Are You Using Your WordPress Cookies Plugin Correctly?

Using WordPress cookies plugins correctly is a science in itself. Explore the alternatives to Borlabs and Complianz in this article!

The best way to use WordPress cookie plugins

Patrick Mitter /

29.03.2021


Anyone who claims to know everything about cookie guidelines is either a genius or the complete opposite.

Online law has become highly complex – not least due to the DSGVO (General Data Protection Regulation or “GDPR” in English). As a web creator, however, you have to deal with this issue. After all, in addition to a beautiful design, you must also ensure that you’re using cookies correctly.

This article will explain in more detail what needs to be considered.

To know how to use a WordPress GDPR cookie consent plugin the right way, we first need to understand what guidelines apply in terms of the GDPR.

Disclaimer: This article does not replace legal advice. For more detailed information, please consult a lawyer that specializes in online law.

The Most Important Information about WordPress Cookies Guidelines in Terms of GDPR

Merely stating that your website uses cookies – and that visitors automatically agree to this by using the website – is definitely not enough!

You are obliged to let your visitors choose the use the different cookies. At least for tracking cookies, there must be a voluntary opt-in.

There are four types of cookies:

Essential cookies
External media
Statistics
Marketing

Except for essential cookies, visitors must be able to specify their preferences.

You better take the privacy of your website visitors seriously. Worst case, you could face high fines. For example, the Spanish data protection authority has issued a fine of € 30,000 – because of the incorrect use of a cookie banner – against the budget airline Vueling Airlines.

Of course, many lawyers are already aware of this and regularly issue warnings to German websites that do not yet include a reasonable notice of the use of cookies. Penalty fees of 1,000€ or higher are not uncommon.

As you can see, it can get pretty damn expensive fast if you do something wrong here.

Maybe you can relate to this scenario: You come to a new website for the first time. By default, a notice pops up that allows you to select various cookies. That in itself is a good thing.

However, since you, as a user, are very conscious about the use of your data, you never select “Accept all”, but click on “Save selection”, thinking that technically only the essential cookies are preselected.

Technically!

At this point, the opt-in procedure comes into play. Every user must freely opt-in to the respective cookies for marketing etc. – or simply click “Accept all”.

Greyd Cookie Banner

If all variants are already preselected and the visitors have to uncheck them before they click on Save selection, this is called an opt-out. And that would be the wrong way around!

The European Court of Justice has ruled on this in a case:

“…that the consent required for the storage and retrieval of cookies on a website visitor’s device is not effectively given by a pre-set checkbox that the user must uncheck to refuse consent.”

Source: Press release of the ECJ

Simply put, you must not let visitors choose their preferences. Everyone must decide for themselves.

Now that we’ve talked so much about the policies behind cookies, it’s time for a little practice. So which are the best WordPress cookie plugins, in our opinion?

When someone asks us, in our work as web creators, for a suitable cookie plugin for WordPress, there is only one answer for us: Borlabs Cookie Plugin!

It is the state-of-the-art cookie plugin in terms of GDPR compliance. Unlike many free cookie solutions for WP, Borlabs even offers a video content blocker- which is actually mandatory.

Website Screenshot Borlabs

In terms of price, Borlabs offers 4 different licenses:

Personal: € 39 for 1 website
Business – Medium: € 99 for 5 websites
Agency – Small: € 199 for 25 websites
Agency: € 299 for 99 websites

All licenses continue to receive updates and support for 1 year after purchase. After that, you have to renew your license for further updates and support.

No, Borlabs does not have a free version.

With this plugin, you get what you pay for, and since you’re practically always on the safe side with Borlabs, it should be worth that price to you.

Besides, for professional web designers and agencies that produce new websites on a regular basis, this does not matter anyway.

DSGVO Pixelmate

The WordPress plugin DSGVO Pixelmate is probably the strongest Borlabs Cookie alternative for WordPress. As the name already suggests, it is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Website DSGVO

With DSGVO Pixelmate, you can choose between 4 different price packages:

Single: € 39 for 1 website
Advanced: € 89 for 3 websites
Pro: € 199 for 10 websites
Agency: € 349 for 300 web pages

In a direct price comparison to Borlabs Cookie, this makes DSGVO Pixelmate better or worse depending on which package you buy.

The plugin was co-developed by Sabrina Keese-Haufs, an expert in online law, so you can be sure that you’re on the safe side from a legal perspective.

The huge advantage of the DSGVO Pixelmate plugin is that there is no subscription. You pay for your license once and get free updates and support after that – not just for 1 year, as is the case with Borlabs.

Complianz Plugin

The third great WordPress cookies alert plugin in the bunch is Complianz. It claims to be the only WP cookie tool that covers GDPR, DSGVO, PIPEDA, CCPA and COPPA (which are all different privacy regulations).

Screenshot Complianz Cookie Plugin

From the range of functions Complianz offers you essentially no more than the previously mentioned WP Cookie plugins. By the way, the Complianz Cookie Banner has a very appealing design, but that is of course a matter of taste.

You might think it’s a small disadvantage that the plugin was not developed in Germany, unlike DSGVO Pixelmate.
However, the tool offers you very extensive protection, so you have hardly anything to fear legally.

As you can already imagine, Complianz does not only offer one premium version. There are 3 different packages:

Personal: € 39 for 1 domain
Pro: € 149 for 5 domains
Agency: € 299 for infinite domains

Of course, there are also free WordPress cookie message options available to you in WP’s plugin library.

However, we have to say that premium licenses usually include significantly more options. With a free WordPress plugin for cookies, essential features are often missing and you can never be sure if you have everything covered properly.

CookieYes from WebToffee

The full name of the plugin is CookieYes GDPR Cookie Consent & Compliance Notice, which already indicates that this plugin covers quite a bit.

Screenshot GDPR Plugin

The free version of this cookie policy plugin allows you to add a cookie banner to your WordPress website. The banner informs users that you use cookies. These cookies are only used if the visitor consents.

However, you can’t set any custom preferences with this plugin (at least not in the free version), which is a major drawback.

Also, the free version of CookieYes does not offer you a good content blocker. This means that users can interact with the content of your website even without consent.

That’s not supposed to happen!

Free cookie plugins are an attractive way for newcomers or website operators with a very small budget. But as soon as enough money is available – Borlabs and Co. don’t cost that much money per year – you should invest in a reasonable solution.

So much for WordPress cookie plugins.

But is there a way to manage cookie consent without a plugin?

Of course there is…

Plugins make WP more comprehensive and make your daily work easier. But maybe you, as a web creator, have clients who don’t want to rely on a WordPress plugin for the cookie notice on their website.

Then we have a suitable solution for you.

A good way to add a cookie banner without a WordPress plugin is by using Cookiebot CMP.

Cookiebot CMP (which stands for “Consent Management Platform”) says it automatically detects which cookies and trackers are used on your website.

Screenshot Website Cookiebot

Cookiebot CMP can be implemented on all websites – via a few lines of JavaScript code. Regardless of whether the website is custom coded or uses any content management system. It is a cross-platform cloud service.

The basic version of the tool is free, but does not include the full range of features and is only valid for websites with less than 100 subpages.

If you want to make your cookie management easier with Cookiebot CMP, you can choose between 3 paid licenses:

Premium Small: € 9 monthly per domain for websites with less than 500
Premium Medium: € 21 monthly per domain for websites with less than 5.000
Premium Large: € 37 monthly per domain for websites with more than 5.000

Bottom Line

The topic of the proper use of WordPress cookie plugins and the GDPR has become so complicated that it is almost impossible to manage without professional expertise.

Even this article only scratches the surface. But at least it provides you with the most important information so that you know what matters and what minimum requirements your website must meet.

Comprehensive premium cookie plugins for WordPress are, in a way, like insurance. Yes, they cost money. But in return, you’re on the safe side.


By Patrick Mitter

Patrick loves good texts. Preferably about topics concerning online marketing and WordPress. Having built websites by using well-known page builders on his own and being very experienced in the SEO industry, he is very familiar with any kind of problems regarding those plugins. This is the reason why he adopted Greyd’s mission to simplify work for web designers as well as agencies.

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