Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies.
What are cookies?Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used to make websites work and to function more effectively. For example, they may be required to keep you logged in to a service, or to remember your user preferences or shopping cart contents. A cookie will typically contain a record of the web site which issued it, its own name, and a value which is often a randomly generated unique number.
A cookie will have a lifetime, which tells your browser when to delete it. Cookies can be set by the website domain itself, or by another domain, for example by Google Maps.
Cookie TypesSession cookieA session cookie lasts only for the duration of the user's website visit. A web browser normally deletes session cookies when it quits.
Persistent cookie A persistent cookie will outlast user sessions. If a persistent cookie has its maximum age set to 1 year, then, within the year, the initial value set in that cookie would be sent back to the server every time the user visited the server. This could be used to record a piece of information such as how the user initially came to this website. For this reason persistent cookies are also called tracking cookies.
Secure cookie A secure cookie is only used when a browser is visiting a server via HTTPS, ensuring that the cookie is always encrypted when transmitting from client to server.
First-party cookie First-party cookies are cookies set with the same domain (or its subdomain) in the browser's address bar.
Third-party cookie Third-party cookies are cookies set with different domains from the one shown on the address bar (i.e. the web pages on that domain may feature content from a third-party domain - e.g. Google Maps or YouTube). Privacy setting options in most modern browsers allow you to block third-party tracking cookies.
Can I turn off cookies?You can manually disable cookies on your computer, or delete existing cookies. You may also be able to view the cookies already in your system. This will depend on your browser. See the links below which tell you how to delete or disable cookies in each of the major browsers.
Internet Explorer 7 and 8
Please note that cookies are essential to the effective functioning of some of the services we offer online. If you disable cookies, a number of important functions and services will be unavailable to you and our websites may not operate correctly in your browser.
The links below detail the cookies potentially used on this website, including details of who sets each cookie, its purpose, when it expires, its level of intrusiveness, and, if relevant, how you can find out further information:
- enabling a service to recognise your device so you don't have to give the same information several times during one task
- recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don't need to do it for every web page requested
- measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there's enough capacity to ensure they are fast
The site Cookies basically remember your personal 'Preferences' and 'Time offset' as the server the site is hosted on is in the USA so the site times are relevant to GMT
These are the php session ID and the Google Analytics ones detailed below. There are also some which are for the correct operation of the web site, these too are detailed below.
|PHPSESSID||randomly generated alphanumeric identifier||when user exits browser|
|_utma||randomly generated number||2 years|
|_utmb||randomly generated number||30 minutes|
|_utmc||randomly generated number||when user exits browser|
|_utmz||randomly generated number + info on how the site was reached (e.g.directly or via a link, organic search or paid search)||6 month|