What are cookies?

Cookies are text files containing small amounts of information which are stored on your device when you visit a website. Cookies are read by the originating website on each subsequent visit, or by another website that recognises the cookie.

The purpose of cookies is to make websites work most effectively for you as the user, by allowing website functionality and providing information to the website’s owners. Examples of website cookie use include:

  • Keeping items in a shopping basket when you are browsing an online store
  • Storing logins for your online account details
  • Storing website information preferences (e.g. your location)

What types of cookies are there?

Cookies can be broken down into two main types: first-party and third-party.

  • A cookie is first-party if set by the website (domain) being visited.
  • A cookie is classed as third-party if it is issued by a different website (domain) to that being visited.

Each cookie will be either a persistent cookie or a session cookie.

  • Persistent cookies remain on a user’s device for the period of time specified in the cookie (which may be after the browser has been closed).
  • Session cookies allow website operators to link the actions of a user during a browser session. A browser session starts when a user opens the browser window and finishes when they close the browser window. Once you close the browser, all session cookies are deleted.

Cookies can also be broken down into categories, according to their purpose. The cookies that are used on Towergate websites are based on the International Chamber of Commerce guide for cookie categories:

  • Category 1: Strictly necessary cookies - These cookies enable services you have specifically asked for.
  • Category 2: Performance cookies - These cookies collect anonymous information on the pages visited.
  • Category 3: Functionality cookies - These cookies remember choices you make to improve your experience.
  • Category 4: Targeting cookies or advertising cookies - These cookies collect information about your browsing habits in order to make advertising relevant to you and your interests.

Cookies used on, by category:

1. Strictly necessary cookies

  • ASP.NET_SessionId (First-party) General purpose platform session cookie, used by websites written with Microsoft .NET based technologies. Usually used to maintain an anonymised user session by the server.
  • _dc_gtm_UA-# (First-party) This cookie is associated with websites using Google Tag Manager to load other scripts and code into a page. Where it is used it may be regarded as Strictly Necessary as without it, other scripts may not function correctly. The end of the name is a unique number which is also an identifier for an associated Google Analytics account.
  • tgckelw (First-party) This cookie simply confirms that the website user has seen the cookie terms we’ve presented to them.
  • CookieConsent (First-party) This cookie stores the user's cookie consent state for the current domain.

2. Performance cookies

  • __utma, __utmb, __utmz, __utmt,__utmc (First-party) These are cookies set by Google Analytics which enables website owners to track visitor behaviour and measure website performance. It is used to calculate new and returning visitor statistics. The cookie is updated every time data is sent to Google Analytics.
  • _ga, _gid (First-party) This cookie is used to distinguish unique users by assigning a randomly generated number as a client identifier. It is included in each page request in a website and used to calculate visitor, session and campaign data for the website's analytics reports.
  • gat (First-party) Used by Google Analytics to throttle request rate
  • collect Used to send data to Google Analytics about the visitor's device and behaviour. Tracks the visitor across devices and marketing channels.
  • v.gif (First-party) Used by Visual Website Optimizer to run tests and to track user information for optimisation.
  • _vwo_uuid_v2 (First-party) This cookie name is associated with the product Visual Website Optimiser, by USA based Wingify. The tool helps website owners measure the performance of different versions of web pages. This cookie ensures a visitor always sees the same version of a page and is used to track behaviour to measure the performance of different page versions.
  • com.silverpop.iMA.page_visit, com.silverpop.iMA.session, com.silverpop.iMAWebCookie (First-party) These cookies are used to track visitors from Footman James emails.
  • __distillery (First-party) This cookie is used in context with a video-player, so that if the visitor is interrupted while viewing video content, the cookie remembers where to start the video when the visitor reloads the video.
  • VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE (First-party) Tries to estimate the users' bandwidth on pages with integrated YouTube videos.

3. Functionality cookies

  • Wisewords (First-party) This cookie acts as a counter for Feefo comments that allows them to be rotated. It just stores a number that is incremented to show different comments at different times.
  • gwcc (First-party) This cookie allows Google to track call conversions on mobile devices.
  • _hjIncludedInSample (First-party) Determines if the user's navigation should be registered in a certain statistical place holder.

4. Targeting cookies or advertising cookies

  • fr (Third-party) Facebook: Contains browser and user unique ID combination, used for targeted advertising.
  • MUIDB, MUID (Third-party) These cookies are used to track orders that were generated by searching activities on Bing. They collect information in an anonymous form by using a unique identifier. These cookies remain on your computer after the session has finished.
  • IDE (Third-party) Used by Google DoubleClick to register and report the website user's actions after viewing or clicking one of the advertiser's ads with the purpose of measuring the efficacy of an ad and to present targeted ads to the user. Third-party
  • __cfduid (Third-party) This cookie is set by the CloudFlare service to identify trusted web traffic. It does not correspond to any user id in the web application, nor does the cookie store any personally identifiable information.
  • ads/ga-audiences (Third-party) Used by Google AdWords to re-engage visitors that are likely to convert to customers based on the visitor's online behaviour across websites.
  • GPS (Third-party)Used by YouTube to register a unique ID on mobile devices to enable tracking based on geographical GPS location.
  • PREF (Third-party) Registers a unique ID that is used by Google to keep statistics of how the visitor uses YouTube videos across different websites. Third-party
    YSC Registers a unique ID to keep statistics of what videos from YouTube the user has seen.
  • test_cookie (Third-party) Used to check if the user's browser supports cookies. 
  • __widgetsettings (Third-party) Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.
  • _local_storage_support_test (Third-party) Twitter - pending

Why should I use cookies?

When you visit a Towergate website, we download a “cookie” to your computer. A cookie identifies your computer (by what is known as an IP address) to our server.

We use cookies to improve your browsing experience on Towergate websites. They allow you to browse our webpages and use all functionality, and see content that is more relevant to you. It also helps present the content most appropriately for the type of device you are using.

Cookies on Towergate websites collect information about how you are accessing and browsing them, such as the device and browser you are using and the IP address your device is accessing the internet from. The cookie enables us to retain your profile as you navigate our website, and prevents the need to re-collect information about you or your desired purchases.

Disabling session cookies will affect the performance and functionality of the website and disabling other cookies may also have an adverse impact on functionality.

What third-party cookies do you use?

If you use social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram these websites will use cookies to let you login to your account and share content from our websites with other users of the channels. We also use third-party cookies from third parties including Bing, DoubleClick, Google Analytics, Compliance, LivePerson, Feefo, Hotjar, Visual Website Optimiser, Silverpop and Google LeadServices.

These cookies do not allow us access to your accounts or provide us with any confidential information relating to your accounts. They do allow us to provide you with appropriate marketing ads via these social media channels.

Anonymous and pseudonymous cookie data

Most data stored by cookies placed by Towergate websites is anonymous, but there may be some occasions when, in order to provide the best website functionality, information is recorded in cookies that relate to you. This ‘pseudonymous’ information, however, is stored separately and securely on our systems, so that the data cannot be attributed to you.

We believe in protecting the personal information that you provide us with: see our fair processing notice for more information.

How do I accept cookies?

When you first visit one of our websites, you will see a message saying that we use cookies to improve your experience and some have already been set. This setting is designed to provide the best performance and functionality of our websites, in order to offer the best experience to you as the user.

If you are happy with this, you need not do anything.

Should you not wish to accept cookies, or change your mind at any point, read the section below on turning off your cookies.

How do I manage cookies?

If you do not wish to have cookies stored when you visit Towergate’s websites, you can adjust the settings of the browser you are setting.

Please note, however, that if you turn off your cookies it may make browsing Towergate’s websites much slower, and will affect performance and functionality. In particular, you will not be able to purchase products or request quotes online as the functionality for these require cookies that fall under the ‘strictly necessary’ cookies.

Guides on how to manage cookies for common browsers are linked below:

Read more about cookies or about online behavioural advertising.