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Cookies: What they are and how they work.

A cookie is a file on a web user's hard drive (it's kept in one of the subdirectories under the browser file directory). This is useful for having your browser remember some specific information which the web server can later retrieve.
For example, when you browse through an "online shopping mall" and add items to your "shopping cart" as you browse, a list of the items you've picked up is stored by your browser so that you can pay for all of the items at once when you're finished shopping. It's much more efficient for each browser to keep track of information like this than to expect the web server to have to remember who bought what, especially if there are thousands of people using it the web server at a time.

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