What is a cookie?
Cookies are used by websites to identify users, prepare tailored webpages and save site login information for the end user. It is a small data file created by a website, which is saved by your browser. This text file is stored on your computer and holds the addresses of the websites you visit. Every time you go back to a website or webpage, your browser sends these codes back to the website. It enhances your experience of that site by remembering you while you visit (with a “session” cookie) or allowing you to come back to that page many times (with a “persistent” cookie) and not having to re-enter your information. A cookie’s main purpose is to remember information about you, and provide details about the transaction. By doing so they allow websites to recognize you and keep track of your settings and preferences. Every time a website says “remember me on this computer”, it is generating a login cookie, so each time you visit you do not need to login in or save your settings again. This is how a website creates a custom experience for you.
What to do if you do not want cookies on your computer
Although the information stored by cookies is generally harmless, some people are not comfortable with the idea of websites storing information about them. If you do not want cookies to be set on your computer you can control which cookies are downloaded to your computer or block them entirely via your web browser. You do this in your browser settings for each browser you use, for each device you use. You must be aware that not accepting cookies may alter or impact on the functionality of certain websites.
Session cookies are temporary and are stored only while you are browsing (for that session). As soon as you close your browser they are deleted from your hard drive. Session cookies do not collect information from your computer. They are most commonly used by E-commerce sites, when you shop online it remembers your preferences (stores your items in the shopping cart) while you browse the rest of the site.
Also known as permanent cookies, persistent cookies store data for an extended time period. It is not deleted once you close your browser, but holds the information for anything from 6 months to over a year. The persistent cookie allows us to remember you for any amount of time. We use it to remember your search settings and preferences, as well as keep track of your previous searches, so that you do not have to begin all over again.
Persistent cookies have an expiration date and will be deleted automatically once it has reached that date or you can delete them from your computer.
First Party Cookies
First party cookies are created by the website you are visiting. They keep track of your preferences and the current session. They can only be read by that website.
Third Party Cookies
Third party cookies are created by “a third party”, this kind of cookie is set by a website other than the one you are currently on. For example; when you are on a site and all the adverts match what you have recently viewed or searched, it is because a third party cookie has tracked your browsing habits from site to site.
A flash cookie holds more data than a regular cookie, because it is used by websites to run flash applications, for example; video and game content. They are managed by Adobe Flash Player settings and can only be removed via Adobe Flash, unlike the web browser cookies listed above, which are managed by your web browser.