Difference between Cookies and Cache

Here you will learn about difference between cookies and cache i.e. cookies vs cache.

Both are downloaded to your computer but they have different purposes. Cookies are download to record your previous activities on a particular website. On other hand Cache are used to store the web-pages in memory so when user visits that webpage again then webpage can be loaded from the memory instead of downloading files from web-server again.

Difference between Cookies and Cache

  Cookies                                Cache
1. What is Small files downloaded to your computer to track your previous  activity. Files downloaded to your computer memory to store the current version of the webpage so  next time browser doesn’t need to download all the files again from the internet when we visit that webpage again.
2. Advantages Less memory, no extra burden on server, simple to use and implement. Faster access, save time, save data.
3. Size Can support as large as 4kb, 50 cookies per domain (per website), can support at least 3000 cookies in total. Depend on the limit set by your internet browser.
4. Disadvantages Security risk because of its clean plain text. User can disable cookies, User can delete cookies, Track browsing activities. Sometimes websites loaded from cache can be different from the website on internet.
5. Expires Expires after sometime. Kept in the client’s machine until they are removed manually by the user.

Let’s see these differences in detail.

What is: Cookies (also known as web-cookie, internet cookie or browser cookie) are small files downloaded to your computer. These files are sent from the website that we’re browsing and downloaded by web browser to our computer.

These small files may have the information like which links you’ve been visited, buttons you clicked, your log in information, or the pages were visited in the past. When we’ll visit that website next time then the website will use that information to track our previous activity on their website. It can also remember the information that previously entered into form fields like name, date, birth detail, credit card number etc.

On other hand, Cache is nothing but some downloaded files in memory which is used by browsers to access web-pages with high speed. When we open a webpage, the pages and all its files are downloaded as browser’s cache in our computer hard drive. When we visits that webpage again, if the resources and dependencies of that web page are still same as our last visit, then browser will fetch that entire webpage or some files of that webpage from the hard drive instead of downloading it from web server, which will increase the speed of accessing that webpage. It will save our time and data too. It holds the resources like files, audio, video and flash files.

Advantages: There are many advantages of cookie like it doesn’t take much memory in our computer and storing the cookies on client-side reduces the burden from the server. Cookies are also easy to use and implement.

Whereas, Cache improves the browsing experience by increasing the speed of accessing websites. As previously mentioned that if the resources of that particular website are still same then the browser will fetch that website or some files from the computer’s hard drive. Which will save our time and data too.

Size: Cookies can be up to 4KB (4096 Bytes) in size, and a website can send 50 cookies on our computer and the number of total cookies can be at least 3000.

On other hand, the size of cache depends on the limit set by browser. You can increase the size to store more temporary files using browser’s settings.

Disadvantages: Cookies exists as plain text on the client machine, so it can be a security risk because anyone can open and tamper with cookies. Anyone can disable and delete cookies in Browser’s setting.

Whereas, the main disadvantage of loading webpage from cache can be different from the website presented on the web-server, because cache may have the results from your visit on that website.

Expires: Cookies after a set time and the time of  expiration also depends on the type of cookies.  For example –  session cookie exists only in temporary memory while the user navigates the website.  Web-browsers  normally delete session cookies when user closes the browser. Persistent cookie expires on a set time by its creator.

On other hand, Cache will not expire until  user deletes it by himself  or the memory allocated for cache runs out of memory.

Comment below if you have queries related to above difference between cookies and cache.

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