Difference Between Cache and Cookies

Both of these basically assist various websites for elevating their overall performance by creating a better (and personalized) accessibility for the website visitors. They do so by storing some of the data from the clients on the client-side machine. There is a significant difference between cache and cookies, and we will discuss the same in this article.

A cache stores the online resources from a page in a browser for the long run while a user operates on it. Thus, it decreases the loading time of that website in the future and facilitates easier login to its visitors. Cookies, on the other hand, store only the user’s choices. It includes their browsing session, tracks of preferred web pages, etc. Cookies basically use these to trace their overall preference and interests.

What is Cache?

An HTTP cache or a web cache is a type of information technology that temporarily stores web documents (in the form of a cache) for reducing the overall use of bandwidth, perceived lag, and server load. Such documents may include images, HTML pages, and many more. In other words, cache refers to a collection of downloaded information and data that helps a user access a web page faster.

The web cache systems store the copy of any document passing through them. Due to this, the cache can satisfy any subsequent requests made by a user if those requests meet certain conditions. The web cache system is capable of referring to any software or an application.

Let us understand more about caches with an example. Suppose you open any website with large media (videos and pictures), loading its web pages will definitely take a lot of time. In this case, the web browser you use will store the content present on the site- such as the audio, video, images, etc., on your local computer system. Thus, the next time you visit the same website, the loading speed will be much faster, and you may have better recommendations on the page based on your search history.

What are Cookies?

Cookies in a system refer to the small files of data and information (that might be) useful to the visited websites. These include your passwords, used browser, visited pages and preferences, time and date of website visit, IP address, and many more. This way, every time a user loads any website, the browser will immediately send the cookies to the server (the user is in). This way, the website stays aware of the previous activities of the user on the internet. This step helps the websites display favorable ads, cut the login time, load pages faster, display relatable content, and many more.

Cookies are small files that contain useful information to a website — such as login passwords, preferences, browser, IP Address, date and time of visit, etc. Every time the user loads the website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the website of the user’s previous activity.

The cookies have a very limited life span that depends entirely on their creators. The cookies, thus, expire after a fixed amount of time.

The cookies often tap into various types of information regarding a user, such as the frequency of their site visits, the banners they click on, preferences on the site, items added in the cart while online shopping, buttons clicked, time of site visits, and many more. By looking at this information via the cookies, a website becomes capable of providing you with a customized set of information curated according to your needs.

A website uses cookies to store information for a very short time. Netscape first came up with the concept of cookies. In the very initial stages of its development and use, the cookies were not very acceptable, as people feared that companies would use these to hack personal data. It was much later when everyone realized that the cookies are harmless. Now, it has a better acceptance on online platforms.

Difference Between Cache and Cookies

Parameters Cache Cookies
Basics A system uses caches for storing content from a website and applications. They make things more accessible for a user. A website or application uses cookies to store the user’s activities and identify their trail of preferences.
Things Stored Cache stores Javascript, CSS, HTML pages, media (images and videos), etc. Cookies store temporary data for tracking, such as browsing sessions, history of using websites and apps, etc.
Capacity Caches are comparatively less memory efficient. They occupy a lot of space on any device. Cookies are far more efficient with the device’s memory. They take up a very lesser amount of memory.
Location of Storage The cache stores the website content only on a user browser. Cookies store their content on both- a server as well as a browser.
Expiration One needs to delete the cache manually. It does not expire automatically. The cookies have a very limited life span that depends entirely on their creators. The cookies, thus, expire after a fixed amount of time.
Sent with a Request Sending a response in the form of cache does not come as a request to a user. Cookies pop up as a request in front of the users as a form of authorization/permission from them. In other words, it only sends a response to the servers with the end user’s confirmation.
Types Proxy Cache and Browser Cache. Persistent Cookies and Transient Cookies.

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