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You must have encountered a message from the browser saying ‘cookies not enabled’ or ‘This website required you to enable cookies’. In case, you are confused by what cookies mean on the Internet and have no idea about how to enable cookies in the browser, this article will help you out.

What are Cookies and Why are they Used?

Cookies are small pieces or strings of data that websites save on your computer through a browser, for keeping track of certain parameters relating to your activity on that site or for other purposes. Cookies enable the web page to become more interactive, by delivering tailor made pages to users. The web server which serves pages, accesses cookies through the browser to achieve this. There may be inbuilt programming on the page, which enables access to these saved cookies, in order to deliver certain functionality of the site.

A cookie file, saved by a web page, is essentially a table of values assigned to specific information parameters that the site needs to access and deliver dynamic web pages. For example, when you log into a site, your login name, the start of your session time, along with the options that you select on the site, are saved on your computer through the browser. Information about every log in session can be carried forward to the next with the help of cookies. If you are accessing certain e-shopping sites, then they will carry information in the form of cookies about your shopping cart details.

A web page is accessed by millions of users at a time. If the server saves all user related information on its side and has to retrieve it every time, site may slow down. Instead, cookies are saved on the client computer side itself, which enables speed of page delivery from the server side, while not burdening itself with the data storage task. A cookie can be temporarily or permanently saved on a computer. Some cookies have a ‘self destruct’ mode and they get deleted, as soon as the browser is closed. So, it is essential that you know how to disable and enable cookies in a browser. There are two types of cookies: ‘First party’ and ‘Third Party’ cookies. First party cookies belong to the same site which you are visiting, while third party cookies belong to other sites. Generally, third party cookies should be blocked. Cookies may also contain scripts and sometimes they may be malicious. It is good practice to enable cookies in such a way that, the browser asks you whether to save cookies or not. You can also set up an anti-spyware/malware software which detects such malicious cookies for you. You can also block all cookies and allow only specific sites to save cookies. So, these were some facts about cookies. How to enable them is the part explained in the next section.

How to Enable Cookies in Different Browsers?

Here I specify how cookies are enabled in most popular web browsers installed on the Windows Vista operating system. The cookie facility is dependent on the browser, rather than the operating system. There are a plethora of web browsers available now and each varies in its features and settings. The cookie enable/disable option is available in the settings of every browser. Most of the browsers give an option of blocking specific sites.

Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is unarguably the king of web browsers in the world. It is one of the best web browsers due to the extensive features it offers to make web browsing easy. Mozilla has extensive features related to cookies. Here are the directions for enabling storage of cookies:

  • To enable cookies in Firefox, click on the ‘Tools’ option and click on ‘Options.’
  • A window with various tabs will open. Select the ‘Privacy’ tab. The ‘Firefox will accept Custom settings for history’ option will be selected and you will see a list of check boxes below.
  • Click on the check box which says ‘Accept cookies from sites’. There will be an exceptions tab, where you can specify sites from which you do not want cookies to be saved.
  • To disable third party cookies, uncheck the box that says ‘Accept third party cookies’.
  • You can also choose the duration for which you want the cookies to be stored through the ‘Keep until’ option.

Internet Explorer
Internet explorer is the second most popular web browser today. Here are instructions on enabling storage of cookies in the latest version of internet explorer, which is IE8.

  • Click on the tools tab of IE8 and then select ‘Internet Options’ from the drop down window.
  • A window with various tabs will open. Select the ‘Privacy’ tab. Click on ‘Advanced’ button.
  • The cookie handling window will open. The check box titled ‘override automatic cookie handling’ must be in a checked state. Look at the options given below.
  • IE8 gives a set of three options – ‘Accept, Block or Prompt’ for first party cookies and third party cookies. Select the ‘Accept’ option for first party cookies or ‘Prompt’ and you may choose to block the third party cookies (recommended) or select the ‘Prompt’ option for them.

Google Chrome
Google’s very own web browser, ‘Google Chrome’ is a recent entry on the web and fast becoming popular. Here are instructions on enabling cookies in Google Chrome.

  • Click on the tools tab symbolized by a spanner symbol.
  • Next click on the ‘Options’ in the drop down list.
  • Click on the ‘Under the Hood tab’. You will see a ‘Cookie Settings’ section. Set the option to either ‘Allow all cookies’ or ‘Restrict how third party cookies can be used’.

Opera
Here are directions on enabling cookies.

  • Click on ‘Tools’ and select ‘Preferences’. Then go to the ‘Advanced’ tab. Select the ‘Accept Cookies’ option or the ‘Accept cookies only from the site I visit’ (recommended).
  • You can also enable specific site blocking of cookies.

Safari
Here is how you can enable cookies in Safari version 4.0.4.

  • Click on the ‘Tools’ tab in the right hand upper corner, symbolized by a gear.
  • Select the ‘Preferences’ option. Go to ‘Security’ option and in it select the ‘Always’ or ‘Only the sites I visit’ (recommended) options to enable cookies.

With advanced features available in browsers, you can totally customize your web experience.

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