Privacy and Cookies

The settings in Tools > Preferences > Advanced > Network and Tools > Preferences > Advanced > Cookies determine how Web servers handle and monitor your net activities.

Referrer logging

Some Web sites register the site that referred you to them. This information can be used to control content by delivering documents that have some bearing on the site that you came from. If you prefer not to allow a Web site to know where you were before visiting it, especially if you were on a local, secure, or restricted site, disable this option. Note, however, that some sites depend on referrer logging internally.

Enable automatic redirection

Sometimes a site might redirect your browser to a different URL, often because the site has moved. Leaving this option enabled does not constitute a big security risk, but turn it off if you want complete control of what sites you visit.

What are cookies?

Cookies are: Strings of text, pieces of information stored in files, that Web servers store on your computer when you are browsing. These files let the same servers recognize your computer the next time you visit their sites.

Cookies are not: Viruses. They cannot cause direct damage to your computer system in any way, but they can record your browsing habits in intrusive manners and trace your movements across different Web sites.

Some sites use cookies to store your user name, which means, for example, that for 10 hours after you log in with your password, you will not have to retype your password when you check your e-mail. This is a convenience, but it can also be a security hazard if others have access to the computer you are using.

Another use of cookies is to store information about the pages in a site that you have visited previously. This allows a Web site to customize itself with fresh content, rather than showing you the old material, and to present you with content you might be interested in based on what you have already viewed on the site.

Note that the "Use cookies to trace password-protected pages" option in the privacy preferences does not affect Internet activity, it merely uses the cookies saved to remove password-protected pages from your cache, and is thus mainly of interest if you are using Opera with a shared user account.

Invalid cookies

There are types of cookies that Opera will refuse regardless of whether you have set the browser up to handle all cookies. These are cookies set for top-level domains: domains ending in .com, .net, and .org, among others. Such cookies are considered invalid or illegal and are blocked because:

  • Any Web site could read such a cookie's contents, it would have unlimited access.
  • The only use for such cookies is to track surfers across the Web.

Opera will not let you accept these cookies.

Configuring cookie settings

Opera allows for a wide range of cookie setups. You can allow all cookies to be stored on your computer. You can refuse all cookies to be stored. Or, you can selectively allow certain cookies and certain types of cookies.

Your first option is whether to enable cookies at all. Note that you may have difficulties logging on to a significant amount of Web sites if you leave this unchecked.

The next step is deciding which cookies to accept and which to refuse. You can choose to allow only cookies that are set by the Web site you are visiting, not by any other sites whose content is displayed in frames or via images on the current page. You can choose to be prompted every time you receive a cookie, and to delete all new cookies when exiting Opera.

Managing cookies

Clicking "Manage cookies" takes you to your Server Manager, which lists all the domains you currently have cookies from. You can add new domains, delete the domains you do not wish to keep cookies from and edit cookie settings specifically for each server.

These cookie settings are also available on any site, using site preferences; Tools > Quick preferences > Edit site preferences.

More information

For more information, we recommend our security, privacy and cookies page.