Cookies are small text files containing information which is placed by a website within a computer or device through your web browser, the cookie is then sent back to the same website by the browser.
The purpose of cookies is to help your computer or device to remember something that the user has done whilst visiting that website. For example cookies can help your computer to remember which buttons have been clicked or that the user has logged in.
Authentication cookies are specific cookies related to knowing if a user is logged in or not. Authentication cookies are important for the website to know what information to show you, or if it needs to ask you to log in.
One important thing to remember is that cookies cannot carry viruses or install malware.
Overall, cookies help us to provide you with a better website by allowing us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie does not give us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.
First party cookies - these are set by the domain (or sub-domain) in the web browser.
Third party cookies - these are set by a different domain to the one on the website you are looking at. Third party cookies are used for a variety of reasons such as analysing the products you are purchasing or which pages are viewed most often.
Session cookies - only last for the duration of your browsing session on the website. Your web browser would normally delete these when you close the browser.
Persistent cookies - these last longer than the browser session. For example if you log into a website and then return to the website some days later, the website knows who you are and displays a welcome message to you. Persistent cookies allow this to happen.
Managing your cookies
You have a few different options on ways to manage the cookies on your computer or device. You can change your browser settings to prevent cookies from being accepted, or, depending on which browser you are using, you might be able to receive an alert when a website is trying to place one on your browser. With most browsers you can allow first party cookies to be set but refuse third party cookies.
If you decide to change your cookie preferences, you will still be able to browse around the site but please note that some functions will not be available.
The ‘help’ menu on your browser should tell you how to block cookies or change your cookie settings. How you adjust your browsers settings will depend on the browser you are using.
You can delete cookies stored in your browser by using a function in your browser. Whilst this does not mean you won’t collect cookies in the future, it allows you to delete your cookies after you have been online. This operation is known as ‘clearing cookies’.
Clearing your cookies on one browser of one device does not automatically clear them on another. You will need to clear all browsers on all channels independently.