What are Cookies
Cookies are small text files that are created by a web server and stored on your computer when you visit a website. They don’t do anything i.e. they are not executable code and can only be read by (you and) the website that created them. You can view and edit the cookies on your computer like any other text file using a text editor (the contents are usually just strings of unique identifiers and date/timestamps). The website that created the cookie can read the contents when you are at their website.
Cookies are widely used across the internet: you are likely to have hundreds of cookies on your computer at any one time. Each browser has its own set of cookies so, if you run multiple browsers, you will have multiple sets of cookies on your computer.
In the past, cookies have had some bad press. Much was due to a general misunderstanding of what cookies are and how they work but some was due to justifiable privacy concerns relating to 3rd party tracking cookies. These cookies are used by advertising websites and track a web user across multiple sites. The good news is that all modern browsers allow you to easily block 3rd party cookies. Apparatus does not use any 3rd party cookies.
- To identify what site referred the visitor to the Apparatus website. This information is used to help us manage our affiliate and advertising programmes.
- To record analytics data. This data is captured anonymously, aggregated and made available to us (and only us) via the Google Analytics tools. We use this data to analyse how visitors interact with our website. This helps us to continually improve our website and products by allowing us to better understand what content and products visitors want.
- You may block and/or remove any of the Soap Media cookies using the capabilities of your browser.
All cookies have a defined lifespan: some cookies are short-lived ‘session’ cookies and are automatically deleted from your browser’s memory when you close your browser. The Apparatus form cookie is a session cookie. Other cookies are ‘persistent’ and have an expiry date which will typically be anything from a few minutes to several months after their creation date, depending on their purpose. When the expiry date is reached your browser will automatically delete the cookie. Google Analytics uses both session and persistent cookies.
So, cookies will be automatically deleted when they reach the end of the lifespan. To remove session cookies all you need to do is close your browser. If you wish to remove persistent cookies from your computer before their expiry date you can easily do so from within your browser.
All the major browsers allow you to block cookies and delete those that have already been created on your computer, usually within the ‘Tools’ section of the browser. These tools allow you to specify which cookies you will accept by type and often by specific websites using an exception list e.g. you can block all cookies and then list the website from which you will accept cookies. There are also a wide choice of browser add-ins that you can install if you wish greater control over persistent cookies.
Details of how to use browser tools to delete cookies can be found here: Google help on deleting cookies.
More information about Google Analytics cookies can be found here: Google Analytics Cookies.