Cookies are both good and bad and it’s a case where the bad unfortunately outweighs the good. Cookies are good for improving the convenience of browsing the internet because they keep certain aspects of your browsing activity saved for the next session and that saves you time. 

The bad part is, cookies are often used to track your data and your online presence, without your realization or sometimes your permission. Most browsers will allow you at least some degree of control over how cookies are used. 

There are also several browsers that allow you to browse in Private Mode, which effectively cuts cookies off from the knees. When it comes to VPNs, the name of the game is privacy. But do VPNs also protect you from cookies?

Does A VPN Protect You From Cookies?

No, VPNs don’t have anything to do with cookies. While a VPN is great for hiding your online activity from your internet service provider, it will not stop cookies from following you around everywhere you go—tracking, in other words. 

Thanks to the misleading marketing campaigns by many VPN providers, people often overestimate what their VPN can actually do. All a VPN does is encrypt your data and change the location where your device accesses the internet from. Most VPNs will do little more than that.

Tracking cookies record all sorts of information, like your browsing history, search queries, what you purchased, and information about the device you’re using, etc. That information is stored on your browser in the form of a tracking cookie that can be associated with you on and off the VPN.

Private mode or Incognito are the easiest ways you can completely eliminate having to deal with cookies. However, for every action, there’s a reaction. Website owners have resorted to a new tack to force you to circumvent your own privacy. 

Basically, it works like this: if you are browsing in Private or Incognito Mode and you come across a website that insists you allow cookies to track you, you won’t be able to access the site unless you agree to let them do so, which means giving up your tracking protection.

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If websites can still track you, then what’s the point of having a VPN? Well, using a VPN does confer some benefits while surfing the web. For one, it masks your IP address. It also prevents websites from profiling you and it will encrypt your connection.

So although cookies are trying to track and gather data, they can’t go so far as gathering your IP address. They’ll get an address but it will be the one your VPN gives them. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can’t track you either.

Since your VPN does provide some modicum of protection against cookies, you should have it on whenever you browse the web, regardless of where you’re going. Since cookies are placed on your browser and not on your VPN, you should go through and clear them out at the end of every session. 

How you clear your cookies depends on what browser you’re using. Google Chrome, since it’s an extended version of Google’s search engine, should be avoided at all costs. You should take the time to go into your browser’s settings and turn on cookie blockers and clear your cache. 

Just remember, some websites won’t let you in unless you allow them to use cookies, and the number of websites that do it is growing daily.

All Things Considered

While a VPN doesn’t have much to do with cookies, since the two don’t technically cross paths, there are still a lot of good reasons to have a VPN. Most notably, your privacy and anonymity on the web.

For true anonymity, you need to control cookies on your own by turning on blockers and browsing in Private mode.