Cookies are pieces of data that are saved in your web browser by the websites you visit. Third-party cookies are created by a website other than the one that you wanted to visit. Most of the time, third-party cookies are used by ad services that want to offer you targeted ads based on your browsing history and your web searches. However, these cookies can raise privacy concerns, as they can also be used to store your browsing history across websites that use the same ad services. That’s why questions like “Are third party cookies a security risk?” or “Is it good to block third party cookies?” often arise. To help you out, in this article, we’re going to show you how to disable third-party cookies in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera, covering all the major browsers today. Without further ado, here’s how to turn off third-party cookies:
Blocking third-party cookies: What does it mean?
When you visit a website, including Digital Citizen, it usually stores at least one cookie on your computer with the help of your web browser. That website uses its cookie(s) to keep information about your visit and your preferences, so that you can browse it without issues.
Most websites also store third-party cookies on your devices, which are created by other websites and services. For example, some of the most common third-party cookies used by websites are from:
- Google Analytics - third-party cookies used for analyzing the traffic of the website
- Google AdSense or Doubleclick - third-party used to deliver ads on the website you visit
- Facebook - third-party cookies used to give you access to Like or Share buttons or to embed different types of content from Facebook
Blocking third-party cookies in your web browser can block tracking from advertisers and other entities. So, is it good to block third-party cookies? Yes, it can be good, but it can also be bad: blocking cookies can increase your privacy, but it can also break some of the websites you visit.
Before we show you how to disable third-party cookies, keep in mind that most web browsers already turn off third-party cookies if you use them in incognito mode. Furthermore, some websites also listen to DNT (Do Not Track) requests sent by your browser (if you enabled the DNT setting), which means that they might have already disabled the cookies that can track you.
To disable third-party cookies in Chrome, first, click or tap on the “Customize and control Google Chrome” button from the browser’s top-right corner. It looks like three dots arranged vertically. In the menu, select Settings.
Scroll down and click or tap on “Cookies and other site data” under “Privacy and security.”
This gives you a list of various cookie switches and settings. As you can see in the screenshot below, Chrome blocks third-party cookies by default, but only in incognito mode.
To turn off third-party cookies in Chrome, select the “Block third-party cookies” option, as illustrated below.
You can now close the Settings tab. From now on, Google Chrome will be blocking all third-party cookies on all the websites you visit.
How to block third-party cookies in Firefox
To turn off third-party cookies in Firefox, first, click or tap the Open menu button from its top-right corner. It looks like three parallel lines. In Firefox’s menu, press on Options.
In the Options tab, choose “Privacy & Security” on the left sidebar.
Then, on the right, click or tap on Custom, and select the option labeled “All third-party cookies (may cause websites to break)” from the drop-down list.
Close the Options tab, and Mozilla Firefox will start blocking all third-party cookies on all the websites you visit.
Open Microsoft Edge and click or tap on the “Settings and more” button from the top-right side of the browser window. Alternatively, you can press ALT+X on your keyboard. In Edge’s menu, select Settings.
In the Settings tab, select “Cookies and site permissions” on the left sidebar.
In the panel on the right, click or tap on “Manage and delete cookies and site data” under “Cookies and data stored.”
Finally, turn on the “Block third-party cookies” switch.
Close the Settings tab, and you’re done. Microsoft Edge now blocks third-party cookies on all the websites you visit.
How to block third-party cookies in Opera
In Opera, the first thing you have to do in order to turn off third-party cookies is to press the “Customize and control Opera” button from the top-left corner of the window. It looks like the letter O. In Opera’s menu, click or tap on Settings.
In the Settings tab, select Advanced on the left sidebar. Then, scroll until you get to the “Privacy and security” section on the right, and click or tap on “Cookies and other site data.”
You then get access to the cookie settings used by Opera. As you can see in the following screenshot, Opera blocks third-party cookies by default if you’re using it in private mode.
To block all third-party cookies, regardless of whether you use Opera’s private browsing or not, turn on the switch that says “Block third-party cookies.”
You can close Settings and continue browsing with Opera, free of any third-party cookies.
Why did you choose to block third-party cookies?
While blocking all third-party cookies may make your browsing history and data more private, it does not mean that all ad networks and third-party services stop tracking you. Some of them have dodgy methods for tracking visitors on different websites. However, you should see fewer targeted ads, and ad networks and social networks will know a little bit less about you. Before closing this tutorial, we would like to know your reason for blocking third-party cookies and your experience after doing that.