Cookie Checker

What is a Cookie Checker for Websites?

Cookie checkers for websites are online tools that enable anyone to check the cookies used on a website by entering the URL of the website. They scan the website for the cookies used and display the cookies identified. Many of these tools also provide information about what these cookies are used for, how long they persist on the browser, etc.

The information provided by these tools is extremely useful for people who are concerned about their online privacy and for webmasters who are looking for compliance with various online privacy laws, alike.

Why Check for Cookies at all?

With the General Data Protection Regulation of the EU, websites around the world are taking a step towards better protection of their users' data. The steps being taken include informing the users of the website's data collection and processing methods in a clear manner, first and foremost.

The ePrivacy Directive which particularizes the GDPR and is legislation that covers online tracking technologies like Flash, HTML 5 Local Storage, Cookies, and other similar technologies. Since cookies are the most commonly used technology, the ePrivacy Directive is also known as the Cookie Law. c

Cookies are small text files that are used to store small packets of data on a visitor's browser. The Cookie Law requires that the use of cookies on a website be only based on the visitor's informed consent about the use of cookies. 

Most websites use different kinds of cookies. Some of them are important for the website functioning and some are used to analyze the user behavior on the website and improve the user experience. Here is all you need to know about cookies.

So, in order to comply with the law, you have to determine what are the tracking technologies that are being used by the website. This not only puts you on the right side of the law but also helps you gain trust from your audience and your organization will come across as one that values and protects the users' privacy. 

Determining what cookies are being used by a website is really easy. Whether you are a website owner or a concerned user, you can easily find out what cookies are used by a website. 

What are Some Cookie Checker Tools?

Below listed are some of the best cookie checker tools available.

1 - CookieServe -  Using this tool, all you need to do is enter the name of the website that you want to check the cookies and click on search. This will lead CookieServe to perform a scan of the URL entered to check for the cookies. After a brief moment, it will display the results of the scan in a tabular form with all the cookies found and related details. From the results, you can see what cookies are set, under which domain, for how long, etc.

CookieYes cookie checker tool

One drawback of the tool is that it only scans the entered URL for cookies, not the entire website.

2 - Cookie-checker - This cookie checker will scan your website for cookies and provide you a detailed report of the cookies detected on your website. The report is provided via email.

CookieChecker cookie checker tool

The downside of the tool is that you need to give your email address for the report to be sent and the report may take hours to be sent to your inbox.

3 - CookieMetrix - In this tool as well, you can check the cookies used. The tools will list all the cookies used and will provide you with information about whether or not the entered URL is compliant with EU Cookie Law or not.

CookieMetrix cookie checker tool

The tool however only scans the entered URL. To get a detailed analysis of the website you need to upgrade to a pro version. Also, CookieMetrix does not provide a description of what the cookies are used for.

4 - Web Privacy Check- This tool can be used to check for cookies used on the website and check other measures that have been put in place (or not) by the website to ensure data protection.

Web Privacy Check Cookie Checker

The details provided by the tool, however, does not include the purpose for which the cookies are used for.

5 - SiteChecker - This is another tool that scans for cookies on your website. Enter the URL of the website you need to check for cookies and the tool will start checking your website.

SiteChecker cookie checker tool

The tool, however, seemed to take a little longer to scan for the cookies and does not detect all the cookies used on the website.

Manually Checking for Cookies

In one method, you can go to the developer console of you the website and find out what cookies are being used. You can do this by following the simple steps listed below.

  1. Open the website of which you want to check the cookies. Preferably in a private window so that cookies set on the browser from other websites do not interfere.
  2. Right-click on the website and click on Inspect element to open up the developer console.
  3. The cookies on the website will be listed on a different tab and these changes from browser to browser. In Safari and Firefox, the cookies are listed on the Storage tab and in Chrome, the cookies can be seen listed on the Application tab.
  4. From this tab, open up the cookies list and click on the domain(s) to see which cookies are set under it.

You can read more about it in this article

Now, this is an easy method where you don't even have to leave the browser window to check what cookies are used by the website. But this can be an exhaustive process when the website has many cookies installed under multiple domains. So, if you want to check the cookies of a website, all you need is the URL of the website to which you want the information about the cookies. And you don't have to look much far online to find a free service that can check the cookies for you.

Who Does Cookie Checker Tools Help?

The answer depends on whether you are a website owner or a user. If you are website owner you need to know which cookies your website is using in order to inform the users of the website of them, as part of protecting their privacy when they are browsing through their site. If you are a user of a website, you may want to check the cookies that the website uses to determine if there are any cookies set by the website that can keep track of your behavior on the browser.

There can be a lot of cookies that are being used by the website and they could be set by different domains. The website may share these cookies with third-parties which can be used for purposes like analytics and for targetted advertising. This has been a privacy concern over the years among the users and many countries are stepping up with laws that aim at protecting the privacy of their citizens.

The general public is becoming more and more aware of the privacy threats online, and news popping up about the personal data of users being mishandled. The realization that it can have real consequences when the data are gone into the wrong hands. So the organizations have to take measures so that the personal data of their users are protected. And the users have to be aware and careful of what data they are giving when online.

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