What is a cookie?
A 'cookie' is a small data file, comprised of a text-only string of information, which a website transfers to the web browser on your computer's hard drive, either temporarily for the duration of your visit or sometimes for longer periods, depending on the type of cookie. Cookies perform a number of functions (including to distinguish you from other users of the same website or to remember certain things about you, such as your preferences) and are used by most websites to improve your user experience.
Each cookie is unique to your web browser and will contain some anonymous information. A cookie will typically contain the name of the domain from which the cookie has come, the "lifetime" of the cookie and a value (usually in the form of a randomly generated unique number).
Types of cookies
The main types of cookies that websites may use are described below:
- Session cookies
These are temporary cookies that remain in the cookie file of your web browser only for the duration of your visit and they are deleted when you close the browser.
- Persistent cookies
These remain in the cookie file of your web browser even after the browser is closed, sometimes for a year or longer (the exact length of time will depend on the lifetime of the specific cookie). Persistent cookies are used where the website operator may need to know who you are for more than one browsing session (e.g. to remember your username or website customisation preferences).
- First-party cookies
These are cookies planted on your browser and/or hard drive by the actual website you are visiting. This involves assigning a unique identity to you with a view of tracking your journey on the website. Website operators often use first-party cookies for session management and recognition purposes.
- Third-party cookies
These are cookies used by third parties, such as social networks, to track your visits onto various websites on which they advertise. The website operator will not have control over these third-party cookies.
Cookies on this website and how to manage them
On this website, we use the cookies described in the table below in order to improve the user experience for our website visitors.
The table below provides information about the cookies we use on this website, including how to disable them and the resultant impact on the website's functionality. If you would like more information about how to manage certain types of cookies, including how to control or delete them, please visit www.aboutcookies.org.