The first thing you need to do is figure out the cookies your site is using, how and why they are used. For this article, we will use Google Chrome as the browser for the instructions. You can use any browser you’d like and the steps should be very similar.
Find what cookies your site is using
Before you start you need to clear your cookies. This process depends on your browser but it is very similar.
Disclaimer: Clearing your browser cookies most likely will log you out of other services like social media.
- On your computer, open Chrome.
- At the top right, click More.
- Click More tools Clear browsing data.
- At the top, choose a time range. To delete everything, select All time.
- Check “Cookies and other site data” box.
- Click Clear data.
- Right-click anywhere on your page.
- Click inspect.
- Navigate to the Application tab.
- Click on cookies.
- Select your website.
- Load your homepage and start taking note of every single cookie name and domain (in case the domain is different from your own).
- Navigate through the entire site and features. Even live chats. Open a conversation, send messages, close them, etc… Really do everything a user is capable of doing on the site and take note of every cookie that gets created.
After you’ve completed these steps you can start researching what each cookie is for.
What is that cookie for?
Cookies have weird names. Sometimes it is not clear what they are for just by looking at the cookie name.
If you are not sure what a particular cookie is for you need to search for the name and see if you can relate a cookie to a specific service. Take note of that.
Third Party Cookies and how to opt out of them
For cookies that are set by a third-party like Facebook or Livechatinc, you must also figure out what that cookie is for and see if there is a way to opt out.
Now that you know all the cookies your site is setting and what they are for, the next step is to categorize your list.
You can categorize them however you like. You should have at least one category called Strictly Necessary Cookies and assign all necessary cookies for the site to work properly to this one.
Strictly Necessary Cookies are cookies that are needed to function properly. You are not supposed to put all your cookies there and claim they are all necessary.
Other category ideas could be Analytics, Tracking, Advertising, and so on. It is up to you how to categorize these.
Cookies set by the GDPR Plugin and WordPress
This plugin keeps track of user consent by saving them to the database. We can only do that for logged in users. For visitors, however, we track their concent by creating a cookie and storing their preferences there. The same logic applies for cookies.
We set a cookie named gdpr that stores that information.
WordPress also stores cookies on log in or commenting on a post. You can learn more about WordPress cookies here: https://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Cookies