What are cookies?
A cookie (web cookie, or browser cookie) is a small file which is stored on your computer when you visit a website. These files are used by the website for a number of things but mainly to anonymously track or trace where you have been on the website and what you are searching for. Cookies do not contain any information that personally identifies you.
Cookies may be either “persistent” cookies or “session” cookies. A persistent cookie will be stored by the browser and will remain valid until its set expiry date (unless deleted by the user before the expiry date). A session cookie will expire at the end of the user session, when the web browser is closed.
For a more details read more about cookies on Wikipedia.
In order to achieve this we use the popular Google Analytics system which shows us what our most popular sections are, what our users type into Google in order to find us and how often visitors view our site.
What do these cookies look like?
If you check your web browser settings for the cookies that our site has stored on your computer you should see:
_utma, _utmb, _utmz – these are persistent cookies used by Google Analytics and expire after a fixed period of time.
_utmc – this is a session cookie used by Google Analytics and expires as soon as you close your browser.
Third party cookies
When you use this website, you may also be sent third party cookies.
Most browsers allow you to refuse to accept cookies. For example:
- in Internet Explorer you can refuse all cookies by clicking “Tools”, “Internet Options”, “Privacy”, and selecting “Block all cookies” using the sliding selector;
- in Firefox you can block all cookies by clicking “Tools”, “Options”, and un-checking “Accept cookies from sites” in the “Privacy” box
Blocking all cookies will, however, have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites. Fortunately, even if you block cookies, you will still be able to view this website as usual.
You can also delete cookies already stored on your computer:
- in Internet Explorer, you must manually delete cookie files – you can find instructions for doing so at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/278835.
- in Firefox, you can delete cookies by, first ensuring that cookies are to be deleted when you “clear private data” (this setting can be changed by clicking “Tools”, “Options” and “Settings” in the “Private Data” box) and then clicking “Clear private data” in the “Tools” menu.
Obviously, doing this may have a negative impact on the usability of many websites.