How to Know if Your WordPress Website Uses Cookies

Every website owner should know as much as possible about their website. They should have a thorough insight into how engaging their website is. And they should at least be familiar with their conversion rates, and how well their website performs. But, the one thing that a surprising number of website owners fail to recognize is whether their website uses Cookies. So, to help shine some light on website Cookies in general, we are going to show you how to know if your WordPress website uses Cookies.

A thing or two about Cookies

Before we get into WordPress functionality, we first need to elaborate on what website Cookies are. Put simply, Cookies are small files containing data. This data is sent by the website to the visitor, which is then stored in the visitor’s browser. The main function of Cookies is to improve user experience and give websites a higher degree of performance. But, to do that, they have to collect personal data. This is one of the reasons why people turn to Nord VPN to save them.

A person using Nord VPN on their phone.
One of the reasons why people use Nord VPN is to protect themselves from invasive Cookies.

As it is now, WordPress uses two different types of Cookies. Session Cookies and comment Cookies. Session Cookies primary use is for login data and is utilized for every log-in user on a website. Comment Cookies, as the name suggests, are utilized when a visitor leaves a comment. Their primary use is to store the visitor’s name, URL info, and email address. That way, they won’t have to renter it every time they visit a website. Apart from WordPress, different third-party plugins can set Cookies for a website.

Know if your WordPress website uses Cookies

The easiest way to find out whether your website uses Cookies is through a browser. Seeing that people are concerned about Cookies, and for good reason, most web browsers give you an easy way to check whether a website uses some. Therefore, you can use the same method not only to check your website but other websites as well. Keep in mind that deleting the cash files from your browser will delete cookie data. So, implement these methods before doing a cleanup.

Google Chrome

Let’s start with good old Chrome. Once you open it, you first need to head to your website. Once there, you need to click on the Padlock or the Not Secure icon on the left side of the address bar. In the dropdown menu that opens, click on Cookies. Doing so will bring up a Cookies popup where you can see all the cookies sent by the website.

Google Chrome logo on a phone.
Modern browsers give you an easy way to know if your WordPress website uses cookies.

Another way to check for Cookies is with the Inspect tool. After opening up your website you can right-click pretty much anywhere. Doing so will open a menu where, among other options, you can select the Inspect tool. The tool will split the browser window and on the right, you will see a developer console. In it, you need to open the Application tab. There, under the Storage section in the top left column, you will find the Cookies menu. In it, you can see all the Cookies on your site, as well as data stored by the cookie.

Mozilla Firefox

If, on the other hand, you are using Mozzila, the procedure for checking Cookies is a bit different. First, you need to open your website. Then, you need to right-click anywhere in the browser and click on the Inspect Element tool. Doing so will open the developer console panel where you can find the Storage tab. Once you open it, click on the Cookies section in the left column to view all the Cookies.

Turn off Cookies with plugins

Now, you might be wondering what’s the use of knowing which Cookies are active on your website. Well, as we mentioned, third-party plugins can have their own set of Cookies. And you, as the website owner, might not want those Cookies active on your website. Or you may feel that the plugin owners aren’t using their Cookies responsibly. This, as we will later cover, can cause you considerable legal trouble. So, to help prevent this, let’s take a look at how to turn off Cookies that you don’t like.

Using Monsterinsights

Apart from giving you the ability to turn off Cookies, Monsterinsights is an overall great plugin. Once you install and activate it, head on to the Insights -> Addons page and install the EU Compliance Addon. This addon requires no setup, as it will start working right after installment. What it will do is that it will automatically disable the Demographics and Interest Reports. Turn off author and user tracking. And anonymized the IP address of the visitor.

A final note about cookie laws for WP websites

The one thing we’ve hinted at, but not have jet discussed are the laws revolving around Cookies and their use. As you can see, Cookies are powerful tools that can gather a lot of information about the visitor. Seeing that they carry with them numerous privacy risks, many countries have instated strict laws and guidelines for their use.

Lines of code related to online privacy, showing why you need to know if your WordPress website uses cookies.
Privacy laws make it necessary for you to keep track of your cookies.

The one that we’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph is the European GDPR law and ePrivacy Directive. In a similar fashion, the United States, Canada, and Japan all have their own laws regarding cookie usage. While there are certain differences, all of them require website owners to disclose what they are gathering from the visitors. And that visitors first comply with providing the information. To properly comply with these laws, we suggest that you:

  • Implement a privacy policy page.
  • Install a plugin for Cookie notification.
  • Keep close tabs on your plugins and know if your WordPress website uses cookies.

These three steps should protect you from any legal troubles down the road.

 

 

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