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You are viewing an outdated report published on August 1st, 2005. The latest version of this report was published on November 1st, 2014


    
Internet Cookie Report
August 1st, 2005

Report Description
How widespread is the use of cookies? Based on a survey of 797,293 sites,21.0% of servers were found to be sending cookies along with a web page.

Cookie Survey Results
Of the sites using cookies:

Set a cookie for all hosts in the domain 2.8%
Set a cookie for longer than a day 25.9%
Set a cookie for longer than a year 16.2%
Set a cookie for longer than a decade 6.9%
Set a cookie for all URLs on the site 99.2%

Popular Cookies
On the 167,690 sites found using cookies, the most common cookie names were:

Cookie Name % of sites
ASPSESSIONID* 43.0%
PHPSESSID 15.4%
ASP.NET_SessionId 5.0%
CFID 4.2%
CFTOKEN 4.2%
JSESSIONID 3.3%
BX 2.1%
phpbb2mysql_sid 1.4%
phpbb2mysql_data 1.4%
nuid 1.3%
lang 1.2%

What is a cookie?
When a web server responds to a request (for a document, an image in a document, etc) it can send small named pieces of data called "Cookies" along with the requested data. These cookies are normally stored in your web browser and sent back to that web server each time you make a request. Cookies are often used to keep track of sessions, so the server can easily identify the same user from one request to the next. For example, a server could attempt to set a cookie named "USER" with the value "John" so that on the next request the server knows that this is user John.

When a server sends a cookie, it can ask the browser to store the cookie for a period of time, so that the cookie is remembered between sessions, even if your web browser or computer has been shut down. This is the expiry time of the cookie, which by default is to the end of the current session.

A cookie can be set so that it only applies to a certain pattern of URLs on that server, but the default is for the cookie to be sent with all requests to that server. It is also possible for a cookie to be set so that the browser will send the cookie with requests to all servers in the same domain, not just the one web server.

Due to their use in tracking users and some security problems surrounding them, cookies have been a concern to many privacy and security advocates.

Methodology
In order to determine how wide spread the use of cookies is across the internet, we crawl a large number of web sites and take note of any cookies that web servers attempt to send us along with the HTML of the crawled pages. When the crawling has completed, we count the number of servers that sent us cookies and collect some statistics on those cookies including expiry times, if the cookie was set for all URLs on the server, and if the cookie was set for the entire domain.

Our crawler is only used to crawl web pages and not any images, applets, or other objects that may be contained in those pages. This means that any cookies sent only with those objects and not with any HTML pages will not be discovered by our crawler, but they would be received by most web browsers.





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