Real Cookie Banner 4.0: Redefining Localization, Accessibility, and Legal Compliance

Real Cookie Banner 4.0

We have made it our mission to be accessible to more countries and to everyone – no matter what abilities or limitations (disabilities) the users of Real Cookie Banner have. After 17 intensive months and with the support of over 20 freelancers and a law firm, we gained deep insights into the legal requirements of 12 EU countries and integrated them into our Real Cookie Banner.

In these release notes you will learn all about the new features that have been released since version 3.0. If you are the operator of one of the over 150,000 websites that use our Real Cookie Banner, you can now make all changes directly in your cookie banner!

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί Translation and localization for the 12 main EU countries

While the GDPR applies equally throughout the EU and EEA (apart from opening clauses), the ePrivacy Directive had to be individually transposed into national law in each country. Furthermore, the supervisory authorities and courts of the member states have different legal opinions, in addition to further national laws, which leads to country-specific requirements.

As a German company, we have so far focused on Germany and Austria. But with version 4.0 we go further: We have studied the legal requirements of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway and have revised numerous features such as the accessibility of the cookie banner for website visitors, the links in the footer of the cookie banner or the age notice.

In addition, translators with a legal background have translated the plugin into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch (formal and informal), Czech, Polish, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. Translations into English and German (informal and formal) are of course still available. Related legal texts are also linked in the respective languages (as far as given by the legislator).

In multilingual websites created with WPML, Polylang, TranslatePress or Weglot, website visitors can now select their language directly in the cookie banner, ensuring consent without a language barrier, even if they visit a different language version of the website.

Real Cookie Banner translated into 12 languages
Real Cookie Banner translated into 12 languages

βš–οΈ Audit by external law firm mastered

Our development team and in-house lawyers always keep an eye on the changing legal requirements for cookie banners and implement them technically as conveniently as possible. However, as one can become blinded by constant work on a topic, we have commissioned the law firm meibers.rechtsanwΓ€lte to audit the Real Cookie Banner in order to further strengthen its legal security.

While the audit did not reveal any serious deficiencies, we were able to further optimize Real Cookie Banner in several aspects:

  • Additional texts in content blockers for improved compliance with the GDPR information requirements
  • Enhanced options in the dialogue to change consent for reduction of a potential attack surface
  • Risk-reduced data processing for statistics
  • Trackable field of view of the dialogue in documentation of consents through click and scroll records
  • Optional addition of a legal notice (imprint) for each service to the provider identification

We firmly believe in providing one of the most legally robust cookie banners for WordPress with Real Cookie Banner, which takes data protection seriously and is still user-friendly. With the audit by a law firm, we offer even more security than many alternative solutions!

β™Ώ Accessibility according to the European Accessibility Act

The cookie banner is often the first point of contact for website visitors with your website. It is therefore essential that all users, regardless of disabilities or limitations, can make their choice to consent to the cookie banner. In addition, the European Accessibility Act requires most website operators to have an accessible website from June 2025. Some countries, such as Norway, already have strict website accessibility laws in place – with severe penalties for violations.

We have made the consent dialogue in the cookie banner and content blocker in Real Cookie Banner accessible according to the WCAG 2.2 Level AA standard. In doing so, we consulted experts and gathered feedback from stakeholders to balance convenience and GDPR compliance.

In order to avoid unintentional violations of the WCAG 2.2 Level AA standard, such as insufficient contrast, an accessibility score in the customizer of the cookie banner proactively informs you as the website operator about possible configuration problems.

☁️ Service Cloud for higher quality service and content blocker templates

The service and content blocker templates have always been at the heart of Real Cookie Banner. Both the legal requirements and our own demand for an out-of-the-box solution have increased over time. As the templates in the WordPress plugin became technically outsized and increasingly difficult to maintain, we spent over a year working on our new Service Cloud: A complex cloud infrastructure to create, manage and translate our popular service and content blocker templates.

As a website owner, you will now receive regular template updates directly from the Service Cloud, regardless of plugin updates. You may have already received proactive notifications about adjustments to your services, as we are continuously improving the quality of the templates!

In the future, this new infrastructure will allow us to respond more quickly to requests for new service templates. However, if you have already made a request, please be patient as we need to prioritize the revision of existing templates and the implementation of proposals for over 300 new templates. We are actively working on fulfilling the requests – we promise!

🀲 Compatibilities for over 200 other popular services

Real Cookie Banner takes great care to ensure that the services (with and without templates) work seamlessly within your website, regardless of the themes, page builders, plugins, hosters or server configurations used.

That’s why we’ve added 218 additional compatibilities for a wide variety of WordPress plugins, themes, web hosts, SaaS services and software libraries. These include Divi Theme, Impreza Theme, Enfold Theme, WoodMart Theme, Sober Theme, BeTheme/BeBuilder, Bandtheme, Neuron Themes, RockyThemes, NiteoThemes, BoldThemes, Avada Fusion Builder, PremiumAddons for Elementor, Ultimate Blocks, Oxygen Builder, Ultimate Addons for WPBakery, WP Bakery Page Builder, PowerPack for Beaver Builder, Kadence Blocks, Bold Page Builder, Bricks Builder, Breakdance Page Builder, SeedProd, Essentials Addons for Elementor, Directories Pro, NitroPack, RankMath SEO, SEOPress, vanilla-lazyload, WP Optimize, IONOS Performance Plugin, Ezoic CDN, jQuery gMap Plugin, WP Map Block, OpenStreetMap, Agile Store Locator, Mapbox, MapPress, MapsMarkerPro, WP Go Maps, OSMapper, 10Web Map Builder for Google Maps, Widgets for Google Reviews, Lite YouTube Embed, Presto Player, Magnific Popup, The Events Calendar, Events Manager, Social Feed Gallery, WooCommerce Blocks, GiveWP, Pixel Manager for WooCommerce, Point of Sale for WooCommerce, WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration, HivePress, CMP (Coming Soon & Maintenance Plugin), WP Maintenance Mode & Coming Soon, WP-ImmoMakler, GeoDirectory, Ajax Search Pro, Directorist, WP Matomo, BuddyBoss, NGINX und one.com Maintenance Plugin.

However, if a service does not work as expected, please create a support ticket! We are continuously working on further optimizing Real Cookie Banner.

πŸš€ Scanner even faster, more stable and more flexible

Real Cookie Banner is popular with website owners for its powerful scanner that automatically identifies most services on your website. We have optimized the scanner again to further improve its handling!

Especially on extensive websites with several thousand sub-pages, the scanning process used to take several hours. With the latest optimisation, the scanner now works up to 3.6 times faster than in version 3.0.

In addition, we now allow you to re-scan individual subpages or scan results. You will also be reminded to re-scan after activating or deactivating plugins.

These enhancements make it easier for you to keep your website efficiently privacy compliant!

🀝 Data processing for all unsafe third countries and adequacy decision for USA

The GDPR strictly regulates the processing of personal data. The European Commission specifies in adequacy decisions which non-GDPR countries are considered safe for data processing. Processing outside these countries is considered insecure.

In July 2023, the EU declared data processing in the US safe again. At least under certain conditions. However, large corporations like Google, Facebook and Amazon, whose services most of us use, process data globally. This poses a problem for you as a website operator, as you are still responsible for lawful processing when data is passed on.

With Real Cookie Banner, you can now specify per service in which countries your website visitors’ data is processed, including legal specifics such as the EU-US Privacy Framework. The tool automatically checks the security of the data processing (according to legislation) and, if necessary, alternatively obtains special consent according to Art. 49 GDPR. Real Cookie Banner thus goes further than many alternatives, which can only obtain such consent for the USA (if still necessary at all).

πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­ New Swiss Data Protection Act (2023) integrated as legal basis

Switzerland is an island between many EU countries and thus forms a legal peculiarity in Europe. This now also applies to the new Swiss Data Protection Act (FADP), which, however, prescribes the use of cookie banners for Swiss website operators under certain conditions.

In Real Cookie Banner, we have included the Swiss DPA as the new legal basis and made all the necessary adjustments.

For more background on the new DPA and why most Swiss website operators should also comply with EU rules, see our knowledge base.

πŸ… Rubuster TCF support and Google (Adsense) certification

The IAB Europe’s Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF), supported by Real Cookie Banner since version 2.0, is a recognized standard for obtaining consent for European advertisers. The announcement by Google to exclusively accept consents according to the TCF standard for Google Adsense, Ad Manager and AdMob from January 2024 has further strengthened the standard.

Real Cookie Banner has recently become a Google certified CMP. This means that our solution can also be used in the future to obtain consent for Google advertisements on websites and thus earn money.

Due to the increased interest in the TCF standard, technical issues with the standard became apparent, such as invalid device disclosures from some vendors that prevent informed consent. In response, we have developed a robust repair mechanism that corrects the incorrect data provided by TCF vendors in most cases and informs you if consent cannot be obtained due to incorrect data. In addition, we have optimized Real Cookie Banner so that it also runs with several hundred TCF vendors, even if we would advise against such use for legal reasons.

πŸ› οΈ Content Blocker syntax for professional use cases

Content blockers from Real Cookie Banner allow you to globally block scripts, iframes and other content on your website that requires consent by setting simple rules. This is a big advantage over other solutions where you have to manually embed videos in shortcodes to block them, for example.

After analyzing around 2,000 support tickets and encountering hundreds of special cases, we have introduced complex content blocker rules, including selector syntax functions. This makes it possible with Real Cookie Banner to block even complicated embeds. Example: A YouTube video on your website, which is rendered in a new lightbox on the client side only after a click on a link from its attributes, can now be loaded by Real Cookie Banner only after informed consent.

We have documented this expert syntax for content blocker rules in detail in our knowledge base. However, if the topic is too complex for you, you can also leave this β€œmagic” to our support!

πŸ“‘ Documentation of consents well thought out down to the last detail

Real Cookie Banner has always offered detailed documentation of the consents to be able to fulfil your duty of disclosure according to the GDPR, if necessary. After an audit by an external law firm, we have further refined the documentation: now it is recorded in a data protection-compliant manner which parts of the consent dialogue the website visitor saw before he gave his consent. As the website operator, you can track this process interactively in the list of consents.

In addition, consents are now discoverable in Real Cookie Banner via the shortened, salted and hashed IP address if a claimant can only show IP address and consent time instead of the UUID of the consent.

As some websites have already documented several million consents with Real Cookie Banner, we implanted a mechanism to delete these consents on a scheduled basis according to legal requirements. If you want to reset Real Cookie Banner, you can still keep the documentation of the previous consents.

⚑ Performance optimization for impressive load time and smaller plugin package

Websites with an active Real Cookie Banner already achieved a PageSpeed Insights score of up to 100 in the previous version, but that was not enough for us! We made optimizations to improve performance, especially on less optimized websites:

  • Support of Internet Explorer in favor of a small package size (-20.2 %) and faster loading time
  • Early rendering of visual content blockers and unblocking of e.g. iFrames after consent independent of waiting scripts in the DOM to reduce the TTI
  • Rendering of visual components outside the JavaScript main thread with dynamic imports to improve TBT and FCP.

In addition, we reduced the plugin ZIP size by offloading translations and source maps. These are automatically downloaded as needed after installation, which simplifies the installation of the plugin for websites with a PHP upload limit of 8 MB (in many shared web hostings).

🎯 Telemetry data for more accurate improvements

When installing Real Cookie Banner, we ask you as the website operator to share telemetry data. This data does not provide any information about your website visitors and can therefore be shared without any problems.

Since the last major release, we have been using this data, combined with customer surveys and support feedback, to make data-driven improvements to Real Cookie Banner. This helps us understand which features are most valuable to the most users and how we can best deploy our resources.

If you would like to support us and have not previously consented to the sharing of telemetry data, you can give your consent in the dashboard under the update notes after updating to Real Cookie Banner v4.0. Thank you for your support πŸ™

😍 Real Cookie Banner in gigantic numbers

Since its first release in November 2020, Real Cookie Banner has developed rapidly. Currently, four full-time employees (we are looking for more colleagues) and various freelancers with special expertise are involved in the project.

But what are the hard facts behind Real Cookie Banner? Some impressive numbers about Real Cookie Banner:

  • ~730 million consents obtained (based on extrapolated telemetry data)
  • ~9.5 million downloads (Free and PRO version incl. downloads of up to 196 updates per website)
  • ~150,000 active installations on WordPress websites
  • ~170,000 lines of code in Real Cookie Banner and its cloud services (excluding third-party libraries and infrastructure code).
  • ~90,000 words of text (English) in the Real Cookie Banner plugin and its service and content blocker templates (printed at Microsoft Word default settings around 300 A4 pages of continuous text)

In only about four years (including the development of the initial version), our compact team has created a product of this magnitude, which we are proud of. But we are even more excited to see where Real Cookie Banner is going!

🌟 What we have planned for the future of Real Cookie Banner

With version 4.0, Real Cookie Banner takes a big step to be accessible in more countries and to more people. Based on telemetry data, customer surveys and support requests, we know where there is further potential for optimization. We will not rest until all frequently requested and feasible wishes are fulfilled! We may already have innovative ideas up our sleeves, that are not yet available in any other consent management system with WordPress πŸ˜‰ So you can look forward to the coming innovations!