OK, and then OK again.

Safari

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences.
  2. Click the Privacy tab.
  3. From the Block cookies section, you can disable cookies by selecting From third parties and advertisers.

Opera

To manage your cookie settings in Opera:

  1. Go to Opera > Settings.
  2. Click Privacy & security from the left navigation panel.
  3. From the Cookies section, select any of the following options:
    • Allow local data to be set: Allows all cookies to be stored on your computer.
    • Keep local data only until I quit my browser: Deletes cookies that have been added after this preference was enabled when closing the browser.
    • Block sites from setting any data: Refuses all cookies to be stored and refuses to use existing cookies; by checking this option, you may have difficulties logging on to a significant number of websites.
    • Block third-party cookies and site data: Refuses all cookies from third-parties.
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Jared Howe

Jared Howe is PRIVATE WiFi’s Senior Manager, Product Marketing Communications. Working in high tech for over 15 years, Jared currently lives in Seattle with his wife, daughter, and their two cats.

5 Responses

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