Websites today normally offer some level of interaction - whether it's sending and receiving messages, buying goods or choosing how you wish to view the site. To manage this, small text files called cookies are stored on your computer.
Cookies are an important part of the internet. They make using websites much smoother and affect lots of the useful features of websites. There are many different uses for cookies, but they fall into four main groups:
Cookies to improve your browsing experience
Are cookies essential?
Some cookies are essential so you can move around the website and use its features. Without these cookies, services you've asked for can't be provided. These cookies don't gather information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you've been on the internet.
Here are some examples of essential cookies:
Keeping you logged in during your visit; without cookies you might have to log in on every page you go to. When you add something to the online shopping basket, cookies make sure it's still there when you get to the checkout.
Some are session cookies which make it possible to navigate through the website smoothly. However these are automatically deleted after you close your web browser.
How do cookies improve my browsing experience?
Some cookies allow the website to remember choices you make, such as your language or region and they provide improved features.
Here are a few examples of just some of the ways that cookies are used to improve your experience on our websites:
Remembering your preferences and settings, including marketing preferences, such as opting in or out of marketing emails.
Remembering if you've filled in a survey, so you're not asked to do it again.
Remembering if you've been to the site before. If you are a first-time user, you might see different content to a regular user.
Restricting the number of times you're shown a particular advertisement. This is sometimes called 'frequency capping'.
Showing you information that's relevant to products of ours that you have.
Giving you access to content provided by social-media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Showing 'related article' links that are relevant to the page you're looking at.
Remembering a location you've entered such as weather forecasts.