What are Cookies?
Cookies are small bits of text that are downloaded to your browser as you use the internet. It is generated by a web page server, which is basically the computer that operates a website. Their purpose of cookies is to carry bits of useful information about your interaction with the website that sets them.
Cookies generally do not contain any information that would identify a person. Usually they contain a string of text or 'unique identifier'. This acts like a label. When a website sees the string of text it has set in a cookie, it knows the browser is one it has seen before. A cookie can therefore be thought of as an internet user's identification card, which tell a website when the user has returned.
If you use a different computer, open a new web browser or delete your cookies, the website will treat you as if you have arrived for the first time (and a new cookie will be set).
What Do They Do?
Cookies make the interaction between users and websites faster and easier. For example, without cookies, it would be very difficult to remember your preferences or registration details when you come back to a website.
Cookies are used to save time and make the browsing experience more efficient and tailored to you. They also allow website operators to monitor the way in which you use the website and build up a user profile for marketing and advertising purposes.
Different Types of Cookies
There are two types of cookies that are typically used – and we use both of these on the Website; 'Session' and 'Persistent' cookies.
Session cookies only last for your online session and disappear from your computer when you close your browser.
Persistent cookies are set the first time you visit a website. They help identify a unique browser to a website. They will remain there for a period determined by the web page server when the cookie is set. For example, analytics cookies (described in more detail below) are typically set for 18 months but can be for longer.
Third Party Analytics Cookies
These web analytics cookies may be operated by other companies on our behalf. Analytics cookies do not contain any information which identifies your personally. It is possible to opt out of analytics cookies and we have provided you with links below which help you do this. However, by not allowing these cookies, this prevents us from learning about how you interact with the Website which helps us to make it better.
Google Analytics uses a number of cookies to determine unique users, keep track of pages within a given site and how you arrived at our Website. You can opt out of Google Analytics cookies by visiting http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.
How Can I Disable Cookies Using my Browser?
Most browsers have cookies turned on as a default, but you can always disable cookies or only allow non-persistent cookies via your browser preferences. Please note that if you choose to disable cookies this will adversely affect the functionality on the Website and you won’t be able to enjoy it as much.
You can set your browser to delete cookies every time you finish browsing. Users can also set their browser to prompt them each time a cookie is offered. Find out more by visiting the ‘Help’ sections on your browser for more information. Alternatively, you can visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to disable cookies on a wide variety of browsers.