What is a hash?

Understanding Hashes in Simple Terms

A hash is often likened to a digital fingerprint for data. It’s a way to represent any kind of data—be it text, a file, or any other form—using a unique, fixed-size string of characters. This process is done using something called a hash function. When data is input into this function, it outputs a hash. The crucial aspect of a hash is its uniqueness: it’s specific to the data it represents. This means even a small change in the original data results in a completely different hash.

The Practical Applications of Hashes

Hashes have several practical uses due to their unique properties. One of the most significant is in verifying data integrity. Since any alteration in the data changes the hash, you can easily check if data has been tampered with by comparing hashes. Additionally, hashes are useful for efficiently comparing large datasets because comparing short strings (hashes) is much faster and requires less computing power than comparing the entire datasets.

How Burst Utilizes Hashes in Cookieless Tracking

In the context of web tracking, especially when cookies are not used or allowed by a visitor, Burst employs hashes to create a unique identifier for each user. This process is part of Burst’s cookieless tracking method. When a visitor accesses a site, Burst gathers non-personal data like browser type, operating system, and device settings. This data is then processed through a hash function to generate a unique hash. This hash, acting as a fingerprint, helps in identifying and tracking the visitor’s activity on the site without relying on traditional cookies.

Ensuring Privacy and Security with Hashes

A key advantage of using hashes in tracking is the privacy and security it offers. Since the hash is a one-way process, it’s not possible to reverse-engineer the hash back into the original data. This ensures that no sensitive or personal information about the visitor is stored or at risk of being compromised.


Hashes, in their role as unique identifiers for data, find an important application in Burst’s cookieless tracking technology. By using hashes, Burst provides a privacy-respecting method of tracking that maintains the integrity and security of user data, proving to be a valuable tool in the realm of web analytics.