Posted by : Deepak Vasudevan Sunday, November 18, 2007


'What happens if the user has disabled cookies'

Cookies are small amount of information that is used by a website for a variety of purposes like the following:
  1. Authenticating the information (Storing the User Authentication Ticket)
  2. Tracking user activity (Like which sections are most visited etc)
  3. User Preferences

These are almost next to impossible without cookies (unless you resort to complex serverside handling of sessions overburdening the webserver) in the environment of stateless HTTP connections.

Once upon a time, when cookies and Internet was new, people were skeptical about cookies and their personal information being stolen by websites through cookies. There was also a rumor that viruses can spread. These are just dumb rumors. A website can store just upto 20 cookies per domain and the most old cookie gets overwritten when it sets the 21st cookie. Also a cookie is a harmless text file and most browsers disallow more than 4 K per cookie or something like that. And these are some of the quick storage info about cookies:

  • 4 KB per cookie maximum
  • 300 total cookies, for a total of 1.2 Mbytes maximum
  • 20 cookies accepted from a particular server or domain
  • Sometime last week, I encountered a dumb question from one some one regarding a solution to a problem. He was skeptical about using cookies for a non-critical user persistence on the account what would happen if cookies are disabled. I am really getting irritated by such dumb questions in the most advanced and sophistical technology age. Reading from IEBlog, even they have now enhanced the cookie limit per domain from 20 to 50. Check out this post "Update to Internet Explorer's Cookie Jar".

    I think going forward, if some one asks such dumb questions, the reply should be like what Pete O'Hannon gave once in a discussion forum here.

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