What is a cookie?
A cookie, also known as a web cookie, or browser cookie, is a data file that is stored on your computer or mobile phone by a web browser, which can collect data such as what buttons have been clicked on, how much time has been spent on a web page, and other actions you may have carried out. Cookies also have the ability to remember actions and record preferences which allow certain pages to be served in a particular way.
Some examples of cookies come in the form of session cookies, which expire as soon as the user leaves the website. Other cookies, such as third party cookies, are set from different websites, like Google, and can be present on your device for months or up to a few years.
- Google Analytics cookies. These cookies collect information in an anonymous form, including the number of visitors to the site, where visitors have come to the site from and the pages they visited.
- Session cookies. These expire at the end of a browser session that is when the user exits the browser. They allow website operators to link the actions of users during a single browser session to allow them to use the website most efficiently. For example, session cookies enable a website to remember that a user has placed items in an online shopping basket.
If you have decided that you don’t want cookies placed on your device, you can alter your web browser settings so that it alerts you when cookies are sent to it, or you can reject cookies altogether. You can also remove cookies that have already been placed. However, if you wish to restrict or block web browser cookies which are placed on your computer or mobile device, then you can do this through your browser settings in the Help section, located in your browser menu.