What a cookie is
A cookie is a small file of data sent by a web server to your web browser when you access a website. Nearly all websites use them. It contains an identifier (a string of letters and numbers) that is returned to the web server as you browse the website and enables a more consistent, tailored user experience. Cookies can also be used to analyse website traffic and for advertising and marketing purposes.
Cookies may be either “persistent” or “session-based”. A persistent cookie will be stored on your device by your web browser and will remain valid until its set expiry date (unless deleted by the user beforehand); it can be read by the website that created it when you visit that website again. In contrast, a session-based cookie will expire at the end of the user session when the web browser is closed.
Cookies do not typically contain any information that personally identifies a user, but personal information that we store about you may be linked to the information stored in and obtained from cookies.
Cookies can also be categorized as follows:
- Strictly necessary cookies. These are cookies that are essential for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website or make use of other services provided on our website. These cookies do not gather information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you have been on the internet.
- Functionality cookies. These are used to recognize you when you return to our website. This enables us to personalize our content for you, greet you by name and remember your preferences (for example, your choice of language or region). The information these cookies collect is usually anonymized.
- Analytical/performance cookies. We use Google Analytics to recognize, count and categorize the number of visitors and to see how they move around our website when using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works; for example, by ensuring that users are finding what they are looking for easily. Google Analytics uses the following cookies:
_utma - These cookies are used to determine unique visitors to our website. These cookies expire after 2 years.
_utmb – These are used to establish and continue a user session with our website. They expire after 30 minutes.
_utmc – These are used to determine whether or not to establish a new session for a website visitor. These cookies expire when the visitor closes their browser.
_utmz – These are used to monitor search engine traffic, ad campaigns and page navigation within our website. These cookies expire after 6 months.
These are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we may use to enhance our site; for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them. You should check the relevant third-party websites for more information about these. We do have control over whether or not we use these third-party services on our website, and how these services are integrated and presented.
Aside from Google Analytics (see above), we currently do not use any such third-party products.
If you want to check or change what types of cookies you accept, this can usually be altered within your browser settings. The methods for doing so vary from browser to browser, and from version to version. You can obtain up-to-date information about blocking and deleting cookies via the browser suppliers' websites. However, if you use your browser settings to block all cookies (including essential cookies) you may not be able to access all or parts of our website.
You can learn more about cookies by visiting http://www.aboutcookies.org/ .