What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small file that can be placed on your device that allows us to recognise and remember you. It is sent to your browser and stored on your computer’s hard drive or tablet or mobile device. When you visit our sites, we may collect information from you automatically through cookies or similar technology.
Keeping you signed in
Understanding how you use our site
Showing you journalism that is relevant to you
Showing you Guardian products and services that are relevant to you
Working with partners to serve you relevant advertising
Ultimately, this allows us to publish the journalism that you read on our sites and apps.
Other organisations also collect user information on our sites through cookies, tags and pixels. Tags and pixels, also known as web beacons, are similar to cookies but are collected through embedded images.
Using cookies and other technology allows other organisations to help us to analyse how our site is being used, measure the number of visitors to the site, and display advertising.
What types of cookies do we use ?
We use four types of cookies, which we describe in this section.
Essential – cookies that are essential to provide you with services you have requested. For example, these include the cookies that make it possible for you to stay logged into your Guardian account and make comments. If you set your browser to block these cookies, then these functions and services will not work for you. In particular, we won’t be able to save your preferences about cookies.
Performance - cookies which measure how often you visit our sites and how you use them. We use this information to get a better sense of how our users engage with our journalism and to improve our sites and apps, so that users have a better experience. For example, we collect information about which of our pages are most frequently visited, and by which types of users. We also use third-party cookies to help with performance. For example, the Google Analytics cookie gives us information such as your journey between pages and whether you have downloaded anything (details of how to opt out of it are below).
Functionality – cookies that are used to recognise you and remember your preferences or settings when you return to our site, so that we can provide you with a more personalised experience. For example, if you are based in the United Kingdom, we will remember this and make sure that you receive the UK homepage when you visit our site, rather than the US or Australia homepage. A mix of first-party and third-party cookies are used.
Advertising – cookies that are used to collect information about your visit to our site, the content you have viewed, the links you have followed and information about your browser, device and your IP address. We have set out more details on this below.