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What are HTTP Cookies?

Published on February 3, 2021 · Updated on February 3, 2021
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By Mark Drake

Manager, Developer Education

What are HTTP Cookies?

HTTP Cookies — also known as web cookies, browser cookies, or simply just cookies — are small pieces of data sent from a web server to a user’s browser.

Although it depends on how a website or application uses cookies, a user’s web browser will typically store a cookie sent from a server as a way to retain persistent information about the user even after they leave the given website. Examples of the type of information a cookie might hold include a user’s login information, the items they’ve placed in their shopping cart, or their user settings and preferences.

Cookies consist of a name and a value. For example, a cookie used for session management might have a name like usr_session, and the server might automatically generate a unique session ID as that cookie’s value. In addition, cookies can optionally have one or more additional name-value pairs that define certain attributes, like the cookie’s expiration or various security settings.

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About the authors
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Manager, Developer Education

Technical Writer @ DigitalOcean

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