What is a cookie?
Cookies are small pieces of data stored on a user's device while browsing the internet. Cookies serve various purposes, such as enhancing user experiences, improving website performance and delivering personalised content.
As a website owner, it is essential to be transparent about the types of cookies used on your website and provide users with clear information through a comprehensive cookie notice. Understanding the different types of cookies is crucial to be able to get your cookies notice right. To find out more about cookie notices and what to include, read this guide.
What are strictly necessary cookies?
Necessary cookies help the website to run properly - when they are strictly necessary cookies it means their only function is to help the website work.
Just because a cookie is important doesn't automatically mean that it is strictly necessary. A cookie is only a strictly necessary cookie if it is essential to provide the service to the individual e.g. those cookies that relate to the specific functionality of the service and without them, the user would be unable to undertake certain activities.
In practice, this could be a cookie that is used to remember the goods a user wishes to buy when they go to the checkout or add goods to their shopping basket, or a cookie that is essential to comply with the UK GDPR’s security principle for an activity the user has requested – for example in connection with online banking services. If you say a cookie is strictly necessary because it fulfils a purpose, such as security, you must ensure that your use is only for that purpose
What is the ‘strictly necessary cookies’ exemption?
What are the other types of cookies are there apart from strictly necessary cookies?
As well as strictly necessary cookies, it is also common for websites to use other types of cookies in order to provide a top user experience:
Performance - sometimes known as "functionality" cookies. Performance cookies help a website owner to personalise content and remember user preferences, in order to optimise the performance of the website;
Marketing - sometimes known as "advertising" cookies. Marketing cookies tailor online adverts to reflect the content website visitors have previously browsed and help inform companies of their interests so they can show the visitors relevant adverts.
Analytical - analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics such as the number of visitors, bounce rate, etc. Google Analytics, for example, falls into this category.
There are also other ways to split cookies into categories/types, such as:
Session vs persistent cookies - Cookies which only last a short time or end when someone closes their browser are called session cookies. Cookies which remain on a device for longer are called persistent cookies (e.g. these are the type of cookies that allow websites to remember someone's details when they log back onto them).
First-party vs third-party cookies - cookies placed on someone's device by the website owner are called first-party cookies. When the website owner uses other businesses’ technology to help them manage and monitor their website, the cookies added by the other business are called third-party cookies.
How do I tell website visitors about the different types of cookies that my website uses, including strictly necessary cookies?
Docue’s cookie notice template includes the option to include information about different types of cookies - from strictly necessary cookies to functional cookies. The cookie notice has been drafted by privacy lawyers to help you stay compliant with privacy laws at the click of a button.
Sign up now to use Docue’s cookie notice and other data protection templates.
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