What’s a cookie?
A cookie is a piece of information (a small text file) that a website saves on your computer’s hard drive or your mobile device when you visit the site. Because they remain on your device when you close your web browser, they can be read again by the website that created them, when you visit that website again. Cookies record how you move your way around a particular website, so when you revisit it again, the website can present you with tailored options based on the information stored about your last visits. It effectively enables the website to remember your actions and preferences over a period of time, so you don’t have to keep re-entering them whenever you come back to the same website or browse from one page to another. The information provided by cookies, however, is never used for the purpose of identifying you.
Cookies are used by nearly all websites and don’t harm your system. You can check or change what types of cookies you accept on your devices by accessing your browser settings. You can also block cookies at any time by activating the setting on your browser that allows you to refuse the setting of all or some cookies. However, if you use your browser settings to block all cookies (including essential cookies – more on that below), you may not be able to access all or parts of a website. In other cases, you may need to update your preferences every time that you visit a website.
There are different types of cookies:
- Session cookies. These are only stored on your computer or mobile during your web session. They’re automatically deleted when you close your browser. They don’t collect any personal data from your device.
- Strictly necessary cookies. These are cookies that are required for the operation of my website. They are essential to enable you to use the website effectively and, as such, cannot be turned off. These cookies don’t gather information about you that could be used for marketing purposes and they don’t remember or track your movements on the internet.
- Performance cookies. Also known as analytical cookies, these allow me to monitor and improve the performance of my website by recognising and counting the number of visitors to my website and tracking how they move around. This helps me to improve my website as it tells me what type of content you find the most valuable and useful.
While I don’t currently use these, in the future, I may be also be using:
- Targeting cookies. They record your visit to my website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. A lot of websites use these cookies to make their advertising more relevant to their audiences.
Last updated: 11th May 2018