By using cookies, you can significantly improve the user experience on your website.However, installing tracking cookies without the user’s explicit consent constitutes a breach Electronic Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC (EU Cookie Law) and can cause many problems with European websites. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your WordPress site complies with EU cookie law.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into cookies, EU cookie law and what it means for your website. We’ll also discuss how WordPress integration can easily help take the hassle and guesswork out of compliance. Let’s dive in!

What are cookies?

First let’s understand what a cookie is. When it comes to websites, “cookies” aren’t the traditional gooey stuff you’re used to — rather, they’re information files stored in your browser that contain data specific to website visitors. They contain information about your experience using the website. For example, cookies may retain a user’s search history, remember login details, or recommend products based on previous purchases.

How are cookies used in WordPress?

and WordPress Cookies Primarily used to log you into websites. Currently, WordPress stores a cookie at login to verify/store your authentication (for backend/admin panel), another cookie to indicate that your specific user account is logged in, and some other cookies to personalize the admin panel (even the main website) interface appears in front of you. Cookies are also stored when users leave comments.

Depending on the plugins installed or third-party services used, there may be more cookies on your website. For example, if you’ve added a push notification plugin, or you’re using Google Adsense, there are at least a few more cookies on your site that you should be aware of.

How this applies to you

Based on the information above, it’s safe to assume that everyone who uses WordPress is also using cookies. The important part here is to disclose to your readers that you are using them. Currently in the United States, it is sufficient to inform visitors of your use of cookies and their purpose in your privacy policy (although there are state laws that may require more detailed information). But for European-based sites (and those targeting the European market), the rules are a bit stricter.

What is EU Cookie Law?

Since cookies may capture private user information (eg if they are used for tracking), EU cookie law was enacted to ensure that these details are only available with the user’s consent. Although there are certain types of cookies not bound by law, in most cases, if you’re using them on your own website, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Let your users know that cookies are in use
  • Tell your users what the cookie is for
  • Provide users with the option to opt-in or opt-out of cookie tracking

You need to do this before your visitors start using your website. Failure to comply with EU cookie laws can result in fines, not to mention loss of user trust (which can be devastating if you use the site for business).

Before you start panicking, you should know that making your WordPress site compliant with EU cookie law is not difficult. In fact, it’s easy.

How to Make Your WordPress Site Compliant with EU Cookie Law

There are three steps you need to follow in order to make your WordPress site compliant with EU cookie law. We’ll go through each one in turn.Along the way, we’ll also cover how Order Cookie Solutions Plugin can help with this process.

Cookie compliance can be broken down into 3 main steps: privacy/cookie policy, visible notice on your website and user consent. If you’re a developer, you’ll probably create a simple cookie popup yourself, but for most people, plugins make this much easier.

LuckyWP Cookie Notification Plugin

One option is to simply create your own privacy policy and then use a free plugin to add a cookie notice to your website, e.g. Lucky WP Cookie Notification.

Order Cookie Solutions Plugin

Another is to use a policy generator and cookie notification, e.g. Order Cookie Solutions. With this plugin you can easily link to your cookie policy from a prominent banner on your website. Once users are directed to the policy, they can read through the instructions on how to manage their cookie preferences and grant or deny their use.You can choose to link to your own previously created cookie policy, or use Privacy and cookie policy generator for Iubenda. What’s more, the plugin automatically blocks cookies before obtaining user consent.

Either of these plugins is a step in the right direction to make your WordPress site compliant with EU cookie law.

Step 1: Create a Cookie Policy

Order a WordPress plugin

Your policy document (or “extended notice”) should fully detail your website’s use of cookies. In order to comply with the law, this document shall include the following points.

  • A statement that clearly informs users that your website is using cookies
  • What is a cookie explained
  • Description of what cookies are used (by you and/or third parties)
  • A clear overview of how and why you (and/or third parties) use cookies
  • and explain how users can opt out of having cookies placed on their devices

It is necessary to create a cookie policy to address these issues. WordPress just happens to make this very easy.Just use the built-in privacy policy template below Settings > Privacy. Simply edit the template to include information (and cookies) relevant to your website.

Alternatively, you can use a service like Iubenda to generate your policy.To do this, you first need to create an account, choose a pan (don’t worry – they offer a free lite plan), and follow some simple steps Generate your strategy. After you set up your policy, you will receive a code. Make sure to keep this code handy as you will need it to add your privacy policy to your WordPress site.

Step 2: Place a consent banner on your website

With your privacy policy ready, you now need to add a consent banner (or brief notice) to your website. This should be highlighted so that the first information users see when they visit your website. Important information included here is a notice that your website does use cookies and a link to your policy.

LuckyWP Cookie Notification Bar

If you create your own privacy policy page, you can use any basic cookie notification plugin Add a simple statement (with a link) to your homepage.A good option is LuckyWP Cookie Notice. The plugin includes simple options to add a cookie usage disclaimer, accept/reject buttons, read more link (to your privacy policy), accept expiration and include the ability to add scripts on the page after user consent.

If you have used Iubenda, you will need to add your cookie policy and consent banner to your website using their free cookie solution plugin. After installing and activating the plugin, a new tab should appear in the dashboard, labeled Iubenda. You need to enter your Iubenda code in step 1 in order to add the cookie policy and banner to your website.

Link to your iubenda policy

You can also choose to configure several settings for the cookie banner. You can choose whether you want it to appear in the header or footer, and even block certain scripts automatically.

Configure the promise cookie banner settings

After making your selection, click save Changes.

Order Cookie Solutions

The policy for your banner and its link will now be displayed on your website!

Step 3: Allow user consent

As we mentioned before, when you make your WordPress site compliant with EU cookie law, you need to give users the opportunity to accept or reject the use of cookies. You need to block all scripts that install cookies if the user has not actively given consent. This should trigger if the visitor rejects the cookie, or doesn’t select the “I accept” option at all.

Fortunately, most cookie consent/notification plugins offer this functionality, and the Iubenda Cookie Solutions plugin is no will Automatically detect and block scripts Associated with cookies (including scripts from Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) and enables you to manually block other resources as you see fit.

in conclusion

User privacy is one of the biggest security concerns so far in 2018. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure your cookie policies and notices are impeccable. Fortunately, plugins like LuckyWP Cookie Notice and Iubenda make this task easier for WordPress.

Do you have any questions about compliance with EU cookie law? Or how to make your WordPress site compliant with EU cookie law? Let us know in the comments section below!