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As communication between the client / USER (browser) and website  /server is made in a stateless mode, it is not possible to know who the client is and where they currently are on the website.

The cookie protocol is an implementation used on websites to allow “client-tracking” to occur. This allows for greater interactivity between client and server as the server is able to tell who the client is and where they currently are on the website. Without this form of implementation, shopping online or banking online would not be possible.

The cookie protocol works by allowing the website to store a file on the client's computer, sent by the client on every subsequent request made to the website/server. The website can store any text information required in the cookie file but must remain within a 4 kilobyte size limit. For privacy reasons, the cookie file stored by the website on the client's computer can only be read by the website that stored it. This is controlled by the URL domain of the website.

For the website to be able to track the client, a session ID is uniquely created and stored as a cookie on the client's computer. This allows the website to track the client via the uniquely created session ID and to know if the client is in an authenticated (or “logged-in”) state with the web application or not.
 
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 Article # 77
 Posted on 17 Mar 2014 05:44 AM
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