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    Perl Archive : TLC : Webmaster : Understanding Cookies
    Guide Search entire directory 

    Date Published: 1999-12-18

    by Jennifer Hesse
    © 1999, CGI Script Center

    No, not Mrs. Fields cookies...Internet Cookies :)

    There have been many misconceptions regarding Cookies on the Internet. Cookies are used primarily for the goal of collecting information. They can be used to store preferences, remember items you have placed into a virtual shopping cart or track your movements within a particular website. Only the webserver which sets the cookie can read it and know its value. Cookies cannot be used to gather data from your computer or steal personal information. In fact, any website can gather information about your operating system, IP address, browser and the last website you visited without using Cookies. This information can be obtained by using environmental variables (see TPA's discussion on environment variables).

    Another misconception is that Cookies take up space on your hard drive. In reality, a Cookie is often less than 4K in size. You can periodically locate and delete the Cookies files by deleting "cookies.txt". Or, you can choose to simply disable cookies from being accepted. Remember, however, that sometimes you may not be able to view a webpage or use an online shopping cart without enabling Cookies.

    As a business owner on the Internet, Cookies can help make you money. In addition to being able to provide your customers with shopping cart features, Cookies can also be used to create a customer profile and send customized greetings and thank you notes.

    Jennifer Hesse is the Operations Manager at the CGI Script Center. Jennifer is also in charge of registration support and business development. She can be reached at


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