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CookiePro Knowledgebase

What’s the Difference Between First and Third-Party Cookies?

Last Updated: March 30, 2020

First and third-party cookies are both used on a multitude of websites to track user behavior. They have similar purposes but are collected and used in different ways.

First party cookie: First-party cookies are directly stored by the website (or domain) you visit. These cookies allow website owners to collect analytics data, remember language settings, and perform other useful functions that provide a good user experience.

Third party cookies: Third-party cookies are created by domains that are not the website (or domain) that you are visiting. These are usually used for online-advertising purposes and placed on a website through adding scripts or tags. A third-party cookie is accessible on any websites that loads the third-party server’s code.

The main differences between first and third-party cookies include:

  • Setting the cookie
    • A first-party cookie is set by the publisher’s web server or any JavaScript loaded in the website. A third-party cookie can be set by a third-party server, such as an AdTech vendor, via code loaded on the publisher’s website.
  • Cookie availability
    • First-party cookies are available to the domain that created it. A third-party cookie is accessible on any website that loads the third-party server’s code.
  • Browser support/blocking
    • First-party cookies are supported by all browsers and can be blocked or deleted by the user. Third-party cookies are supported by all browsers, but many are blocking the creation of third-party cookies by default. Users are also taking matters into their own hands and deleting third-party cookies on their own.

Learn About the Different Cookie Consent Models

At a first glance, it may seem that everyone is using the same cookie banner on their website, but there are in fact five main models for cookie law consent.

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