Checking cookies used on your website is an important step to comply with the GDPR. This article details how you can manually check for cookies being used on your website, or any website for that matter.
For compliance with the law, you need to know what cookies are being used on the website and what they are used for. It is also important to know what type of cookies they are and classify them accordingly in order to determine which of them need consent to be used. You can read more about cookies in detail.
You can check cookies on a website using the developer console of a browser. Below are the methods in which you can find the cookies being set by a website, using the browsers Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Please note that to check the cookies used on a specific website or webpage, load the website/page on a private window where there are no other websites loaded before. This is to ensure that there are no cookies set on the browser from any other websites.
Right-click on the website and click on Inspect.
This will open up the Chrome developer console. From the developer console, go to the Applications tab, and then expand the Cookies dropdown under the Storage section. Under Cookies, you can see the domains from which the cookies are being used on the website.
Click on each domain to see the cookies that come installed by that domain. Other than the developer console, you can also view the cookies from the browser address bar. For that, click on the padlock symbol (or the ‘i’ symbol) on the left of the address bar to view the site information and the click on cookies.
It will show the cookies on the website in the Allowed tab. If there are any cookies blocked on the browser, it will be shown on the blocked tab.
Load the website you want to check cookies on. Right-click on the website and click on Inspect Element.
This will open up the developer console for Firefox. From the console, go to the Storage tab, expand the cookies menu to see the domains from which the cookies are being installed. To see which cookies are being set on each domain click on the listed domains. Then on the right side of the console, you will be able to see the cookies that have been set on the website.
The site information option on the top address bar on the browser will also list the source of the tracking cookies and third-party cookies being used on the website although it does not show individual cookies.
To check all the tracking cookies being used on the website, be sure to turn off blocking for the website.
Load the website, right-click on it, and click on the Inspect Element.
If you are not able to see the Inspect Element option, from the toolbar, go to Safari > Preference. From the preferences go to Advanced and check the box to ‘Show Develop menu in menu bar’. On clicking Inspect Element, the developer console opens up. From the developer console, go to the Storage tab and click on Cookies to see the cookies the website has installed on the browser.
When checking for the cookies used on the entire website, it is not enough to just check the cookies on the homepage of the website. If there are any third-party services used in any of the inner pages, like for any video streaming services, there will be cookies that are being used on those specific pages. So it is important to check the inner pages of the website for cookies and not just the homepage.