Skip to main content

Database Access: Cookies, Filters, and Firewalls


When you try to log in from off campus, you get a page that starts, "This is cookie.htm from the docs subdirectory."

This message indicates that the security settings on your computer are too high. In order to access the Library's databases, you need to set your browser to accept cookies.

Turn on cookies in your Windows browser

Google Chrome

  1. Select the Chrome menu icon Menu.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Near the bottom of the page, select Show advanced settings.
  4. In the "Privacy" section, select Content settings.
  5. Select Allow local data to be set (recommended).
  6. Select Done

Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10

  1. In Internet Explorer, select the Tools button, and then select Internet options
  2. Select the Privacy tab, and under Settings, select Advanced and choose if you want to allow first and third party cookies

Internet Explorer (earlier versions)

  1. In Internet Explorer, select the Tools button, and then select Internet options
  2. Select the Privacy tab, and under Settings, move the slider to the middle for Medium and then select OK

Firefox (Note: Cookies are enabled by default in Firefox)

  1. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose Options
  2. Select the Privacy panel
  3. Set Firefox will: to Use custom settings for history
  4. Check mark Accept cookies from sites to enable cookies
  5. Make sure Accept third party cookies is also not set to Never
  6. Choose how long cookies are allowed to be stored:
    • Keep until:
      • they expire: Each cookie will be removed when it reaches its expiration date, which is set by the site that sent the cookie
      • I close Firefox: The cookies that are stored on your computer will be removed when Firefox is closed
  7. Close the about:preferences page. Any changes you've made will automatically be saved

Turn on cookies in your iOS browser (iPad, iPad, iPhone)

Safari iOS 8 or later

  1. Tap Settings > Safari > Block Cookies
  2. Choose one of the following: Allow from Current Websites Only, Allow from Websites I Visit, or Always Allow.

Safari iOS 7 or earlier

  1. Tap Settings > Safari > Block Cookies
  2. Choose From third parties and advertisers, or Always. 


Sometimes, even when cookies are turned on in the browser, a cookie cannot be written to the computer. Some operating systems and some internet service providers have filters and blocking software that could affect cookies. If you do not see a place to turn these off, consult the documentation for your operating system or contact your internet service provider for help.


Another possible issue is a strong firewall. To see if this is the problem:

  1. If necessary, consult the firewall documentation to see how to turn it off
  2. Temporarily turn off the firewall
  3. Try to access a database. If successful, the authentication cookie will be written.
  4. Turn the firewall back on
  5. Do not close the browser window until you are done with your research. You can access other databases in that window if needed.

Sometimes the Windows firewall is turned on and you are not aware of it. If you have another firewall installed, you can turn off the Windows one:

Windows 10 and 8

  1. On Start, go to Windows System > Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Firewall.
  2. Turn Windows Firewall on or off. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.
  3. Under the appropriate network setting, select Turn on Windows Firewall.

Note: If your PC is connected to a network, network policy settings might prevent you from completing these steps. For more info, contact your administrator.

Windows 7:

  1. Click the Start icon at bottom left
  2. Click the Control Panel link on the right
  3. Click System and Security
  4. Under Windows Firewall, click Check firewall status
  5. Click Turn Windows Firewall off


It is recommended that you have a firewall running on your computer. Make sure that you turn your firewall back on as soon as you are able to access a database, or if this does not fix the problem.

Known "hidden" firewalls:

Comcast Xfinity modem/router. Contact Comcast for instructions to turn it off or change settings to allow cookies.


Bayou Building 2402, 2700 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, TX 77058-1002