The 3 Best Cookie Consent Plugins for WordPress

If you have a WordPress website you’re probably looking for the best cookie consent plugins for WordPress.

Cookies are small text files that websites store on your computer when you visit them. They’re used for lots of different reasons, including keeping track of your shopping cart while you browse, remembering your preferences, and tracking how often you visit a website.

What are cookies?

A cookie is a small text file stored in your browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome etc.) to help remember things like your preferences, shopping basket data and more. The data that they store is anonymous, but they are used to create a better user experience for visitors to websites.

To comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) your website should make it clear to visitors from the EU that your site uses cookies (if it does), how they’re used and how to disable cookies if they decide that they don’t want cookies stored in their browsers.

Why do we need cookies?

Cookies are used to store small amounts of data on your computer while you’re browsing the internet. They’re also used to personalize your online experience. For example, when you visit a website, the site will use cookies to recognize you as a returning visitor. If you’ve visited the site before, the site will display personalized content based on your previous visits.

Why do you need a cookie consent plugin?

EU data laws dictate that website users must give confirmed consent before cookies are added to their browser.

So you need to tell your visitors that your site uses cookies, explain what cookies are and what they are used for, and then get consent before they are used on the visitor’s site.

A WordPress cookie policy plugin will help you do this.

What to look for in a WordPress cookie policy plugin?

When I’m looking for any new plugin I look at 3 sets of criteria, which are how many current active installs there are, how recently the plugin has been updated and it’s star rating.

A high number of active installations means that a lot of people have it installed and are using it (otherwise they’d deactivate and uninstall it).

How recently a plugin has been updated is very important. If it’s being regularly updated it means that if any security problems come to light they’ll be fixed pretty soon.

In my experience, people tend to leave reviews of stuff they loved or hated. I’ve never left a review for something I thought was just ok. Unless a plugin has a 4+ star rating I’m generally not interested.

Now we’ve chatted about how to choose plugins in general lets get to the good stuff.

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The 3 Best Cookie Consent Plugins for WordPress

Cookie Notice

This is the cookie consent plugin that I used to use. It’s really easy to set up. You can write your own message and I was able to set up a button to take users to my own cookie policy. You can also add a button to let site visitors refuse to accept cookies.

There are a few design options too, like where you want the banner to display (top or bottom of the screen), the background colour and text colour of the bar, as well as the button design.

For me it’s a pretty good plugin, it does the job it needs to and lets you customise it enough so it fits in with your site.

GDPR Cookie Consent Banner

If you’re looking for a super-customisable plugin, this is the one for you. You can choose how your users close the popup, either on click, on scroll or timed. My personal preference is for on click so that you know your visitor has actively chosen to close and therefore accept. This isn’t gospel, just what I prefer.

If you want to install another plugin you can choose to display the cookie notice to certain parts of the world only.

You then have the message and button settings are pretty similar to Cookie Notice, so there’s nothing to choose between them in that department.

It’s the style settings that really set Cookie Consent apart from Cookie Notice. You can choose whether or not you want it to display as a banner across the screen, or whether you prefer a square box to appear in any corner of the screen instead. There are also a load of button customisation options from text colour to drop shadow.

Another feature of this plugin is that you can change the settings in the WordPress general customiser, so you can preview your style changes as you make them.

Personally, I think this plugin is a bit overkill. Yes having more control on how it looks and where the notice is displayed on screen is nice, but do you really need it? I can’t say I’ve ever come away from a site either loving or hating it because of the cookie notice.

GDPR Cookie Consent & Compliance Notice

So this WordPress cookie policy plugin is the new kid on the block which has replaced another entry on the original list and I must say, I’m impressed.

Not only does it have the customisation options of the other two, but it also comes with a policy generator and allows you to set non-necessary cookie settings area for you to manually include code to enable non-necessary cookies (e.g. Google analytics) only if visitors consent to them.

The customisation options for the cookie bar and buttons are presented really clearly.

The bar’s behaviour and colour settings are split into 2 tabs, and then there’s a 3rd tab for the buttons.

A really neat feature is that you can set it to display a little tab at the bottom of the screen when visitors have clicked to accept or reject cookies, which means that you could get away with not manually adding links to your cookie and privacy policies elsewhere on your site, if you didn’t want to.

There’s a place for you to list all the cookies used on your website, for that list to then be used in the cookie policy generator. You can also add custom code to the non-necessary cookie tab to enable non-necessary cookies only if your visitors consent to your site using them.

The 3 Best Cookie Consent Plugins for WordPress: Verdict

Up until I updated this post Cookie Notice was the winner by a mile however, since I’ve come across GDPR Cookie Consent, I think there’s a real contender for that crown.

The way that everything’s separated into separate tabs when it comes to setting fonts and colours really appeals to me. I’m a sucker for a clean, uncluttered layout.

Then there’s the cookie policy generator. This uses the screen where you can actually list the cookies used by your site .

And then there’s the non-necessary cookie settings which you can switch on or off as well.

So far I’ve only played with it on my demo site and I’m actually dying to give it a go on my main site and testing out the non-necessary cookie feature to see how it goes.

If you’re looking for a solid, does what it says on the tin, kind of option — then go for Cookie Notice. It’s the plugin I’ve always used, up to now, so I know it’ll do you a good job.

Like I said earlier, if how your cookie message looks is really important to you then go for Cookie Consent. That’s where you’ll get the most options to change colours and buttons etc. It doesn’t really float my boat but if everyone was like me, the world would be a pretty boring place.

Do you use any of these WordPress cookie policy plugins? Are there any others that you think should get a mention when it comes to the best cookie consent plugins for WordPress? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think.

You may also enjoy:

9 tremendous WordPress plugins for business

3 powerful WordPress plugins for security

The 5 best WordPress plugins for SEO

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Kim Scotland | Web Designer

Kim Scotland | Web Designer

I am a web designer for purpose driven, service based small businesses. Visit kimscotland.com to see how I can help you.