Are you having trouble ordering or checking out? For your privacy and safety our website uses the latest up to date software. To minimise issues with compatibility and ease of use, please ensure your internet browser is up to date and you have cookies enabled. To read more on what cookies are and how they work please read more below.
What are internet Cookies
Cookies are small files which are stored on a user’s computer. They are designed to hold a modest amount of data specific to a particular client and website, and can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer. This allows the server to deliver a page tailored to a particular user, or the page itself can contain some script which is aware of the data in the cookie and so is able to carry information from one visit to the website (or related site) to the next.
Are Cookies Enabled in my Browser?
To check whether your browser is configured to allow cookies, visit the Cookie checker. This page will attempt to create a cookie and report on whether or not it succeeded.
For information on how to enable or disable cookies, see ‘Enabling cookies‘.
For information on how to delete and clear cookies, see ‘Deleting cookies‘.
Can I see/view the cookies I have on my computer?
Most browsers have a configuration screen which allows the user to see what cookies have been stored on the computer, and optionally to delete them. For more information, see the viewing cookies page.
Note that it is not possible for a webpage to view cookies set by other sites, as this would represent a privacy and security problem.
What’s in a Cookie?
Each cookie is effectively a small lookup table containing pairs of (key, data) values – for example (firstname, John) (lastname, Smith). Once the cookie has been read by the code on the server or client computer, the data can be retrieved and used to customise the web page appropriately.
When are Cookies Created?
Writing data to a cookie is usually done when a new webpage is loaded – for example after a ‘submit’ button is pressed the data handling page would be responsible for storing the values in a cookie. If the user has elected to disable cookies then the write operation will fail, and subsequent sites which rely on the cookie will either have to take a default action, or prompt the user to re-enter the information that would have been stored in the cookie.
Why are Cookies Used?
Cookies are a convenient way to carry information from one session on a website to another, or between sessions on related websites, without having to burden a server machine with massive amounts of data storage. Storing the data on the server without using cookies would also be problematic because it would be difficult to retrieve a particular user’s information without requiring a login on each visit to the website.
If there is a large amount of information to store, then a cookie can simply be used as a means to identify a given user so that further related information can be looked up on a server-side database. For example the first time a user visits a site they may choose a username which is stored in the cookie, and then provide data such as password, name, address, preferred font size, page layout, etc. – this information would all be stored on the database using the username as a key. Subsequently when the site is revisited the server will read the cookie to find the username, and then retrieve all the user’s information from the database without it having to be re-entered.
How Long Does a Cookie Last?
The time of expiry of a cookie can be set when the cookie is created. By default the cookie is destroyed when the current browser window is closed, but it can be made to persist for an arbitrary length of time after that.
Who Can Access Cookies?
When a cookie is created it is possible to control its visibility by setting its ‘root domain’. It will then be accessible to any URL belonging to that root. For example the root could be set to “whatarecookies.com” and the cookie would then be available to sites in “www.whatarecookies.com” or “xyz.whatarecookies.com” or “whatarecookies.com”. This might be used to allow related pages to ‘communicate’ with each other. It is not possible to set the root domain to ‘top level’ domains such as ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’ since this would allow widespread access to the cookie.
By default cookies are visible to all paths in their domains, but at the time of creation they can be restricted to a given sub-path – for example “www.whatarecookies.com/images”.
How Secure are Cookies?
There is a lot of concern about privacy and security on the internet. Cookies do not in themselves present a threat to privacy, since they can only be used to store information that the user has volunteered or that the web server already has. Whilst it is possible that this information could be made available to specific third party websites, this is no worse than storing it in a central database. If you are concerned that the information you provide to a web-server will not be treated as confidential then you should question whether you actually need to provide that information at all.
What are Tracking Cookies?
Some commercial websites include embedded advertising material which is served from a third-party site, and it is possible for such adverts to store a cookie for that third-party site, containing information fed to it from the containing site – such information might include the name of the site, particular products being viewed, pages visited, etc. When the user later visits another site containing a similar embedded advert from the same third-party site, the advertiser will be able to read the cookie and use it to determine some information about the user’s browsing history. This enables publishers to serve adverts targeted at a user’s interests, so in theory having a greater chance of being relevant to the user. However, many people see such ‘tracking cookies’ as an invasion of privacy since they allow an advertiser to build up profiles of users without their consent or knowledge.
How to enable cookies in your browser
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 – 11.0
Select the ‘Tools->Internet Options’ menu item, and then open the ‘Privacy’ tab – you can then adjust the slider to block or allow various categories of cookie. Alternatively by clicking ‘Advanced…’ you can exercise finer control over the browser’s behaviour, choosing whether to accept, block, or prompt for cookies originating either on the website you are visiting (first party cookies) or originating from websites other than the one you are visiting (third party cookies, typically used by banner advertisements hosted on an advertiser’s website).
Microsoft Edge – Windows 10
In Edge, click the three dots/lines button in the top right corner, then select ‘settings’ and ‘view advanced settings’. In the Cookies section you can choose whether to allow or block cookies from various sources.
Firefox 7.0 and newer
Use the ‘Tools->Options’ menu item (may be under the Firefox button or ‘parallel lines’ menu button), then choose the ‘Privacy’ tab. Set the ‘Firefox will:’ option to ‘Use custom settings for history’. Now you can choose whether cookies are enabled for websites you visit and third party websites, and if so how long they will persist. You can also use the ‘Exceptions’ button to override the settings for particular websites.
Use the ‘Tools->Options’ menu item, then choose the ‘Privacy’ tab. Here you can choose whether cookies are enabled, and if so how long they will persist. You can also use the ‘Exceptions’ button to override the settings for particular websites.
Click the ‘parallel bars’ menu button, choose the ‘Settings’ option, then scroll down and click the ‘Advanced’ link. Alternatively for older versions of Chrome choose ‘Options’ on the ‘Customise and control’ menu, then open the ‘Under the Bonnet’ tab. In the ‘Privacy and security’ section, click on the ‘Content settings…’ button and then the ‘Cookies’ option. Set the required cookie behaviour – add URLs to the ‘Block’, Clear on Exit’ and ‘Allow’ sections to configure cookie behaviour for specific websites.
Choose ‘Preferences…’ on the ‘Settings’ or ‘Edit’ menu (Windows) or the Safari menu (MacOS), then open the ‘Privacy’ tab. Now set the required cookie behaviour.
Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad)
From the home screen tap the ‘Settings’ icon, then choose ‘Safari’. Find the ‘Accept Cookies’ option and set the required cookie behaviour.
Tap the ‘Internet’ icon to start the browser, then press the phone’s menu button. From the list of options, choose ‘More’, and then select ‘Settings’, then ‘Privacy and Security’. Scroll down the resulting list and check or uncheck the ‘Accept Cookies’ item.
Start Chrome, then open the options menu and scroll down to ‘Settings’, followed by ‘Site settings’. You can now choose whether to allow sites to save and read cookie data.
Windows Phone 10
In the Edge Browser, tap ‘…’ then ‘Settings’. Click on ‘View advanced settings’ then scroll down to the Cookies section, where you can select the required cookie behaviour.
Windows Phone 7/8
In Internet Explorer tap ‘More…’ then ‘Settings’. Check or clear the ‘Allow cookies on my phone’ item to set the required cookie behaviour.
Open the browser from the home screen, then press the Menu key, followed by ‘Options’. Under ‘Privacy & Security’ you can choose whether or not to ‘Accept Cookies’. Press the Menu key and select ‘Save’ to save your selection.
Note: Disabling cookies will prevent some websites from working correctly, and may mean that you are prompted to re-enter information that would normally have been stored in a cookie.