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Working with cookies and similar technologies
Cookies are small data files that a website sends to a user’s computer. They’re used to store information about how users browse a website.
- use as few cookies as possible, and stop setting any cookies that aren’t needed anymore
- store the smallest amount of information that you need, for as short a time as necessary
- tell users that you’re using cookies
How to tell users about cookies
When telling users that you’re using cookies, you must:
- display a banner telling users that you’re using cookies
The policy must be written in plain English and it must explain:
- the cookies you use on your service
- what each cookie does
- how long you store each cookie
- how users can remove cookies and stop cookies being set on their device
- the footer of your website or service
- a cookie banner
Displaying a cookie banner
You must tell users that your website service is using cookies by displaying a cookie banner on their first visit.
For GOV.UK services, use the service name in the cookie banner. That way users will know that the cookies you’re talking about are different from the ones set by the main GOV.UK site.
Where to apply cookies
Cookies must only apply to your originating domain name. For example, www.servicename.service.gov.uk not .gov.uk.
You might find the guidance on choosing digital analytics tools useful.
- Published by:
- Technology community (technical architecture)
- Last update:
Guidance first published