You are Here:
call us on 08000 14 14 14
A cookie is a small text file implanted by an online provider (for example, a website operator or an online advertising network) on the hard disks of visitors to the site (often without their knowledge). Cookies collect information about internet users, such as their names, addresses, e-mail details, passwords and user preferences. While cookies and the information they transmit may not identify a living individual on their own, they may be able to do so in combination with other information held by the online provider or a third party.
Different types of cookies
There is a general distinction between session cookies and persistent cookies and between first-party cookies and third-party cookies.
Session cookies are cookies that expire at the end of a browser session, that is when the user exits the browser. They allow websites operators to link the actions of users during a single browser session to allow them to use the website most efficiently. For example, session cookies enable a website to remember that a user has placed items in an online shopping basket. As these cookies are not usually stored beyond the browser session, they are usually considered less privacy intrusive.
In contrast to session cookies, persistent cookies are stored on the user's equipment between browsing sessions. They therefore enable the website to "recognise" the user on his return, to remember the user's preferences and to tailor services to them. The may also be used to track the user's browsing activity across different websites and to build up a detailed profile of his browsing behaviour for targeting advertising. For this reason, persistent cookies are generally considered to be more privacy-intrusive than session cookies.
First-party cookies are planted by the website which a user visits itself. This involves assigning a unique identity to the user by setting the cookie to either the user's browser and/or his hard drive with a view to tracking the user's journey on the website. First-party cookies are commonly used by website operators for session management, personalisation and recognition purposes where the information transmitted by the cookie is later combined with the personal information the internet user has supplied to the provider in the course of a sale or other contact. In these cases, a user's cookie is retrieved each time he visits the site which planted it, making it unnecessary to re-enter registration data on each visit, and enabling the user to benefit from features such as Amazon's 1-click shopping and the ability to store items in an electronic shopping basket between visits. Although cookies provide internet users with some benefits, they also enable online providers to build profiles of individual users, their online behaviour and their interests. The website may then make specific recommendations to the user on goods and services depending on the information collected in this way. For example, the books, CDs, DVDs and other products that are displayed to a user on the home page of online retailer Amazon will largely be determined by the user's previous purchases and their on-site browsing habits. The user profiles created in this way are also commercially valuable, and online providers often sell the information collected in this way to third parties for the purpose of marketing. Users can block first-party cookies by adjusting their browser settings. However, in some cases this may lead to a loss of functionality of the site visited.
Third-party cookies are cookies planted by parties other than the owner of the website a user visits. In practice, many website owners will reserve visual space on its website in return for a fee paid by an advertising network provider. The renting out of website space for the purposes of behavioural advertising is an increasingly essential part of many website operators' monetisation strategies.
The advertising network provider will normally use the spaces it rents on different websites to:
Plant a cookie on the user's browser or hard drive when he first visits a website that is part of its advertising network.
Recognise any former visitor who returns to that website by the cookie previously planted on his equipment.
Recognise any user who has already visited any other website that is a partner of the advertising network by the cookie planted on his equipment by the first website he visited.
Serve a particular advertisement to the user in real-time based on his interests (as identified in the profile created for him based on his journey across different partner websites).
As with first-party cookies, users are able to block third-party cookies through their browser settings.
Cookies are NOT viruses
|PHPSESSID||This cookie is set as a result of a user session being created in PHP and is driven by a unique ID, a cryptographically random number. This unqiue ID is stored on the client side for the lifetime of a session. Without this ID would affect the functionality of our site, meaning if you were to add items to your shopping basket for example, the site would not remember what was added and thus you then would not be able to place an order with us.|
|__utma||This cookie is typically written to the browser upon the first visit to our site from that web browser. If the cookie has been deleted by the browser operator, and the browser subsequently visits your site, a new __utma cookie is written with a different unique ID. This cookie is used to determine unique visitors to our site and it is updated with each page view. Additionally, this cookie is provided with a unique ID that Google Analytics uses to ensure both the validity and accessibility of the cookie as an extra security measure.|
|__utmb / __utmc||__utmb takes a timestamp of the exact moment in time when a visitor enters a site, while __utmc takes a timestamp of the exact moment in time when a visitor leaves a site. __utmb expires at the end of the session. __utmc waits 30 minutes, and then it expires. You see, __utmc has no way of knowing when a user closes their browser or leaves a website, so it waits 30 minutes for another pageview to happen, and if it doesn’t, it expires.|
|__utmz||Keeps track of where the visitor came from, what search engine you used, what link you clicked on, what keyword you used, and where they were in the world when you accessed a website. It expires in 15,768,000 seconds – or, in 6 months. This cookie is how Google Analytics knows to whom and to what source / medium / keyword to assign the credit for a Goal Conversion or an Ecommerce Transaction.|
|__utmt_gwo||Indicates the type of request, which is one of: event, transaction, item, or custom variable. If this value is not present in the GIF request, the request is typed as page.|
|_ga||Google Analytics is Google's analytics tool that helps website and app owners to understand how their visitors engage with their properties. It may use a set of cookies to collect information and report website usage statistics without personally identifying individual visitors to Google. The main cookie used by Google Analytics is the ‘__ga’ cookie.|
|__gat||This is used by Google to throttle request rates - limiting the collection of data on high traffic sites. It expires after 10 minutes.|
|__atuvc / __atuvs||These cookie is associated with the AddThis social sharing widget which is commonly embedded in websites to enable visitors to share content with a range of networking and sharing platforms. It stores an updated page share count.|
|__zlcmid||This cookie is used by Zopim chat software to provide support for new and existing customers.|
|mp_c98053b15e4e8ad668880b2cc95f38a4_mixpanel||This cookie is used by Trustpilot for review tracking.|