First-party vs. third-party cookies

I had an interesting question the other day. A friend asked what the difference was between a first-party cookie and a third-party cookie.

First, I’d better explain what the term cookie means when we’re talking about the Internet. A cookie is a small file, stored on your device, that allows a website to recognize you and remember your preferences.

A first-party cookie is one generated by the website you’re visiting. For example, a cookie on a retail website would remember how many items you’ve added to your shopping cart and allow you to navigate away and return back to the cart.  It might also allow the website to remember that a member is logged in as they navigate to various sections of the website.

A third-party cookie is one generated by somewhere other than the site you’re on. Most often, these cookies are generated by advertisers in order to keep track of your behavior.

block 3rd party

Many browsers and security programs allow you to block third-party cookies. If you were to decide to block all cookies or first-party cookies, you’d likely have a difficult time navigating some sites. You might be logged out or lose your place if you click on something.

I hope that clears up the difference.

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