9 December 2012
I won’t tell you right now. That’s because it’s clearer to first look at why website builders think they need cookies. From those needs, the ‘What are they?’ question will also be answered naturally.
To understand what website builders might need cookies for, we must look at how web browsing takes place.
When you surf the web, there are two programs involved, that run on two different computers:
Examples of web browsers are:
Examples of web servers are:
There may be many more, but I don’s know them and it doesn’t matter, because and a web surfer, you won’t notice the difference and you are probably not even able to detect which web server is serving you when you visit a particular web page. Not even if you’d want to, which you don’t.
The browser and the server communicate with each other over the internet. They cooperate to enable you, the user, to browse the web. To do that, they use http, the HyperText Transfer Protocol.
Simply said, this is what happens:
You enter a URL in the address line of the web browser.
For example, the URL of this page is:
More commonly, you don’t type that URL yourself, but rather you click a hyperlink in an existing web page. The hyperlink may look like a button, a menu item, a picture, an underlined piece of text. Behind the hyperlink is the URL. When you click the link, the browser puts it in its address line itself, so you don’t have to type it.
The browser sends the URL to the web server.
The web server serves the page, that is, retrieves the page content from disk, or generates it by running some program or script.
The web browser renders the page. That is, it translates the HTML-code it received, into what to get to see on your screen.
The whole procedure may seem complicated the way I just described it here. Well, in fact, I skipped and ignored a lot of details, so it is even more complicated:
The part of the URL before the first single slash (‘/’) needs to be translated to an IP number, so the browser program can contact the web server. This is done using the DNS (Domain Name System)
To speed things up, the web browser itself, the access provider (proxy) and the web server may employ caches: often viewed web content is stored temporarily, so repeated requests can be served faster and more efficiently.
Web pages may consist of several components, such as CSS, iframes, images, sound files etc. So the browser, after receiving the requested content from the web server, may need to perform several more steps, in order to gather all the content components it needs it to properly display that content.
.. @? Not finished yet. @?
Copyright © 2012 R. Harmsen. All rights reserved.