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Details about cookies on GOV.UK

GOV.UK puts small files (known as ‘cookies’) onto your computer to collect information about how you browse the site. Find out more about the cookies we use, what they’re for and when they expire.

Cookies that measure website use

We use Google Analytics software (Universal Analytics) to collect anonymised information about how you use GOV.UK. We do this to help make sure the site is meeting the needs of its users and to help us make improvements to the site and to government digital services.

We do not allow Google to use or share the data about how you use this site.

Google Analytics stores information about:

  • how you got to the site
  • the pages you visit on GOV.UK and how long you spend on them
  • what you click on while you’re visiting the site

Google Analytics sets the following cookies:

Name Purpose Expires
_ga This helps us count how many people visit this site by tracking if you’ve visited before 2 years
_gid This helps us count how many people visit this site by tracking if you’ve visited before 1 day
_gat Used to manage the rate at which page view requests are made 1 minute

Session cookies

We store session cookies on your computer to help keep your information secure.

Name Purpose Expires
sessionid This is set to identify your session 2 weeks
csrftoken Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) protection 1 month

Cookies that help with our communications and marketing

Some GOV.UK pages may contain content from other sites, like YouTube or Flickr, which may set their own cookies. These sites are sometimes called ‘third party’ services. This tells us how many people are seeing the content and whether it’s useful.

In addition, if you share a link to a GOV.UK page, the service you share it on (for example, Facebook) may set a cookie. We have no control over cookies set on other websites - you can turn them off, but not through us.

Cookies message

You may see a banner when you visit GOV.UK inviting you to accept cookies or review your settings. We’ll set cookies so that your computer knows you’ve seen it and not to show it again, and also to store your settings.

Name Purpose Expires
cookies_policy Saves your cookie consent settings 1 year
cookie_preferences_set Lets us know that you’ve saved your cookie consent settings 1 year

Change your settings

You can change which cookies you’re happy for us to use.

Last updated 1 July 2021

Elsewhere on the web

Information Commissioner's Office: cookies