Tracking cookies are small pieces of code that websites use to track your browsing activity. They allow advertisers to gather data about users, which is then used to serve targeted ads. However, tracking cookies can also pose a security risk as they can expose users’ personal information and be used by hackers. In this article, we’ll show you how tracking cookies work and what you can do to protect your privacy on the web by blocking them.
How tracking cookies work
Tracking cookies are stored on your device and are used to track your activity across the web. They can be used to build up a profile of your browsing habits and they are used to serve targeted ads, which is why it’s important that you block them if you want to avoid being tracked.
You can set the protection level to block cookies from all sites, including third-party domains, or only third-party cookies (cookies from a site other than the one you are visiting). Your choices are:
- Medium – Blocks all cookies except those from the site you are visiting
- Low – Blocks only third-party cookies. This is what most people are used to seeing on their browsers today.
- None – blocks no cookies
What tracking cookies let you do
Tracking cookies are used for many things. They track your internet activity and browsing habits, which can be used to serve you targeted ads that match your interests. They track your location, device type and behavior in order to customize the experience based on where you are currently located in physical space.
You can block tracking cookies from following you around online by using a browser add-on such as Ghostery or Disconnect Private Browser (see below). These tools will not only block existing trackers but also prevent new ones from loading on sites you visit.
How to block third-party cookies in Chrome from desktop and mobile
- Open Chrome.
- In the top-right corner of your browser window, click on the Settings icon (the three horizontal lines).
- Select Content settings from the menu that appears.
- Scroll down to Cookies and Site data and click Manage Exceptions.
Note: If you don’t see this option, it means that you have disabled third party cookies for all websites using Chrome’s default settings (see above). However, if you want to allow some third parties but not others this can be done here by creating exceptions for specific domains or subdomains or for individual cookies or site data items.
- Under “Allow sites to save and read cookie data…” select Allow local data to be set (recommended), then click Done
How to block third-party cookies in Firefox from desktop and mobile
- To block third-party cookies in Firefox from desktop and mobile, you will need to change a setting in Firefox’s configuration.
- To do this, go to about:config (type the term into your browser bar). This will open up a page of options that are not usually visible by default.
- Type network.cookie.cookieBehavior into the search field and press Enter on your keyboard or click the magnifying glass icon next to it.
- When you see cookieBehavior appear in the list of search results on right side of window, double-click it with your mouse or press Return/Enter key on keyboard so that its value changes from 1 (default) to 0 (block all third party cookies).
- Then click OK button at bottom of About:Config window and restart Firefox browser for changes to take effect immediately
How to block third-party cookies in Safari from desktop and mobile
- Open your browser, then click on the Safari menu in the upper-left corner of your screen.
- Click Preferences and select Privacy (or swipe down from the right side of your device’s screen to open Control Center).
- Under Block cookies, choose Always or Never under Cookies from third parties and advertisers and Always under Cookies set by websites.
How to block third-party cookies in Internet Explorer from desktop and mobile
- Go to your browser’s settings
- Click on Privacy on the left-hand side of the screen, then click on Advanced Settings under Privacy and Content Settings
- Scroll down until you see Block all cookies or Third Party Cookies and make sure it has a checkmark next to it (if not, click on Block all cookies or Third Party Cookies)
Alternative services that can help block tracking cookies
There are a variety of alternative services that can help block tracking cookies.
- Ad blocking extensions: Most browsers offer ad blockers that you can install to block trackers from following your online activity. For example, Firefox has the Tracking Protection feature integrated into its browser, which allows users to add a list of domains to be ignored by the tracker blocker. This way, any website on this list will not be able to load ads or collect data about you while you browse it.
- Privacy extensions: There are also extensions that allow users to change their privacy settings and set strict rules for what they want their browser to do with data collection requests from sites they visit in the future. Some popular examples include Do Not Track Plus (for Chrome) and Ghostery (for multiple browsers).
- Privacy mode: Some users may prefer more manual control over how much information is collected about them when browsing online than what is offered by ad blockers and privacy extensions alone—which means selecting “Private Browsing Mode” on their web browser could be just what they need! Private Browsing Mode does not save cookies or history between sessions (like regular browsing would), so any data collected about you during one session won’t carry over into another session—making it ideal for those looking for extra privacy protection when searching online from home computers especially since most people don’t even realize Private Browsing Mode exists until they accidentally stumble across it while trying different things out with their favorite web page(s).
Tracking cookies can follow you around the internet, but there are ways to stop them.
Tracking cookies can follow you around the internet, but there are ways to stop them. These sneaky little buggers are used to collect information about you, target you with ads and content, identify you (and thus your browsing habits and personal data), and track what sites you visit.
This is why it’s a good idea to block tracking cookies in your browser—it prevents these companies from collecting information about where you go on the web and using that data for their own purposes.
Cookies are a great way to personalize your experience on the internet, but they can also be used to track you. If you don’t want any websites following you around, there are a few ways to block tracking cookies in Chrome and other browsers. We’ve covered how to do this in detail with step-by-step instructions for each popular browser.