What are cookies?

Cookies are harmless text files that web servers can store on your computer's hard drive when you visit a site. They allow the server to recognise you when you revisit.

There are 2 main types:

Transient (or per-session) cookies – these only exist for your site visit and are deleted on exit. They recognise you as you move between pages – eg, recording items added to an online shopping basket. These cookies also help maintain security.

Persistent (or permanent) cookies – these stay on your machine until expiry or deletion. Many are built with automatic deletion dates to help ensure your hard drive doesn't get overloaded. These cookies often store and re-enter your log-in information, so you don't need to remember membership details.

We use both types of cookie.

Additionally, cookies can be first- or third-party cookies. First-party cookies are owned and created by the website you're viewing. Third-party cookies are owned and created by an independent company, usually a company providing a service to the website owners.