If you have visited a new website recently, you would have encountered a notification informing you of its use of cookies to provide you with an enhanced experience by displaying relevant information. The website will also provide you with its cookie policy, which will state the types of cookies, how the cookies are used, whether any third-party cookies are used, and how you can control or delete them.

All You Need to Know About Browsing Cookies

A cookie is a small data file stored on your device, be it your computer or smartphone, whenever you visit a website. This cookie’s job is to identify you, take note of your activities when visiting a website, and recognize you when visiting the website again. Cookies are sent from the server to your browser and stored in your browser’s local cache. Each time you visit the website, the cookie is then sent back to the server to tell it that you have returned.

First-Party Cookies

A first-party cookie’s main job is to remember who you are and what you have done on the website it originates from. It recognizes you despite you closing your browser or switching off your computer.

On e-commerce websites, first-party cookies serve to remember what you added to your shopping cart earlier in the day, so you don’t have to re-add the same items all over again later. Other than that, cookies can also suggest relevant items based on your recent browsing history.

First-party cookies also help by identifying you as a returning visitor so that you do not have to log in repeatedly to a website. By identifying you, websites will be able to give you a personalized experience. Forms can be pre-populated with relevant information to save you time and effort. First-party cookies are also a powerful tool that can auto-save a user’s progress while filling up a form, so in case you accidentally close your browser, you can continue from where you left off.

These cookies help websites identify how many unique visitors they have and how their visitors moved through the website. With this information, they can then tweak their website design to improve user experience.

Third-Party Cookies

Have you ever wondered why you keep on seeing advertisements for an item you were searching for on another website the day before? How did they know that you were interested in that book or dress? Enter the third-party cookie. Third-party cookies work in the same way as first-party cookies, but with an additional capability.

They can travel between your browser and the website you’re visiting, as well as the website of the company that’s displaying ads on that website. With third-party cookies, advertising companies use all your browsing habits and history to display ads tailored explicitly to you. This is how cookie use can get invasive.

How to Enable Cookies on Microsoft Edge

Now that you know how cookies function and their purpose, you know what you are getting yourself into by enabling cookies on your browser.

Here’s how you can have cookies enabled on Microsoft Edge. Open Edge and select Menu, which is represented by three dots on the top right corner of the browser’s main window. Head to Settings, then Site permissions, then Cookies and site data. To enable cookies, turn on Allow sites to save and read cookie data (recommended). You can also manage your third-party cookies and block individual sites from using cookies while you’re here.

To enable cookies, JavaScript needs to be enabled, too. In Windows 10, Microsoft Edge has JavaScript enabled by default, but if you are on another version of Windows, you might need to enable JavaScript on Edge manually.

Managing Your Cookies

While cookies provide an excellent web surfing experience, they can also compromise your privacy. If you find yourself feeling suffocated by targeted advertising, you can simply block third-party cookies. It is also good practice to clear your browser cookies every now and then.