What are cookies?
A cookie is a piece of data that is placed on an internet user’s computer memory. The information the cookie contains is set by a website’s server and it can be used when the user visits the website.
Cookies are designed to remember things that an internet user has done whilst on a website in the past, which can include putting products in a basket, logging in, or clicking on links.
Cookies are not dangerous. They are not computer programs and cannot be used to circulate viruses.
The cookies we use on our website are used in many ways, including:
- To keep a record of the products you’ve put in your shopping bag for next time you visit
- To make personalised product recommendations, based upon your previous times you’ve shopped on the website
- To remember your preferences
- To find out what the website doesn’t do well and make improvements to it in future
- Allow you to share pages with social networks like Facebook; and
- Make sure advertising on other websites is relevant to you
Types of cookies
Session (or Transient) Cookies
Session cookies are stored in your computer’s memory for the length of your browsing session. They become inaccessible after the session has been inactive for a time and are automatically deleted from your computer when the browser is closed. They allow you to move from page to page without having to log-in repeatedly.
Persistent (or Permanent) Cookies
Persistent cookies are stored on the user’s computer memory and are not deleted when the browser is closed. They are used to keep your preferences for the website, so that they will be remembered for next time you visit the website. They are also used to collect information about the numbers of visitors, the average time spent on a particular page and analyse shopping behaviour on the website. This information is used to find out how the well the website works and where it can be improved.
Flash Cookies (or Locally Shared Objects)
You will probably have Adobe Flash installed on your computer. Many websites that contain Flash can also store small files on your computer that are used in the same way as cookies. Website choose to use Flash Cookies as these can hold more information than regular cookies
Websites choose to use Flash Cookies as these can hold more information than regular cookies.When you delete cookies via your browser, your Flash cookies are unlikely to be affected. A website may therefore still recognise your preferences if it used a Flash cookie to save them initially.
How do I opt out of cookies?
You can manage the cookies that you allow on your computer through the internet browser that you use. You can also ask to be alerted every time a cookie is offered. There are instructions on how to manage your cookies using the most popular internet browsers below:
- Find out which internet browser you use
- On a PC: click on ‘Help’ at the top of your browser window and select ‘About’
- On an Apple Mac: click on the Apple menu and select ‘About’ (make sure the browser is open)
Opting out of cookies in Internet Explorer
- Choose ‘Tools’
- Click on ‘Internet Options’
- Click the ‘Privacy’ tab
- Move the slider to choose your settings
- For more detailed privacy settings click on ‘Advanced’
- Opting out of cookies in Safari
- Choose ‘Preferences’ from Safari menu
- Select ‘Security’
- Cookie settings are shown
- Choose your settings
Opting out of cookies in Google Chrome
As a default, Google Chrome allows all cookies. You can manage the behaviour of first-party and third-party cookies or even block them completely.
- Click on the ‘Tools’ menu
- Select ‘Options’
- Click the ‘Under the Bonnet’ tab
- Find the ‘Privacy’ section
- Click ‘Content settings’
- Click the ‘Cookie settings’ tab and choose your settings
Opting out of cookies in Mozilla Firefox
You can configure which sites are allowed to set cookies, how long to keep them for, and view and manage your existing cookies.
- Click on ‘Menu’, then ‘Options’
- Select ‘Privacy’
- Select ‘Cookies’
- Choose your settings
Opting out of cookies in AOL
- From the AOL toolbar, select ‘Settings’
- Select ‘Internet Options’
- Select ‘Use your Internet Explorer Settings to set advanced browser options’
- Select the ‘Privacy’ tab
- Select ‘Advanced’
- Deselect override automatic cookie handling button
- Choose your settings
Opting out of Flash Cookies
If you’d like to control the use of Flash Cookies on your computer, Adobe’s website offers tools to do this.
If you use Mozilla Firefox to browse the internet, you can use an add-on to find and delete Flash Cookies.