Understanding cookies

What cookies are and how they help to personalise your browsing experience (they’re inedible)

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What is a cookie?

There’s a lot of confusion about cookies, but in fact they’re quite simple to understand. Each one is a small piece of information that's dropped onto your computer from sites you visit. They help the sites you visit remember you when you go back again and are the reason your browsing experience sometimes feels personal to you.

How they work

Different cookies remember different things - for example, your settings, if you logged in, what adverts you’ve seen and the ones you’ve clicked on. By referring to this information, a site can tailor the things it shows you to reflect what it knows about you.

Controlling and managing cookies

Not everybody likes the idea of sites storing information in their browser. If you’re one of them, you can in most cases (depending on your browser) change your cookie preferences. Instead of accepting all cookies, you can decide to accept just certain types, or even none at all.

But before you turn off all cookies, please bear in mind that cookies are very much a part of today’s internet, and turning them off will lock you out of many of the internet’s most popular sites.

To find out how to control cookies in the browser you use, please read this guide at aboutcookies.org.

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