The EU Cookie Law in a Nutshell

The EU Cookie Law in a Nutshell

There’s now a law which all website owners must adhere to or face possible fines of up to £500,000. That’s pretty important so we thought we’d write a post explaining the law and what can be done to make sure you don’t have to pay any fines. Heart Internet, our favourite hosting company explained it like this:

“In May 2011 a European Union law was passed stating that websites that leave non-essential cookies on visitors’ devices have to alert the visitor and get acceptance from them.

This law applies to both individuals and businesses based in the EU regardless of the nationality of their website’s visitors or the location of their web host. It is not enough to simply update your website’s terms and conditions or privacy policy.”

So just what are cookies?

Cookies are small files sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser whilst a user is browsing a website. They are designed to hold data specific to a particular client and website, and can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer.

And what are ‘non-essential cookies’?

Non-essential cookies are those which aren’t required for a website to function.

Examples of non-essential cookies include (but aren’t limited to) those from website analytics, advertising and all affiliate programs.

An example of an essential cookie which IS required for a website to function is one that is needed for a customer to check out and buy products.

Most websites drop non-essential cookies so it’s more than likely that your website contains a mix of essential and non-essential varieties.

What should I do next?

The deadline to comply with the EU Cookie Law was 26th May 2012. We’ve been contacting our clients to let them know about how this affects them and how we can help update their websites to be in accordance with the law. If you’re not a previous client but need some help with your website, please contact us at