By using cookies you can significantly improve user experience on your site. However, installing tracking cookies without express user consent constitutes a breach of the ePrivacy Directive 2002/58/EC (EU Cookie Law), and can result in a number of issues for European sites. This is why ensuring you make your WordPress site EU Cookie Law compliant is so important.
In this article, we’ll delve deeper into cookies, the EU Cookie Law and what it all means for your website. We’ll also discuss how easy WordPress integrations can help take the hassle and guesswork out of compliance. Let’s dive in!
What Are Cookies?
First let’s cover what exactly cookies are. When it comes to websites “cookies” are not the traditional gooey goodness you’re used to – instead they’re information files stored in the browser that contain data specific to a website visitor. They contain information relevant to your experience using a website. For example, cookies might retain a user’s search history, remember login details, or make product recommendations based on previous purchases.
How Are Cookies Used in WordPress?
With WordPress cookies are mostly used to login you into a website. Currently WordPress stores a cookie upon login to verify/store your authentication (for the backend/admin panel), another cookies to indicate that your specific user account is logged in and a few other cookies to personalize how the admin panel (or even the main website) interface appears to you. Cookies are also stored when users leave a comment.
Depending on the plugins installed or third party services being used there could be more cookies scattered around your website. For example, if you’ve added a push notifications plugin or if you’re using Google Adsense that’s at least a couple more cookies on your website that you should be aware of.
How This Applies to You
What Is the EU Cookie Law?
Since cookies may acquire private user information (for instance if they are used for tracking) the EU Cookie Law was formulated to ensure that these details can only be acquired with a user’s consent. Although there are certain kinds of cookies that are exempt from the law, in most cases you’ll need to do the following if you use them on your site:
Let your users know cookies are in use
Tell your users what the cookies are being used for
Give users the option to opt in or out of being tracked by cookies
And you’ll need to do this before visitors begin using your website. Failing to comply with the EU Cookie Law could result in incurring a fine, not to mention losing the trust of your users (which can be devastating if you use your website for business).
Before you start panicking, you should know it isn’t too difficult to make your WordPress site EU Cookie Law compliant. In fact, it’s pretty easy.
How to Make Your WordPress Site EU Cookie Law Compliant
There are three steps you’ll need to follow in order to make your WordPress site EU Cookie Law compliant. We’ll walk through each one in turn. Along the way, we’ll also cover how the Iubenda Cookie Solution plugin can help with the process.
Any one of these plugins is a step in the right direction to make your WordPress site EU Cookie Law compliant.
A statement clearly informing users that cookies are in use on your website
An explanation of what cookies are
An explanation of what kinds of cookies are in use (by you and/or third parties)
A clear overview of how and why you (and/or third parties) are using cookies
And an explanation of how users can opt-out of having cookies placed on their device(s)
Step 2: Place a Consent Banner on Your Site
You’ll also have the option to configure a number of settings for your cookie banner. You can select whether you want it to appear in your header or footer, and even automatically block certain scripts.
Once you’ve made your selection, click on Save Changes.
Your banner, and the policy it links to, will now be displayed on your site!
Step 3: Allow Users to Give Consent
Fortunately, most cookie consent/notice plugins offer this feature and the Iubenda Cookie Solution plugin is no different. It will automatically detect and block scripts associated with cookies (including scripts from Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc) as well as enable you to manually block additional resources as you see fit.
Do you have any questions about EU Cookie Law compliance? Or how to make your WordPress site EU Cookie Law compliant? Let us know in the comment section below!