What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small text file that is sent from a web server and is stored on your computer or mobile phone's hard disk. This text file contains data that allows the website to store information about your visit and can be used for a number of purposes including knowing which shopping cart is yours or whether you are logged etc.
Each website can send its own cookie(s) to your browser if your browser's preferences allow it, but (to protect your privacy) your browser only permits a website to access the cookies it has already sent to you, not the cookies sent to you by other websites.
Users have the opportunity to set their devices to accept all cookies, to notify them when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. If the browser for any reason does not accept the cookie this might disable some functionality of the website, such as logging in or adding items to a cart.
What do cookies do?
Cookies enable website publishers to do useful things such as see that a collection of page requests all come from the same browser (visitor). A cookie containing a random number is established as the first page loads, then as another page is requested the server can detect the cookie and know it's the same visitor. This allows us to do useful things like know which visitor owns a certain shopping cart, or whether a user is logged in to a customer account etc.
What cookies do we use?
On Populate based websites including populate.it the following cookies are used:
- populate_CUID : populateSession cookie: this cookie is only established if required by user interaction, this could be logging into a customer account, adding goods to a shopping system, or changing a view preference such as items per section. The information stored in the cookie is a randomly generated 32 character text string.
- populate_CSUID : Populate secure session cookie: this cookie is the same as above but is https only for improved security.
- populate_BC : Breadcrumb cookie: This cookie is used to store the route into a page or product in order to accurately render back buttons and a path back where the user came from. The information in this cookie is a series of delimited page IDs that relate to the pages that the visitor has previously visited within the current site.
- __utma, __utmb, __utmc, __utmz : Google analytics. At the time of writing Analytics uses four cookies that are used to track visits to the site. This allows us to see the number of visits, where the visitor is roughly geographically located, where the visit came from etc. We use this service in order to refine, update and improve our website(s) and judge the value of a visit. All of the cookie contain a random string that identifies the visit.
- populateCookiesAccepted : We currenlty have an opt-in policy for cookies on our site. If a users opts in a cookie is set called 'populateCookiesAccepted' this then lets subsequent pages establish cookies as they need to including the analytics cookies.