What is a "Cookie"?

An HTTP cookie - commonly referred to as just "cookie" - is a parcel of text sent back and forth between a web browser and the server it accesses. Its original purpose was to provide a state management mechanism between a web browser and a web server. Without a cookie (or a similar solution), a web server cannot distinguish between different users, or determine any relationship between sequential page visits made by the same user. For this reason, cookies are used to differentiate one user from another and to pass information from page to page during a single user's website session. A web server uses cookies to collect data about a given browser, along with the information requested and sent by the browser's operator (the visitor). Cookies do not identify people, but rather they are defined themselves by a combination of a computer, a user account, and a browser.

Google Analytics Cookies

Google Analytics tracking (along with most web tracking software) uses cookies in order to provide meaningful reports about your visit to our site. However, Google Analytics cookies do not collect personal data about you.

Google Analytics uses cookies to define user sessions, as well as to provide a number of key features in the Google Analytics reports. Google Analytics sets or updates cookies only to collect data required for the reports. Additionally, Google Analytics uses only first-party cookies. This means that all cookies set by Google Analytics for the domain send data only to the servers for that domain. This effectively means that the data cannot be altered or retrieved by any service on another domain.

The four Google analytics cookies deployed on the website are as follows: 

Name

Description

Expiration

__utma

This cookie is typically written to the browser upon your first visit to our sitefrom that web browser. If the cookie has been deleted by the browser operator,  and the browser subsequently visits our site, a new __utma cookie is written with a different unique ID. This cookie is used to determine unique visitors to our site and it is updated with each page view. Additionally, this cookie is provided with a unique ID that Google Analytics uses to ensure both the validity and accessibility of the cookie as an extra security measure.

2 years from set/update.

__utmb

This cookie is used to establish and continue a user session with our site. When a user views a page on our site, the Google Analytics code attempts to update this cookie. If it does not find the cookie, a new one is written and a new session is established. Each time a user visits a different page on the site, this cookie is updated to expire in 30 minutes, thus continuing a single session for as long as user activity continues within 30-minute intervals. This cookie expires when a user pauses on a page on the site for longer than 30 minutes.

30 minutes from set/update.

__utmc

This cookie is occasionally used to determine session status.

Historically, this cookie operated in conjunction with the __utmb cookie to determine whether or not to establish a new session for the user. For backwards compatibility purposes with sites still using the urchin.js tracking code, this cookie will continue to be written and will expire when the user exits the browser.

Not set.

__utmz

This cookie stores the type of referral used by you to reach our site, whether via a direct method, a referring link, a website search, or a campaign such as an ad or an email link. The cookie is updated with each page view.

6 months from set/update

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