How do you get cookies in JavaScript?

Understanding JavaScript Cookies with document.cookie

In JavaScript, cookies can be accessed using the document.cookie property. This is the correct way to get or set cookies in JavaScript, compared to window.cookies or location.cookies, which are not valid ways to access cookies.

Cookies are small chunks of data that are stored on the user's machine and are used by web servers to identify users and track their website activity. JavaScript can access these cookies and read or change their values, which is vital for various web functionality, including keeping a user logged in or tracking user preferences.

To read all the cookies from a webpage, you simply need to use the following command:


This will output a string with all cookies, where each key-value pair is separated by semicolons.

If you want to set a cookie, again document.cookie comes into play. Here's an example of how to set a cookie that stores a user's chosen language on a hypothetical website:

document.cookie = "language=en";

With this command, a new cookie named 'language' is created (or updated if it already exists), and its value is set to 'en'.

It's essential to understand that using document.cookie correctly requires following some best practices:

  • When setting cookies, it's a good idea to also set the 'expires' attribute to a date in the future to ensure that the cookie data persists as expected. If 'expires' is not set, the cookie will last only until the browser session ends.
  • Web developers also need to be mindful of privacy regulations, like GDPR in Europe, which can restrict the use of cookies.
  • Since cookies can be seen and modified by users, sensitive information should never be stored in cookies. For that, consider other forms of web storage or server-side sessions.

Understanding the usage of document.cookie can open up many possibilities for improving user experience on a website, and aids in making websites interactive and personalized.

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