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When you visit a website, your web browser usually saves a lot of information during your visit.

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Cookies—what could be wrong with such deliciousness? Well, even a certain monster on Sesame Street is less into gluten these days. Maybe that's because his beloved snack food had its name co-opted back in the s by the little data files that websites use to improve your experience Cookies get stored on your computer when you use a web browser.

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Almost every website you visit on the Internet creates cookies on your computer. These small files contain various information about your actions online, potentially including your s, browsing history and active information on sites, such as the items in a Web store's shopping cart.

While some sites may use cookies to track your habits for advertising, most exist to simplify your online activities, and deleting them will reset some of your settings. Clearing your cookies will log you out of every website you've logged into online, even those where you checked "remember me" or "stay logged in.

While generally a negative effect of deleting cookies, deleting and recreating cookies can also fix problems on some sites, such as being unable to stay logged in to an. When logged into an on a website, any settings you change are generally saved to your data online.

If you change a website's settings -- for example, the search options on Google -- while not logged into anthese changes are often saved as cookies instead. Deleting your cookies will remove all these settings, bringing your site experience back to the default, so you will need to re-customize your settings if desired.

Some websites create third-party cookies from advertising and marketing networks such as Google's DoubleClick. These cookies can report back on your browsing behavior across many websites.

The companies use this information to customize the you see online and compile statistics. Deleting cookies will interrupt this process, separating your prior online activity from your future activity in the trackers' data. The only noticeable effect this will have for most users is a change in the types of that appear on websites.

Google also uses this data to customize the you see on its search engine, so deleting cookies will revert Google to showing un-customized. Since most websites recreate deleted cookies quickly, some users opt to completely block cookies instead. While this will effectively prevent tracking, it has a of major downsides.

While blocking cookies, you'll need to log in to a site every time you use it. Some sites will fail to keep you logged in even from one on the site to the next. Other websites will display errors or not function correctly with cookies blocked.

As a middle ground, you can choose to block cookies by default, but allow them for certain websites. Aaron Parson has been writing about electronics, software and games sincecontributing to several technology websites and working with NewsHour Productions.

Home Internet. Effects on Tracking Some websites create third-party cookies from advertising and marketing networks such as Google's DoubleClick.

Deleting versus Blocking Since most websites recreate deleted cookies quickly, some users opt to completely block cookies instead.