What are cookies?
For almost any modern website to work properly, it needs to collect certain basic information on its users. To do this, a site will create files known as ‘cookies’ – which are small text files – on its users’ computers. These cookies are designed to allow the website to recognise its users on subsequent visits, or to authorise other designated websites to recognise these users for a particular purpose.
Cookies do a lot of different jobs which make your experience of the Internet much smoother and more interactive. For instance, they are used to remember your preferences on sites you visit often, to provide you with relevant content and to help you navigate between pages more efficiently. They also help ensure that the advertisements that you see online are more relevant to you and your interests.
What types of cookie are there?
Generally, there are four types of cookie: strictly necessary cookies, performance cookies, functionality cookies and targeting or advertising cookies.
- Strictly necessary cookies are essential to navigate around a website and use its features.
- Performance cookies collect anonymous data on how visitors use a website and are used to improve how a website works. We utilise these cookies to analyse how our visitors use our websites and to monitor website performance, which allows us to provide a high quality experience by customising our offering and quickly identifying and fixing any issues that arise.
- Functionality cookies allow us to remember your preferences. For example, cookies will save information about your region and can be used to provide more relevant content.
- Advertising and targeting cookies are used to deliver advertisements more relevant to you, but can also limit the number of times you see an advertisement, and be used to chart the effectiveness of an ad campaign by tracking users’ clicks.
Additionally, these cookies break down into two further sub-types.
- Persistent cookies remain on a user’s device for a set period of time specified in the cookie. They are activated each time that the user visits the website that created that particular cookie.
- Session cookies are temporary. They allow website operators to link the actions of a user during a browser session. A browser session starts when a user opens the browser window and finishes when they close the browser window. Once you close the browser, all session cookies are deleted.
For information on how to manage the cookies in your browser, please visit the relevant help page below.
Links to browser help sites: