FAQ

Go through the most frequently asked questions about Cookie Law Info.

Plugin

Most frequent questions and answers

If the header doesn’t show, it is nearly always your theme.

Step 1: diagnose the error

  • Check that the banner is actually supposed to be showing in the first place!
    • On the list of plugins, is the plugin activated?
    • Are you an admin user? If you aren’t, you won’t see Cookie Law Info.
    • In the plugin settings, can you see that the banner is switched on?
    • If all else fails, can you see the folder “cookie-law-info” in the plugins folder via FTP?
  • 90% of the time it’s a theme error:
    • Go to your homepage
    • Right click / view source
    • Search for “cookie-law-info.css” – if you can’t find this then you are missing wp_head() and must to fix that
    • Search for “cli_show_cookiebar” – if you can’t find this, then you are missing wp_footer() and must fix that
  • Most other errors are because you forgot to refresh your server side cache
    • Using WP Super Cache, WP Total Cache, Cloudflare or does your host (e.g. MediaTemple) provide server-side caching? Refresh that.
  • Still an error?
    • Open your JavaScript console (in Google Chrome, open Developer Tools / Console)
    • If you are a developer, you will immediately see what the issue is. If not, note them down.
    • The error is probably still your theme:
      • Are there hard coded scripts? (themes are sometimes guilty of this)
      • How many times have you declared jQuery? (this is also VERY common)

Step 2: fix the error

  • This step doesn’t really require too much explanation…

Otherwise try:

  • De-activate the plugin then re-activate it
  • Uninstall the plugin then re-install it (N.B. uninstalling will delete your settings)
  • If all else fails then please report a bug on the support forum – so far most bugs have been fixed within a day

This is not an issue with the Cookie Law Info plugin. You are not using a meta description on the page.

A plugin like Yoast WordPress SEO let’s you do this but you must correctly configure it. The meta description will appear in the google search results.

Yes.

Add custom CSS to your theme or child theme’s style.css:

#cookie-law-info-bar { background: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5) !important; }

If you use WordPress then yes, because WordPress requires cookies to work properly. If your website has plugins, then it gets a little more complicated but you can find out if your website uses cookies by following this guide to audit your website for cookies.

This plugin will:

– Add a banner to the header or footer of all pages on your website, notifying the visitor that you have a clearly defined privacy and cookie policy.

– Allow you to record which cookies your site uses, and:

– Neatly display a list of these cookies (via a shortcode). You can put this list on your Privacy & Cookie Policy page, for example.

No, and neither does any other WordPress plugin.

Be aware that despite what you may believe, it is not currently technically possible to automatically block all cookies on your WordPress website without first updating every single plugin that use cookies in some way. Even if you did this once, as soon as you made even ONE update to a plugin, theme or the WordPress core, you would need to check this again and make all those changes over again. That would require a lot of very manual effort which would be custom to each and every website, so is beyond the scope of any single plugin.

A more realistic approach for WordPress website owners is to use what is called “implied consent”. This should be a clear message in a prominent place on your website e.g. the header or footer, and should explain that your website uses cookies and provide a link to read more about that. This plugin can be used to highlight your compliance status and use of cookies in exactly this way.

A future version of Cookie Law Info might block some cookies, but for the time being (May 2015) we believe that it’s a false sense of security to offer this feature, as any plugin might be setting cookies without you knowing.

Beware plugins that say they block cookies- none of the plugins tested so far, even the ones that provide “blocking code” can actually live up to that claim!

Cookie Law Info version 1.3.2 can be translated using WPML and qTranslate-x.

In the near future, support will be added for polylang and qTranslate.

For instructions on how to use WPML and qTranslate-x, please see the respective plugin pages- we do not own those plugins so do not provide that level of support for them. The plugin authors are really great though, and will be very pleased to help you 🙂

Yes.

Add custom CSS to your theme or child theme’s style.css:

#cookie-law-info-bar { position: fixed; }

If you have entered your Privacy and Cookies Policy URL but click on it and get a 404 error, you probably have an issue with your permalinks. Follow these steps to fix it:

  1. In the WordPress dashboard, go to Settings / Permalinks – don’t change anything, just click “save”
  2. In the WordPress dashboard, open the cookie policy page that you with to link to
  3. Click “view post” and copy the URL of the cookie policy page
  4. Do you get a 404 error?
    • If the answer is yes: the issue is not the plugin, the issue is that the page you created cannot be found (do you really have the correct URL?) – stop and fix the URL issue first
    • If the answer is no: continue to step 5
  5. Go to Cookie Law Info settings and enter the URL into the “read more URL” setting and save
  6. Refresh any server-side cache you have e.g. WP Total Cache, Super Cache, Cloudflare, etc
  7. Test it again: it should now work

If you still have an issue please post a support topic in the wordpress.org forum – remember to post the URL to your Privacy and Cookie Policy, I won’t be able to help you unless you tell me that.

No. As a generic plugin there’s no way we can know anything about your specific circumstances. It can be used as part of an overall plan of action to comply, but just installing it and doing nothing more does nothing to help you.

In all cases, you need to assess your own website’s use of cookies and decide an appropriate course of action, you’ll need to update the plugin to link to your Privacy and Cookie Policy page but ultimately it is you the website owner who takes responsibility for meeting the privacy law requirements.

If you are looking for specialist legal advice relating to your website you should always consult a lawyer.

Cookie Law Info is a WordPress plugin, it currently is only available for that platform. Your theme MUST use the following hooks: wp_footer, wp_header. Your visitors must have JavaScript enabled in the browser else they won’t see the header.

If you are a developer you can use the debug code routines that are included. Note this is NOT RECOMMENDED unless you are a developer. In all cases you will have to switch off debug mode once done!

Debug mode must be manually switched on (and importantly- then back off again!). In cookie-law-info.php switch

1
define ( 'CLI_PLUGIN_DEVELOPMENT_MODE', false );

To:

1
define ( 'CLI_PLUGIN_DEVELOPMENT_MODE', true );

Then on your website change your URL to be: “http://change-this-to-your-URL.com/?cli-debug=all”. There are options to debug the HTML (cli-debug=html), JSON (cli-debug=json) or both (cli-debug=all).

You can now pick through the settings to see if the code is being output correctly from the plugin.

To switch off debug mode, make sure you have CLI_PLUGIN_DEVELOPMENT_MODE in false:

1
define ( 'CLI_PLUGIN_DEVELOPMENT_MODE', false );

If you have the cookie bar set up to show in the header AND you are logged into WordPress, then the show again tab might be hiding under the WordPress admin bar. You can check to confirm that it’s working by temporarily setting the cookie bar to show in the footer as the “show again” tab won’t be hidden by the admin menu.

For non-logged in users of your website they will see the tab.

No- there is no point in doing so.

This plugin doesn’t keep track of who accepts or not. It uses implied consent to notify users that your website uses cookies. The EU ePrivacy directive is not just about cookies it’s about privacy, in particular it’s about notifying users of how you might be tracking them.

The reason it doesn’t keep track is two fold:

What exactly will you do with the information once you store it? Let’s say a visitor ‘accepts’ – you could track their IP address, but you’re not going to ask their name, address, etc and you’re clearly never ever going to insist they tell you that information before they are allowed to use your website. So perhaps you could record that on a specific date+time, IP address x.x.x.x clicked accept. Do you also store the IP of those who don’t do anything? If they don’t do anything what does that mean? If a visitor tells you some time later that they didn’t accept, how do you prove that they did/didn’t? You can’t do that from their IP address unless you know what it was- there is no reliable/verifiable way of knowing (think e.g. mobile access, office access, home access, etc- all different IP addresses).

In any event, you are simply telling the visitor that your site uses cookies, the ‘accept’ button dismisses the banner, they continue to use the site.

The UK implemented this law over 3 years ago and many raised these issues about the stupidity of the law. In practice implied consent is widely used including by large businesses, advisory consultancies, law firms, government agencies, and so on. A similar approach is used by many other EU member states. I’m not a lawyer so I can’t give you legal advice but this is the solution I believe to be the best and is a widely adopted approach.

Cookie Law

Most frequent questions and answers

If you use WordPress then yes, because WordPress requires cookies to work properly. If your website has plugins, then it gets a little more complicated but you can find out if your website uses cookies by following this guide to audit your website for cookies.

No. As a generic plugin there’s no way we can know anything about your specific circumstances. It can be used as part of an overall plan of action to comply, but just installing it and doing nothing more does nothing to help you.

In all cases, you need to assess your own website’s use of cookies and decide an appropriate course of action, you’ll need to update the plugin to link to your Privacy and Cookie Policy page but ultimately it is you the website owner who takes responsibility for meeting the privacy law requirements.

If you are looking for specialist legal advice relating to your website you should always consult a lawyer.

More correctly, this is called the ‘EU e-Privacy Directive’. Popular media refers to it as the ‘EU Cookie Law’.

Under EU privacy regulations, websites must make it clear to visitors what information about them is being stored. This specifically includes cookies. Even if cookies do not store information identifying an individual, you must still provide your visitor with information on what is being stored, by whom, what for, and so on.

Certain cookies are exempt from this- those deemed to be “strictly necessary” (e.g. WordPress stores session cookies for authentication, without these it wouldn’t work) however cookies stored by analytics software like Google Analytics do not fall into this category.

In short, no, although there is a great deal of ambiguity and misinformation around this law.

What the law really gets at is privacy, not just cookies. The UK government, for example, use a version of what is called “implied consent” on their own websites, which is a similar technique to what this plugin does.

Online Marketing experts Econsultancy provide their perspective on this interpretation. This plugin follows the same approach.

Further reading:

  1. UK Cabinet Office approach
  2. Econsultancy’s solution

No- there is no point in doing so.

This plugin doesn’t keep track of who accepts or not. It uses implied consent to notify users that your website uses cookies. The EU ePrivacy directive is not just about cookies it’s about privacy, in particular it’s about notifying users of how you might be tracking them.

The reason it doesn’t keep track is two fold:

What exactly will you do with the information once you store it? Let’s say a visitor ‘accepts’ – you could track their IP address, but you’re not going to ask their name, address, etc and you’re clearly never ever going to insist they tell you that information before they are allowed to use your website. So perhaps you could record that on a specific date+time, IP address x.x.x.x clicked accept. Do you also store the IP of those who don’t do anything? If they don’t do anything what does that mean? If a visitor tells you some time later that they didn’t accept, how do you prove that they did/didn’t? You can’t do that from their IP address unless you know what it was- there is no reliable/verifiable way of knowing (think e.g. mobile access, office access, home access, etc- all different IP addresses).

In any event, you are simply telling the visitor that your site uses cookies, the ‘accept’ button dismisses the banner, they continue to use the site.

The UK implemented this law over 3 years ago and many raised these issues about the stupidity of the law. In practice implied consent is widely used including by large businesses, advisory consultancies, law firms, government agencies, and so on. A similar approach is used by many other EU member states. I’m not a lawyer so I can’t give you legal advice but this is the solution I believe to be the best and is a widely adopted approach.