Pros and Cons of Disabling Cookies and How to Do It

You can choose to disable website cookies on your computer. Learn more about how to do this, as well as how this will affect your browsing.

Internet cookies are small text files that contain information about your browsing settings or preferences and other kinds of data. These cookies are intended to ease a user’s browsing experience as it allows the browsers to save settings and information for particular websites so that the next time the user visits those websites, he or she no longer needs to change the settings to his or her preferences again.

Cookies are also able to track browsing information such as the date when you last visited a website, what browser you used and what sites you go to. Because of this, people are concerned that their privacy is being invaded. Most of them opt to disable cookies to keep their information and their browsing habits private. However, there are pros and cons of disabling cookies.

Pros of disabling cookies

  1. Privacy – Some cookies, called tracking cookies, allow third-party websites or websites that are affiliated to the websites you visit to track and record the websites that you’ve been to. These third parties can be advertisers or even the government, in some cases. Disabling cookies will, therefore, keep your browsing details private.
  2. Security – Although in general, cookies are not harmful, there have been some browsers that were found to allow malicious content to access the computers where cookies are stored.
  3. Secrecy – Although browser settings can be set to block cookies from being saved, some browsers purposefully make it complicated or difficult for users to turn off saving cookies. Basically, browsers are tied up with most of the search engines. Because of this, search engines rely on the data that web browsers give them in terms of keywords being searched or websites being visited. This is why they benefit from having the cookies enabled.

Cons of disabling cookies

  1. Convenience – Cookies are actually designed to remember information about forms and websites. Cookies are responsible for the auto-fill feature for forms where you input your address or email information. If you disable cookies, you would have to fill the forms up yourself.
  2. Personalization – Personalized content, such as the text “Welcome back, John Doe!” on various home pages are possible through cookies. This will not work if cookies are disabled.
  3. Effective Advertising – Because of cookies, relevant products and services are advertised to you. Without cookies, you would be bombarded with advertisements of all kinds that you aren’t remotely interested in.

Guide to Disabling Website Cookies

Mozilla Firefox

Click on ‘Tools’ then ‘Options’ and select the ‘Privacy’ tab. In the option ‘Firefox will:’, choose ‘Use custom settings for history’. Check the box to disable cookies.

Chrome

Click on the wrench icon and choose ‘Settings’. Click ‘Show advanced settings’ and click ‘Content settings’ under the ‘Privacy’ section. Disable local data to be set to disable cookies.

Safari

Select ‘Preferences’ from the Safari drop-down menu. Click ‘Security’ and under “accept cookies’ deselect all options or disable cookies.