What are Cookies?
Cookies are indispensable for websites that require logins, have customisable themes and other advanced features.
Cookies usually don't contain much information except for the url of the website that created the cookie, the duration of the cookie's abilities and effects, and a random number. Due to the little amount of information a cookie contains, it usually cannot be used to reveal your identity or personally identifying information.
Why Are Cookies Needed?
There are many uses for cookies, but they fit mainly into the following: -
- They provide essential features for the website. i.e.
- Keep you logged in to the site once you've logged on with your details.
- It makes sure all items you've added to your basket are there when you reach the checkout.
- Improving your user experience with the site
- Website Analytics
This cookie is used to identify you as a user between page loads. This allows the site to remember certain settings, like which part of the website you were using before you were asked to sign in or register. This cookie is destroyed each time you close your browser.
This is a unique id linking your web browser visit to the site to your particular user settings. This includes settings such as your country, language and currency as well as any items you may add to the basket. The items you add to the basket are stored in a database on our secure server. This cookie is available for 3 years so you can return anytime to the site and still have your settings and items you have added to the site available.
The site uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. Google Analytics set a number of cookies in order to show how people found your site, how they explored it, and how you can enhance their visitor experience.
Google stores the information collected by the cookie on servers in the United States. Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google's behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.
When someone visits a website coded with Google Analytics Tracking Code, that website sets four first-party cookies on the visitor’s computer automatically.
A “first-party cookie” is a cookie that is set by that same website. This term exists because there are also “third-party cookies”, which are cookies that are set by other third party websites (you don’t even need to visit that third party website to have a cookie set – don’t worry, Google Analytics ONLY uses first-party cookies).
This cookie is what’s called a “persistent” cookie, as in, it never expires (technically, it does expire…in the year 2038…but for the sake of explanation, let’s pretend that it never expires, ever). This cookie keeps track of the number of times a visitor has been to the site pertaining to the cookie, when their first visit was, and when their last visit occurred. Google Analytics uses the information from this cookie to calculate things like Days and Visits to purchase.
The B and C cookies are brothers, working together to calculate how long a visit takes. __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.
This cookie 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. __utmz also lets you edit its length with a simple customization to the Google Analytics Tracking code.
If you are making use of the user-defined report in Google Analytics, and have coded something on your site for some custom segmentation, the __utmv cookie gets set on the person’s computer, so that Google Analytics knows how to classify that visitor. The __utmv cookie is also a persistent, lifetime cookie.
What if Someone Deletes These Cookies from their Computers?
Unfortunately, you cannot do anything about someone deleting their cookies from their computers. The __utmb and __utmc cookies are gone before you know it, but the __utma, __utmz, and __utmv cookie (when applicable) will remain for a long period of time. Whenever someone deletes the __utma cookie, they are in essence deleting their history with your website. When they visit your website again, they are considered a brand-new visitor, just as they were the first time they came around.