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Cookies vs. Sessions: The Difference

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For websites to work flawlessly, they need some information from the visiting user. That info includes your data that helps sites remember your account.

Whenever you visit some of the web pages, you might get cookies. Some sites, however, function based on sessions. Sometimes, you can hardly tell the difference. Depending on the site, cookies or sessions can be different, but their purposes remain the same.

Here we’ll dive deeper into detail by explaining cookies, sessions, differences between the two, and everything that revolves around them.

Traffic, websites, and internet browsers explained.

Traffic is the data that circulates the internet at any time. It splits into different packets and occurs when your device visits websites. When the traffic increases, it can affect your browsing and downloading speed. If the traffic increases at a very high rate, there could be a potential threat, meaning traffic can affect your browsing security.

Websites contain various data with specific information on the internet. They use a well-known prefix called HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), which is a stateless protocol. Cookies and sessions are the elements that provide state.

Internet browsers are software tools that help you navigate through websites. They also collect cookies that you have accepted throughout your browsing history. However, you can delete cookies whenever you want to.

What are cookies?

Cookies are like a welcome card that makes a particular website remember you every time you visit. They help improve browsing efficiency and make it more secure. When you accept them, cookies save your data and store it in a text format on your device.

Depending on the type, some cookies will last as long as you keep them, and some can expire after a certain amount of time. Since they work on your behalf, they’re client-side state management.

What are web sessions?

Sessions are state management that keeps your data information for one website visit. Unlike cookies, they can sometimes be server-side state management. Every time you visit a particular site, it will ask you for information afresh. You will get a new ID called session ID when you type in your info. Websites use that session ID to recognize you during your visit.

How are they different?

The difference between cookies and sessions may not be visible straight away, so here’s a closer look.

Cookies Sessions
Cookies are client-side state management that stores user data on a client’s device. Sessions store user data on the server.
A client can keep cookies until they delete them. A session data lasts for just one visit.
Some cookies expire after a specific period. A session expires after a user closes the page.
Cookies stay relevant on every subsequent website visit. You have to re-enter your information on the next visit.
Cookies don’t depend on sessions. Sessions depend on cookies.
Cookies convert data only in a text format. Sessions can store any data.
Data that a cookie turns into a text format isn’t secure. Sessions convert data into a secure binary format.
Cookies are necessary for specific reasons, including security. Sessions are crucial for any situation.
Browsers accept only up to 20 cookies, and their data size can be 4 kb maximum. Sessions can store an infinite amount of data.
Cookies don’t have ID information. A session creates a new session ID on every visit.

How do they affect scraping?

You will run into cookies that can potentially catch your activity when web scraping. To avoid getting caught, you have to be anonymous to a certain extent. However, don’t hide all of the information because it will become evident to the websites. It can lead to your account getting blocked or banned.

You should accept the cookies and return them after a while. Always keep them in a moderate number to avoid appearing suspicious.

Also, be sure to change cookies and your IP address after a short time. If you change your IP before a cookie, you might get caught. Changing your information can keep you safe from an account ban. That also applies to website sessions.

Using prolonged sessions

For prolonged sessions, you would have to use rotating ISP proxies. Those proxies offer longevity while you’re scraping all the necessary data. They can prevent connection failure, which means you can scrape worry-free.

With rotating ISP proxies, you can imitate an organic user and meet more stability demands. Excellent stability helps you complete all the necessary steps with a single IP address. For more advanced proxy solutions, make sure to use top-tier proxy providers such as Oxylabs.

Conclusion

Cookies and sessions are the elements necessary for internet browsing. They have specific functions that make them different from one another.

Both come with benefits and limitations, but you can turn them to your advantage if you know how to use them in various situations. However, you need to know how to manipulate them when web scraping or using prolonged sessions.

 

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