Cookies are small files sent by web servers to your web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome) and stored on your computer’s hard drive.
The information is then sent back to the server each time the browser loads a website page from the same server. This enables a web server to identify and track individual web browsers.
There are two main kinds of cookies: session cookies and persistent cookies. Session cookies are deleted from your computer when you close your browser, whereas persistent cookies remain stored on your computer until deleted, or until they reach their expiry date.
DCOonline.org.uk uses the following cookies which help us to improve our website experience. By using our website you are consenting to these cookies being placed on your browser, however you can disable them using your browser settings. Details of how to do this are listed below.
Google Analytics cookies
DCOonline.org.uk uses Google Analytics to analyse the use of this website. Google Analytics generates statistical and other information about website use by means of cookies, which are stored on your computer. Although these cookies are not essential to the core function of the website, they are useful in enabling the practice to measure the performance of our website, enabling us to improve our online experience for patients.
When you arrive on our website Google Analytics will place the following four cookies on your computer:
Purpose: identifying unique visitors
The _utma cookie
The _utma cookie helps us to identify whether you’re a new or returning visitor, or how long it has been since you last visited our site. This helps us to identify what content is most useful for each type of visitor and to assess whether our website is successful at providing useful content that means people want to come back. It’s what is called a persistent cookie, which means it doesn’t expire and stays on your computer unless you choose to delete it.
_utmb & _utmc cookies
Purpose: determining visitor session
The _utmb and _utmc cookies work together to calculate the time you spent on our website. The _utmb cookie takes a timestamp of the exact time you enter our site, and the utmc cookie takes a timestamp of the exact time you leave. Both the _utmb and _utmc cookies are ‘session’ cookies, and mean they expire at the end of your session.
The information they provide helps us to understand whether pages are useful and engaging. For example, if 50 people visit a page and the average time on the page is just five seconds, we know that page is not very useful and people do not find the page interesting. If the page has an average visit time of 2 minutes we can see the content is working and can use this information to help us improve content on pages which are underperforming.
Purpose: tracking traffic sources and navigation
If you reach our site via a search engine, direct link, or ad that links to your page, Google Analytics stores the type of referral information in the _utmz cookie. This provides us with the search term you typed into your search engine; which site you were on before you arrived at our website; if the link was in an email, which email you received; if you clicked on an advert; or if you typed our web address directly into your browser. The expiration date for the cookie is set as 6 months into the future. This cookie gets updated with each subsequent page you visit, and is therefore the cookie used to determine which pages you have visited on our site.
Browser cookie settings
If you would like to prevent cookies from being set by this, or any other website, then enter the following into Google: ‘How to change cookie settings in [my browser]‘ (substitute [my browser] for ‘internet explorer’ or ‘firefox’ depending which browser you use) to find up to date instructions to change your browser’s cookie settings.
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