Cookies and sessions are two powerful tools that companies use to “improve” user experience and probably make more money. I used to have interesting discussions with people that claim that they are spied on. Most of them believe that google or Facebook sells their information to companies. And they follow them everywhere on the net.… Continue reading Companies follow you everywhere on the net thanks to Cookies and Session… What are they exactly?
Cookies and sessions are two powerful tools that companies use to “improve” user experience and probably make more money. I used to have interesting discussions with people that claim that they are spied on. Most of them believe that google or Facebook sells their information to companies. And they follow them everywhere on the net. Even though I can’t claim it is false, things are not as bad as we think. The secret behind what companies do is called “Cookies and Sessions.” In these small articles, we are going to demystify the concept. First, we are going to define and see how cookies and sessions work. Then, we will see how most companies use them to implement a better marketing strategy for their business. If you still have questions at the end of this article, I will be glad to discuss them further. You can contact me through this link.
Both almost have the same purpose, but they have little differences. Let start with Cookies.
Cookies are a small block of codes that some companies store from their server in your web browser to connect you to some specific requests. The first time you browse a website, it would drop some data to your browser for the next visits or marketing purposes.
You may be surprised to see that a website would suggest personalized content during your second and next visits. It has nothing to do with magic; it is just cookies dropped to your browsers that enable a website to know your preferences.
Some characteristics of Cookies are:
Now that we know a bit about cookies, let talk about sessions.
Sessions help in keeping some data when you browse pages of a website. It is similar to cookies in the sense that data are stored to improve your experience. The session is also used to secure your data when you log in to a website. For example, when you log in successfully to a website, it will create a session that it will use to connect with your data store in a database.
Unlike Cookies that are stored in your browser, the sessions are in the server. Here are some characteristics of a Session.
Most websites will store your preferences to make better suggestions in the future. For example, whenever you visit a site selling multiple products, you can take advantage of pages you visit to suggest specific types of products.
Companies offering services that require logging in use sessions to secure your content and suggest the right content. The session is also the reason when some applications exist.
We can do without cookies and sessions. You can maybe stop or block cookies, but you can’t use some applications without sessions. Here are some disadvantages of cookies.
If you are regularly on websites, you need to know some of those practices whenever you’re logging in or use computers.
It can be dangerous to browse a public computer because all our activities are stored in the browser. For instance, let say you reach a school and access a public computer. And then you decide to open your bank account, email or Facebook page. If you are not careful, the next person coming to the same computer may log into your accounts. It is then dangerous a not secure.
Private mode (incognito mode) claims not to save your activities. However, to be on the save side, check if you clear the cookies before leaving.
Due to many websites requesting usernames and passwords, some prefer to keep the browser history of access websites easily. However, if you’re often sharing your computer with people you don’t usually trust, clearing your browser from time to time can avoid some trouble.
On chrome, there is a feature to save a password that would require the user to enter the computer password. Personally, I think it is not always safe either. At least it can be a solution to avoid remembering a thousand passwords.
Most companies like Facebook, Google and maybe LinkedIn started suggesting to users to subscribe to two-factor authentication. For some users who are cautious with new things, it is another strategy to gather more information. I take it as the best option to address the issue of passwords that we save on browsers.
Let imagine a second that someone comes to your computer and goes through Chrome or Edge’s general setting. Then decide to get a password for some of your accounts. If they know your computer password, they can practically get any password they need. On the other hand, if you subscribe to the two-factor authentication with a security question or your mobile phone, that crazy individual will not have a chance to access your account. Hence, Two-Factor authentication would have saved your life.
If you are a business owner and think, “Hmm, I need to use this approach to get more customers,”; then this section is for you.
Most users will not want to come back to your website if they have to log in all the time. With cookies and sessions, you can implement an easy way to looking. You may also have some advanced technology to keep your customers’ accounts active for a long time.
When you sell thousands of products, it may become difficult for your customers to find your products if you don’t have an advanced search engine. Hence, using cookies or sessions can help you know what your customers really like and show products based on preferences.
the concept of Cookies and sessions has been there for quite a long time. I believe they are there to stay. There is currently growing discussion about users’ privacy and some advanced tools such as Google Analytics to track users’ data. Some countries even put a law to force businesses to inform their visitors about Cookies specifically.
For now, we are widely dependent on there used to run business. Let us cross our fingers and hope countries don’t end up stopping it completely.
If you have a question, I will be glad to continue with the conversation.