Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 30, 2019)
A cookie is a small amount of data stored on your system when you visit a website. Cookies are often used to allow you to interact with a website over multiple visits. Not all cookies are created equal, however. Some cookies are a good thing. For instance, on many shopping sites, what you want to purchase is stored in a cookie until you check out. This is very useful.
Some cookies, though, can be very aggravating. Take, for instance, the concept of "third-party cookies." These are cookies stored on your system not by a website you visit, but by an entirely different domain. Typically, this happens with many advertisements.
Here's an example: You visit website A, and that website contains advertisements. (Many, if not most, contain advertisements. It's largely how the web is funded.) One (or more) of those advertisements contains code that stores cookies on your system. These are called third-party cookies because you are the first party, the site you are visiting is the second party, and the advertiser is the third party.
What are these third-party cookies typically used for? In a word, targeted advertising. It helps advertisers determine where you've visited and what you've searched, and thereby they can tailor the ads you see to those factors.
If third-party ads drive you bonkers, you may want to get rid of them. Fortunately, most Web browsers include a setting that allows such cookies to be rejected, meaning they are not stored on your system. How you turn them off depends on which browser you are using.
This tip (13430) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.
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