Understanding and Controlling Third-Party Cookies

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.

Microsoft Edge

  1. Click the More Actions icon near the upper-right of the browser window. (This icon looks like three dots.) This displays a series of actions you can take.
  2. Click the Settings option. Edge displays the Settings panel.
  3. Click Privacy & Security.
  4. Scroll down and click the Cookies drop-down list.
  5. Choose the Block Only Third-Party Cookies option.
  6. Click somewhere outside the Settings panel to close it.

Internet Explorer

  1. Click the Tools icon near the upper-right corner of the program window. (It looks like a gear sprocket.) Internet Explorer displays a drop-down menu.
  2. Choose Internet Options. IE displays the Internet Options dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Privacy tab is displayed.
  4. Click Advanced. IE displays the Advanced Privacy Settings dialog box.
  5. Under the Third-Party Cookies column (right side of the dialog box), click Block.
  6. Click OK to close the Advanced Privacy Settings dialog box.
  7. Click OK to close the Internet Options dialog box.


  1. Click the Customize and Control Google Chrome icon near the upper-right corner of the program window. (The icon looks like three dots.) Chrome displays a series of options.
  2. Click the Settings Option. Chrome displays the settings in a new browser tab entitled (appropriately enough) Settings.
  3. Click the Advanced link at the bottom of the webpage. Chrome expands the settings visible on the screen.
  4. Under the Privacy & Security heading, turn on the Send a "Do Not Track" Request with your Browser Traffic setting. Turning on this option does not guarantee the website will honor your request since honoring this setting is voluntary.
  5. Close the Settings browser tab.


  1. Click the Open Menu icon near the upper-right corner of the program window. (The icon looks like three horizontal lines.) Firefox displays a palette of options.
  2. Click the Options icon. (It looks like a gear sprocket.) Firefox displays the options in a new browser tab entitled (appropriately enough) Options.
  3. Click the Privacy & Security option, at the left side of the screen.
  4. Under the Content Blocking heading, choose the Always radio button shown under the Send Websites a "Do Not Track" Signal that you don't want to be Tracked section. Choosing this setting does not guarantee the website will honor your wishes since honoring this setting is voluntary.
  5. Close the Options browser tab.

 This tip (13430) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is three more than 4?

2019-10-14 11:12:08

Gene E. Philbrick

How does one block third-party cookies in Opera?

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