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Should you still be using cookies on your website?

When it comes to cookies, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Privacy is a huge issue in today’s world and consumers want to know how their data is being used before sharing it.

Plus, countries around the globe have varying laws and regulations when it comes to privacy and protecting their residents, so having cookies can help cover you everywhere.

You need to have a cookie policy in place, for example, in order to be able to comply with EU and California privacy laws. Even if you’re not based in either of these places, you might get traffic from people who are based there.

Our latest article explores what cookies are and what they are used for, and considers whether you need them in particular if you use WordPress.

What are internet cookies?
First things first, what actually is a cookie? It’s sadly not the delicious sweet treat you can buy in packages from the supermarket or enjoy baking at home.

Internet cookies, instead, serve a key purpose of letting websites remember users and details about them, including their logins and shopping baskets, for instance. Ultimately, cookies help website developers make a user’s time on a website more convenient and even more personal.

But cookies can also be a problem when it comes to privacy matters. While the majority of cookies are completely safe, some can be used to track consent by cybercriminals. And with data protection and privacy laws more important than ever, businesses need to get this right, especially if they’re managing customer data.

Do WordPress websites use cookies?
The simple answer is yes!

WordPress sites, by default, use cookies to store authenticated user sessions and commenter authentication. If you use WordPress, your website will likely also have plugins that use cookies.
Ultimately, this means having WordPress cookie consent is necessary for websites built on the popular content management system (CMS). In general, any websites that use a CMS need cookies to function.

Does WordPress need cookie consent?
WordPress sites use cookies as well as comment enhancements and settings. And there are a few things to consider with this.

If your website has users from the EU, you need to notify them about cookies being used, as laid out under GDPR law.

It’s also important to realise that if you use any third-party plugins on your website they may also place cookies of their own. This could then collect users’ personal data and track them.
So your WordPress site does absolutely need cookie consent, and not having it can land organisations in serious trouble.

Should you have a cookie banner?
In general, most WordPress websites do need a cookie banner as well as consent management.

Mainly this is because websites without cookies will really struggle to process personal data by third parties. And even if you do, under unlikely circumstances, manage it, it will severely limit you.
In this scenario it’s likely that the following services will no longer be usable:
• Facebook Pixel
• Google Ads
• Google Analytics (with MonsterInsights)
• Google Fonts
• Google Maps
• Google reCAPTCHA (with Contact Form 7, with Clever Reach)
• Google Tag Manager
• Hotjar
• Jetpack
• X
• Vimeo
• YouTube

Do you still need cookie consent if you don’t use cookies?
This may seem like a strange question but the answer isn’t as simple as you think. It’s true, you don’t need a cookie consent if you don’t use cookies, but it’s still a good idea to have it.

Even if you don’t use them, you might have third-party services or plug-ins from other companies on your website that do use third-party cookies.

Ensuring you have cookie consent is a safety mechanism as it adds another layer of protection for you and so can help give you peace of mind.

How to create a cookieless domain in WordPress
If you hadn’t guessed already, this is impossible seeing as WordPress doesn’t work without cookies.

They are absolutely necessary for authentication and so without them you cannot access the WP administration area.

Final thoughts
Having a cookie policy is important as it lets visitors to your website know it uses cookies and the reasons why it uses them. As discussed, you might also need a cookie policy if your site makes use of a service that uses cookies, like a Facebook Like button. Some websites also use cookies because they make the user experience better.

If you still remain unsure about whether your website needs a cookie policy, it’s best to seek legal advice to avoid potential problems. Learning to write a cookie policy for your site is easier than you might think and can prevent huge fines in the future. It also makes you look good to visitors and potential clients as it shows you support compliance and you’re willing to be transparent.


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