Understanding tracking with Cookiedatabase.org

How to contribute

Cookiedatabase.org is an open-source community-driven project, which relies heavily on the contributions of users. You can help easily by submitting new cookies or editing cookies and services for review. You can also help with translations of the cookiedescriptions.

If you want to join as a moderator/editor or as a translator, this is possible as well by registering at cookiedatabase.org. We will send you an email invitation to cookiedatabase.slack.com. 

Below is the tutorial for contributions.

For Moderators/Editors

Request an account

If you don’t have an account already, sign up here


  • For the purpose of this manual, we assume that you are using Google Chrome as your browser. 
  • In Google Chrome, go to Settings and make sure you have the setting “Send a ‘Do Not Track’ request with your browsing traffic” turned off. You can easily find the setting by using the search bar at the top of the screen.
  • Make sure you have no adblockers enabled

Editing Pending Cookies

New cookies are marked as –pending-.

  1. Check if the cookie is already present in the database. If this is the case, then:
    • Does the cookie name contain a ‘hash’ such as [cookiename25125]? Then add a * to the first added cookie. So in this example, [cookie name*].
    • If the exact same name is already present, remove the newest one. This should hardly occur.

  1. Add the corresponding Service
    • In some cases, the corresponding Service can be derived from the name of the cookie. 
    • In other cases, the name may contain an abbreviation. The [Data Source] field contains a list of plugins used on the website where the cookie was found. This list can help you find out about the Service.
    • In some cases, it helps to search Google for the cookie name. In many cases, however, you will find cookie statements, which in this case are of no use to us.
    • If you can’t find any usable information, proceed to the following steps

  1. Visit the site where the cookie was found
    • In the field [Data Source] you will find the URL of the site where the cookie was found. It can help to visit some pages of the site (especially product pages, articles, etc.) and to accept any cookie banners.
    • Visit the site and click with the right mouse button -> Inspect. Then choose the [Application] tab.
    • On the left side of this screen you will see [Storage] and three relevant categories: Local Storage, Session Storage, and Cookies. Here you will find all cookies and other data stored in your browser.
    • The cookies etc. are sorted by domain. If you find the cookie under a different domain than the website you are visiting, this is the Service. This way, you can also conclude that this is a Third Party cookie.
    • If you have found the Service, but it is not yet in the list of Services, you can add it via [Add New Category]. If you do this, make sure that you also add the Service Type via the menu cookies -> Services. 
    • Some of the cookies found are only relevant to logged-in users or administrators. If this is the case, enter the Service and proceed to the next cookie. 

  1. Retention, Cookie function
    • If you found the cookie in the previous step, you will see on the right side of the table with all the cookie information, including [Expires]. The difference between this date and today is the retention period.
    • In some cases, the name or [value] of the cookie you find when inspecting the page gives a clear hint to the function of the cookie. If you find it with reasonable certainty, you can select it from the list of already entered cookie functions. Did you find a cookie with a function that is not yet on the list? Please let us know.

  1. Purpose
    There is a good chance that you can now conclude which category the cookie belongs to. At cookiedatabase.org we distinguish the following five categories:

  • Functional
    • This includes cookies that only serve a purely functional purpose. Think of saving a chosen language, shopping cart, keeping a message closed, etc.
  • Preferences
  • Statistics
    • These are cookies that are used to collect statistical information for the owner of the website. Think of Google Analytics and Matomo. Do not confuse statistics with tracking for advertising purposes or (extensive) segmentation. For example, a Facebook Pixel does not fall into this category.
  • Statistics (anonymous)
    • This is often difficult to say with certainty, but if it is explicitly clear that the cookie is only used to collect anonymized statistics, you can use this purpose. 
  • Marketing / Tracking In general, most cookies can be categorized as Marketing / Tracking when they can not be placed under other categories. 

Any interesting info
Did you find any interesting information that you can’t put in the default variables? Or has a developer explained very clearly what the cookie does? Leave this as a comment at the bottom of the screen!

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