What cookies are
Cookies are small files which can be saved to and read from your computer by any website you visit on the internet. They are one of the only reliable ways that a website can persistently identify you. This means that when you visit a particular website, the cookies you have saved for that website are automatically sent to the website with each request.
They are used for a variety of purposes, from allowing website owners to see how people use their websites, to saving user preferences, remembering if a user is logged in, or delivering targeted advertising.
- Analytics: We use Google Analytics on most of our websites and applications to track how people use them. This allows us to see where a user comes from (i.e. a search engine, directly typing the address into their browser, or another website), what pages they visit, how long they spend on the website, and what kind of computer they are using (i.e. screen size, operating system, web browser version). We use this information to make informed decisions about the content of our websites. It allows us to see, for example, if a particular page is not getting many visits, or whether a large percentage of our users visit from their mobile phones.
- Identification: On websites that you can log in on, we use a cookie to remember you. These cookies can either last until you log out, or until you close your browser.
- Storing preferences: Some of our websites allow you to set particular preferences such as page layout or colour scheme. In these instances we store a cookie which contains this preference, so our website knows to serve you the appropriate version of the website next time you come back.
How to manage cookies
The following links provide an overview how to manage cookies in the five most popular desktop web browsers: