What is storage?
Storage is a general term in computing that means keeping data over a period of time. In the context of Web browsers, it has a more specific meaning: Web browsers set aside a limited amount of space on your device, where websites can store data. This is usually called “local storage.” Common uses of local storage are to store your settings for the site (such as your dark mode / light mode preferences) and to save work in progress. Some sites may also use local storage to enable limited offline functionality (such as the ability to continue editing a Google doc, even without a Wi-Fi connection).
How is local storage different from cookies?
Cookies and local storage are both mechanisms by which websites can store data on your device. The main difference is that whenever your browser requests a webpage from a server, it includes all the cookies that server has previously stored along with the request. It doesn’t include anything from local storage. That makes local storage better suited to storing larger amounts of data.
Are there any privacy concerns with local storage?
Local storage can be used for tracking. Websites can store information about your activity in local storage, and retrieve it later to send to a tracking server. They can also store a string of characters, unique to you, so that they can recognize your browser when you visit the site again.
How can I prevent tracking via local storage?
One of the best ways to prevent tracking via local storage is to use a browser, like Brave, that blocks known trackers by default. Another way to mitigate local storage-based tracking is to use your browser’s private mode (Chrome calls this “Incognito”). Any browser’s private mode will clear local storage when you close the private window. That will prevent sites from using local storage to correlate your activity in the private window with activity outside the private window.
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