Using a cookie-free domain helps save on bandwidth and lessens the amount of time needed for requests to load. Overall, it helps improve website performance, which has a cascading effect on search engine optimization (SEO).
Read More about a “Cookie-Free Domain”
When you’re in a coffee shop, and you order a cappuccino, while your friend orders one shot of espresso, who do you think will get served first? Chances are your cappuccino will take longer to prepare since the barista has to add milk and milk foam to it. And that doesn’t include the fact that making cappuccinos is an art.
Using cookie-free domains is like ordering an espresso—no-frills, just straight-up coffee. It’s served faster than a cappuccino, just as domains that store HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) cookies take longer to load.
What Are HTTP Cookies?
HTTP cookies refer to text files stored on a user’s computer where data about his or her web browser activities get stored. These cookies carry information about the user’s activities on a website, such as the pages he or she visited and if he or she logged in.
A regular domain name like yahoo[.]com sends HTTP cookies along with user requests for videos, images, or any content. However, there are instances where cookies are not necessary. In fact, website visitors have the option to accept cookies or not.
A basic understanding of HTTP cookies is essential to understand how cookie-free domains work.
How Does a Cookie-Free Domain Work?
To serve static content, HTTP cookies aren’t needed, so sending them along with a user’s request would only take up unnecessary bandwidth. For this reason, website owners use cookie-free domains to host static content, such as Yahoo’s yimg[.]com.
When you visit yahoo[.]com, the logo above is among the first items you will see. If the logo wasn’t hosted on a cookie-free domain, it is possible for it to take a while to load. That would result in a blank space instead of a logo, which could affect the web page’s overall look and performance.
Advantages of Using Cookie-Free Domains
Website owners find that using cookie-free domains for their static content has several benefits. For one, it reduces network traffic, as there are no unnecessary cookies included in requests. Using cookie-free domains also makes static content load fast, thereby improving website performance.
It’s important to note that faster load times are good for SEO, as they improve customer experience. As such, you may find that configuring cookie-free domains is among the tips to improve SEO. The video below shows one example.
Ways to Use Cookie-Free Domains
There are primarily two options in employing cookie-free domains on your website. You can create a separate cookie-free domain or use a content delivery network (CDN). In platforms like WordPress, for instance, you can create a subdomain (static[.]example[.]com) and redirect all your static content to it.
In other instances, you may need to purchase a separate domain name dedicated to your website’s static content. Alternatively, you may explore a feature of most CDNs that allow you to ignore cookies. When this feature is enabled, browsers will not receive cookie response headers.
From an end-user perspective, cookie-free domains may not be relatable. However, when you experience faster load times on websites that may have been slow in the past, one of the reasons for that is the use of cookie-free domains.