A cookie is often used to identify a user. A cookie is a small file that the server embeds on the user’s computer. Each time the same computer requests a page with a browser, it will send the cookie too. With PHP, you can both create and retrieve cookie values.

Cookies are used by websites for a lot of practical reasons: none of which are meant to be harmful for you. In fact, they’re designed to make your online experience go smooth and easy. You could say it’s primary duties is to identify you to a regular website visitor or customer, present to you customized Web pages (based on what information the cookie has on you) and make it quick and easy to log in to a site.

When it comes to browser cookies, most users have a lot of misconceptions about what they do. Here’s a closer look at exactly what a browser cookie is, what it isn’t, and what it’s really used for.

There are two “categories” of cookies: either first-party or third-party cookies. (Although there’s actually no technical difference between the two.) First-party cookies are those cookies that belong to sites you actually visited in your browser, while third-party cookies, also known as tracking cookies, are generated from a Javascript include on the page—generally from third-party advertising web sites.

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