What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files that web sites often store on the computer of visitors to their sites. They are widely used in order to make web sites work, or work better, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. A cookie often contains a unique number, which can be used to recognise your computer when a user of your computer returns to a website that it visited previously.
You have probably already come across cookies before when a website has remembered a setting you changed last time (e.g background colour or font size) or the website has had some of the information already filled in (e.g. Facebook login). This isn’t by magic nor does the website know really know you are. The website is just accessing ‘cookie’ to pull this information.
Types of cookies
There are two broad types of cookies - 'first party cookies' and 'third party cookies':
First party cookies are cookies that are served directly by the website operator to your computer, and are often used to recognise your computer when it revisits that site and to remember your preferences as you browse the site.
Third party cookies are served by a service provider on behalf of the website operator, and can be used by the service provider to recognise your computer when it visits other web sites. Third party cookies are most commonly used for web site analytics or advertising purposes.
In addition, cookies may be either 'session cookies' or 'persistent cookies'. Your computer automatically removes session cookies once you close your browser. Persistent cookies will survive on your computer until an expiry date specified in the cookie itself, is reached.
We use the categorisation set out by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in their UK Cookie Guide, produced in April 2012. The guide is available to download (link is external) in PDF format (290KB).
The guide identifies four categories of cookies, outlined below:
Strictly necessary cookies:
These cookies are essential for the user to move around the website and to use its features, e.g. shopping baskets and e-billing.
These cookies collect information about how the user makes use of the site, e.g. which pages the user visits most.
These cookies do not collect information that identifies the user.
These cookies remember choices made by the user and enhance the features, e.g. language or users location.
This cookie is also used to remember a user's preferences for a font size, or customisable parts of a web page.
Targeting or advertising cookies:
These cookies collect information about the users' browsing habits.
This may also include links to social media sites, e.g. Facebook, etc.
The vast majority of Friends of Storeton Woods web sites use only category 1 and 2 cookies, apart from three web sites which uses all four cookie categories.