Cookies: Frequently Asked Questions & How Does The Pub History Society use them?

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a piece of information in the form of a very small text file that is placed on an internet user's hard drive. It is generated by a web page server, which is basically the computer that operates a web site. The information the cookie contains is set by the server and it can be used by that server whenever the user visits the site. A cookie can be thought of as an internet user's identification card, which tell a web site when the user has returned.

What does a cookie look like?

Below is the content of a typical cookie. This one is from the Hotmail service and has the filename jss@hotmail.msn.txt (.txt is the standard filename extension for text files):
HMP1 1 hotmail.msn.com/ 0 1715191808
32107852 1236821008 29449527 *

The codes will only make sense to Microsoft's MSN Hotmail servers.

History of cookies

Cookies for the internet were originally developed in 1995 by the Netscape Communications Corporation. The word 'cookie' comes from 'magic cookie,' a term in programming languages for a piece of information shared between co-operating pieces of software. The choice of the word cookie appears to come from the American tradition of giving and sharing edible cookies.

What is the purpose of cookies?

Cookies make the interaction between users and web sites faster and easier. Without cookies, it would be very difficult for a web site to allow a visitor to fill up a shopping cart or to remember the user's preferences or registration details for a future visit.

Web sites use cookies mainly because they save time and make the browsing experience more efficient and enjoyable. Web sites often use cookies for the purposes of collecting demographic information about their users.

Cookies enable web sites to monitor their users' web surfing habits and profile them for marketing purposes (for example, to find out which products or services they are interested in and send them targeted advertisements).

Are there different types of cookies?

Yes there are a number of different Cookies:

Session, or transient cookies

Cookies that are stored in the computer's memory only during a user's browsing session and are automatically deleted from the user's computer when the browser is closed.

These cookies usually store a session ID that is not personally identifiable to users, allowing the user to move from page to page without having to log-in repeatedly. They are widely used by commercial web sites (for example, to keep track of items that a consumer has added to a shopping cart).

Session cookies are never written on the hard drive and they do not collect any information from the user's computer. Session cookies expire at the end of the user's browser session and can also become no longer accessible after the session has been inactive for a specified length of time, usually 20 minutes.

Permanent, persistent, or stored cookies

Cookies that are stored on the user's computer and are not deleted when the browser is closed. Permanent cookies can retain user preferences for a particular web site, allowing those preferences to be used in future browsing sessions.

Permanent cookies can be used to identify individual users, so they may be used by web sites to analyse users' surfing behaviour within the web site. These cookies can also be used to provide information about numbers of visitors, the average time spent on a particular page and generally the performance of the web site. They are usually configured to keep track of users for a prolonged period of time, in some cases many years into the future.

Flash cookies

If you have Adobe Flash installed on your computer (most computers do), small files may be stored on your computer by websites that contain Flash media, such as video clips. These files are known as Local Shared Objects (LSOs) or Flash cookies. They can be used for the same purposes as regular cookies (properly called HTTP cookies).

Flash cookies can also back up the data that is stored in a regular cookie. When you delete cookies using your browser controls, your Flash cookies are not affected. So a website that served a cookie to you may recognise you on your next visit if it backed up its now-deleted cookie data to a Flash cookie.

You can control Flash cookies. Adobe's website offers tools to control Flash cookies on your computer and users of the Firefox browser can also get an add-on to detect and delete Flash cookies.

Are cookies dangerous?

No. Cookies are small pieces of text. They are not computer programs, and they can't be executed as code. Also, they cannot be used to disseminate viruses, and modern versions of both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape browsers allow users to set their own limitations to the number of cookies saved on their hard drives.

How does The Pub History Society use cookies?

The Pub History Society (PHS) uses and third party Statistic Counter (StatCounter). This cookie monitors the visitor use of the PHS web site. It shows where you came from i.e. a Google search or link from another site. It shows what pages you have viewed and if you have downloaded and of the FREE information PDF’s on the site.

The PHS social media sites, Facebook have their own cookies by default. Cookie Information from these sites is not used by the PHS.

How is this information used?

The StatCounter allows the PHS to see if you are landing on the most appropriate page for your search and gives a basic feedback on new and returning visitors. It also gives an indication of your graphical location however is doesn’t us who you are.

Social Media Cookies form a part of the social media accounts. By having your own Social Media account you are agreeing to the social media terms and conditions. The PHS does use a separate tracking counter for the use of their members area accounts..

Members Area

If you are a member of the PHS then a session cookies are used to verify you're login and will allow you to view the member’s area content. If you block cookies then you may need to make the PHS to adjust your browser setting to allow cookies to full use the PHS website.

Does The Pub History Society sell cookie information?

NO! Please be assured that information from the StatCounter and the PHS members area is for the PHS use only and the information it provides is not sold or seen by others.

Can I block cookies from this site?

The simple answer is yes. There is a number of things you can do. Firstly you can view your own PC setting internet option and browser setting. The internet options setting can be found on Windows PCís by going to the Control panel / internet options. Select Privacy / Advanced and you can then change the Cookies from the general default to accept to Prompt. If however you are a PHS member then to access the PHS members area you must accept cookies for this site to view the members area content otherwise you may not be able to login.

The PHS uses StatCounter to record viewer visits and changing your setting you can block many programs like this. Websites donít have to display hit rates but that doesnít mean that they are not running a StatCounter in the background. If you feel you would like to remove you PC from being recorded by StatCounter you can by following this link button below.



More information about Cookies and how and why they are used can be found here: Aboutcookies.org

New EU cookie law (e-Privacy Directive) Information Commissioners Office (ico)

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