With a disturbing increase in the number of data breaches, internet users have become more concerned about their online privacy than ever before. If we are a website or WordPress blog owner then it is essential to know that as per the European Union legislation we need to add cookie consent notice to our site/blog to let the users know that we are using cookies. Before going to the step by step process to add this consent let us first understand a bit about cookies and the law governing cookie consent.
What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files stored on a person’s computer holding information specific to that person. This is downloaded to our system when we visit a website. These cookies help the website owners provide a customized user experience. Let us see a simple example of how cookies are helping websites to optimize their content delivery.
Let us browse a website that serves different geographies and multiple languages. When we visit the site for the first time we set our location and language preference. Our browser stores these values as cookies. Next time we visit the same site instead of asking us for the location and language preference the site reads the previously stored cookie value and renders the content as per the available cookie data. Thus cookies help site owners to render customized versions of the site much easier.
Cookies were first designed by Lou Montulli in 1994 when he was working for the company Netscape. The original purpose of its design was to identify if a user has visited their site before.
What are the different types of cookies?
Session Cookies: Session cookies help websites memorizes the online activity of each user. For example, when we are shopping online we can browse different products and categories and add them to cart and then check out any time. All these items that we have added to the cart remain active in the final check out page. Cookies control all such behaviors. So basically without Session cookies internet browsing would be a completely different experience. These cookies remain active only until we stay on the website. These cookies expire post the browser window closure.
Persistent Cookies: These types of cookies are stored on the hard disk of our computer. For example, the language and location preference of a user is required every time he/she visits the website. So these cookies remain even after exiting the browser.
Third-Party Cookies: Also known as tracking cookies these are a bit on the shady area of privacy. These cookies actually collect user data based on our online behavior. Advertisers mainly use this to track the location, age, gender, etc of a customer. Based on these information ad programs can render targeted ads to each customer.
What is the EU Cookie Legislation?
With the intent to protect the online privacy of citizens, this initially began as a directive from the European Union. As per the new privacy Directive, the websites based on European Union or targeting audience in the European Union need to inform the users about cookies. As per the law, the website owners need to inform the visitors about the following facts.
- What is the purpose of the cookie? ( performance enhancement or functionality implementation)
- The details of the type of cookies on our website.
- Who is in control of the cookie-related information?
- The use of the cookie is only intended for the stated purpose.
- How users can withdraw consent to allow cookies?.
How to add cookie consent notice to the WordPress website?
Step2: Go to the plugin settings under Settings => Cookie Notice
The first option here is to enter a suitable text for our cookie notice consent. I am using the default text here for demo purposes. Next, we have to provide the button text.
Step3: We also have options to allow the users to refuse the cookies and use our site.
Step4: The next set of options is for designing the color, position, and style of the cookie bar and buttons within it.
Finalize these options as per our site layout and click the Save Changes button at the bottom to enable the cookie bar.
Let us now go to the blog and see the cookie notice bar in action on the bottom part of our site.
Thus in a few simple steps, we have added a cookie consent notice bar to our website.