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First-party cookie recipes


Cookies will be first-party or third-party relative to the person’s context; relying on which website the person is on on the time. If the cookie’s registrable area and scheme match the present top-level web page, that’s, what’s displayed within the browser’s tackle bar, the cookie is taken into account to be from the identical website because the web page and it is typically known as a first-party cookie.

Cookies from domains aside from the present website are typically known as third-party cookies.

If the cookie you are setting will not be used throughout websites, for instance, it is used to handle classes in your website and it is by no means utilized in a cross-site iframe, that cookie is all the time utilized in a first-party context.

By default, cookies will be shared throughout websites, accessed by JavaScript, and despatched over HTTP connections, which comes with some privateness and safety dangers. Whereas there’s ongoing work to enhance the default habits, by means of Privateness Sandbox and different proposals comparable to origin-bound cookies, there’s lots you are able to do at this time by setting further attributes in your cookies.

The next configuration is greatest apply, making certain safety and cross-browser compatibility for many first-party cookies. It’ll offer you a protected basis, which you’ll be able to alter to open up permissions solely when obligatory. This text additionally covers recipe variations for some particular use-cases.

The recipe #

Set-Cookie:
__Host-cookie-name=cookie-value;
Safe;
Path=/;
HttpOnly;
Max-Age=7776000;
SameSite=Lax;

Particulars

__Host is an non-obligatory prefix that makes some attributes obligatory and forbids others:

  • Safe have to be current
  • Area have to be omitted
  • Path have to be /

With __Host added, you’ll be able to depend on the browser to test if attributes above are set in keeping with __Host guidelines and reject the cookie if not.

Safe protects cookies from being stolen on insecure networks as a result of it solely permits sending cookies over HTTPS connections. If you have not totally migrated your website to HTTPS, make {that a} precedence.

The Area attribute specifies which hosts can obtain a cookie. Omitting it restricts the cookie to the present doc host, excluding subdomains: the cookie for instance.com can be despatched on each request to instance.com however not on requests to photographs.instance.com. You probably have totally different apps working on totally different subdomains, this reduces the danger of 1 compromised area permitting a door into the others.

Path signifies the trail that should exist within the requested URL for the browser to ship the Cookie header. Setting Path=/ signifies that the cookie is shipped to all URL paths on that area. The mix of no Area and Path=/ makes the cookie certain to the origin as intently as attainable, so it behaves equally to different client-side storage comparable to LocalStorage—there is no confusion that instance.com/a may obtain totally different values to instance.com/b.

The HttpOnly attribute provides some safety in opposition to malicious third-party scripts in your websites by limiting JavaScript entry. It permits a cookie to be despatched solely in request headers and makes them unavailable to JavaScript through doc.cookie.

Max-Age limits the lifetime of a cookie as browser classes can final a fairly very long time and you do not need stale cookies hanging round ceaselessly. It is good for short-term cookies, comparable to person classes and even shorter ones comparable to tokens for type submission. Max-Age is outlined in seconds and within the instance above it is set to 7776000 seconds which is 90 days. This can be a affordable default, which you’ll be able to change relying in your use case.

SameSite=Lax restricts the cookie to solely be despatched on same-site requests. That’s, the place the request matches the present shopping context–the highest degree website the person is at the moment visiting which is displayed of their location bar. SameSite=Lax is the default in trendy browsers but it surely’s good apply to specify it for compatibility throughout browsers which can have totally different defaults. By explicitly marking the cookie as same-site solely, you’re limiting it to your first-party contexts, and you shouldn’t should make modifications to that cookie when third-party cookies go away.

To study extra about totally different cookie attributes, try Set-Cookie documentation on MDN.

You probably have a website with subdomains and wish to have one session throughout all of them, the Host prefix will be too restrictive. For instance information.website may have subdomains for subjects, comparable to finance.information.website and sport.information.website and also you’d need one person session on all of them. In that case, use the __Secure prefix as an alternative of __Host and specify Area.

The recipe #

Set-Cookie:
__Secure-cookie-name=cookie-value;
Safe;
Area=information.website;
Path=/;
HttpOnly;
Max-Age=7776000;
SameSite=Lax;

Particulars

__Secure is an non-obligatory prefix which asserts fewer necessities than __Host: it solely requires that the cookie be set with the Safe attribute.

Whereas SameSite=Lax cookies should not despatched on cross-site subrequests (for instance, when loading embedded photographs or iframes on a third-party website), they’re despatched when a person is navigating to the origin website (for instance, when following a hyperlink from a distinct website).

You possibly can additional limit cookies entry and disallow sending them together with requests initiated from third-party web sites with SameSite=Strict. That is helpful when you’ve got cookies regarding performance that may all the time be behind an preliminary navigation, comparable to altering a password or making a purchase order.

The recipe #

Set-Cookie:
__Host-cookie-name=cookie-value;
Safe;
Path=/;
HttpOnly;
Max-Age=7776000;
SameSite=Strict;

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