With GDPR in effect for quite some time now, almost all websites receiving visitors from the European Union must comply to that regulative. One aspect of the GDPR regulative enforces website owners to allow visitors to accept or reject cookies from their site. The common practice to display a Cookie consent notice when visitors visit the website for the first time. The simplest way to display a Cookie notice is using a WordPress cookies plugin. Therefore, we tested and reviewed the best WP GDPR compliance plugins available in 2020.
What are Cookies & how does a website generate Cookies?
A Cookie is a small text file that a website sends to it’s visitor computer. The visitor’s browser sends it back each time the visitor returns to the website. Cookies contain info such as visitor’s IP address, location, language, browser preferences, etc. Some Cookies are used to make a website and all it’s functions work properly, some are used to analyze traffic and performance, while some are used for advertising purposes.
Depending on their purpose, those are most common types of Cookies:
- necessary cookies: generated by the website (first party)
- functionality cookies: generated by the website (first party)
- performance analytics cookies: generated by other sources such as Google Analytics (third party)
- advertising cookies: generated by other sources such as Google Adsense (third party)
How we performed our WordPress cookies plugin test
Among a dozen WordPress Cookies plugins available in the Plugins repository we selected those with most active installations. We made a comparison of three most popular WP GDPR compliance plugins with the following criteria:
- ease of setting up
- basic and advanced functionality
- visual appearance
- impact on website loading speed
All tested Cookies plugins are great products and they work well. There are some differences between the plugins which could influence on your choice. Read our review carefully before you decide which plugin suits your project needs the best.
Cookie Notice for GDPR
Not many WordPress plugins have more than a million active installations but Cookie Notice for GDPR by dFactory is one of those. Furthermore it has an 5.0 average vote among more than 1400 developers. The plugin gets regularly updated and it’s compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
Cookie Notice for GDPR is a great all around Cookie Notice for GDPR, suitable in most situations. It doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to set it up. The plugin’s settings page is located within WordPress Dashboard Settings menu. Most of the options are straight forward, so it won’t be a problem for less experienced users to set the Cookie notice up. The Cookie notice text is customizable, same as the accept and reject buttons. There’s also the possibility for the visitors to revoke the given consent. Script blocking options allows site owners to choose which scripts won’t be executed before the visitor accept the Cookies. Setting up Script blocking requires some level of developing experience. You can set up Cookie expiry time, which defines for how long the Cookie notice won’t show again up to returning visitors. Acceptance on scroll is a nice feature that closes the Cookie notice after the visitor start scrolling the page assuming that the visitor accept cookies. Just make sure to inform the visitor about it in the Cookie notice message.
The Cookie notice bar’s visual appearance is discrete, and there are not many styling possibilities. You can choose the background and text color, the look of the buttons and the position of the Cookie notice. There’s also an option to add animation (slide, fade) to the bar. The lack of styling options won’t be a problem for experienced developers with good knowledge of CSS though.
Cookie Notice for GDPR plugin generates only 2 server requests, which is considered quite lightweight and it won’t impact the website loading speed significatnly.
- simple set up of basic options
- options to reject and revoke third party cookies
- script blocking
- acceptance on scroll
- Cookie expiry time
- very lightweight
- discrete visual appearance
- basic styling preferences only
GDPR Cookie Consent
GDPR Cookie Consent by WebToffee is currently the second most popular WordPress cookies plugin. It has impressive 600.000 active installations and an 4.5 average vote. The plugin is compatible with the latest version of WordPress and frequently updated.
GDPR Cookie Consent displayed as a popup on an overlay that disables page scrolling untill Cookies are accepted.
From the visual standpoint, GDPR Cookie Consent has a very nice appearance, which can be slightly customized. There’s even a couple of most popular fonts to chose from. The Cookie notice can be display as a animated bar (banner) on top or bottom of the screen, as a floating box in one of the screen corners or as a popup box. The only downside we noticed is that the plugin generates 5 server requests which could slightly affect the website loading speed.
- nice default visual appearance
- banner, box or popup display modes
- Cookie types description
- on scroll or timed acceptance
- script blocking
- Cookie settings for visitors
- detailed setting up takes some time
- advanced set up options need some experience
- moderately lightweight
GDPR Cookie Consent Banner
Last but not the least in our WP GDPR compliance plugins test is GDPR Cookie Consent Banner by Termly. 200.000 active installations and an 4.5 average vote puts it among the most poular WordPress cookies plugins in 2020. Not as frequently updated as some competitors, but still works well in the latest WP version.
GDPR Cookie Consent Banner is the simplest cookie notice plugin we tested, therefore it’s setup is pretty quick. It doesn’t come with a lot of preferences, but it has a couple of unique handy options. In the standard set of options there’s on scroll or timed acceptance, cookie expiry timer, customizable notice and button text plus a couple of visual settings. There is no option to reject Cookies or revoke the consent. GDPR Cookie Consent Banner has no script blocking option either. This Cookies plugin’s specific option is the possibility to display the notification only on selected pages or posts. Another specific option is to disable the notification for selected regions (continents). This way you can display the cookie notice only for regions where privacy protection laws are in effect.
The default visual appearance is decent, except for a rather big font size which can’t be customized directly in settings. The cookies notice can be displayed as a banner on top or bottom of the screen, or as a floating box in one of the screen corners.
Except for the lack of the reject button and non customizable font size, we haven’t found any significant downsides. With only 2 generated server requests this plugin won’t affect your website loading speed significantly.
- simple setup
- banner or floating box display modes
- on scroll or timed acceptance
- Cookie expiry timer
- display Cookie notice only on selected posts/pages or selected world regions
- very lightweight
- no reject button
- no script blocking
- a bit too large, non adjustable font size
Conclusion: What’s the best WordPress cookies plugin in 2020?
As in most plugin reviews we’ve done, it’s not easy to declare an overall winner. Each tested WordPress cookies plugin will be a good choice for each specific project. To simplify your choice of a WP GDPR compliance plugin that will suit your needs the best, we created the following guidelines:
- Cookie Notice for GDPR: Best all around plugin with a bit discrete appearance. Good choice both for unexperienced and experienced users.
- GDPR Cookie Consent: Best looking plugin with extensive options. Less lightweight than the competitors, to consider if loading speed matters.
- GDPR Cookie Consent Banner: Simplest plugin easy to set up. Good choice for non coders and less experienced users.