We sometimes place small data files on your computer. These are known as cookies. Most websites do this.

They improve things by:

  • remembering settings, so you don’t have to keep re-entering them whenever you visit a new page
  • remembering information you’ve given (eg your postcode) so you don’t need to keep entering it
  • measuring how you use the website so we can make sure it meets your needs

Our cookies aren’t used to identify you personally. They’re just here to make the site work better for you. Indeed, you can manage and/or delete these small files as you wish.

Find out more about how to manage cookies. Or please read on to find out more about how and where we use cookies.

How we use cookies

GOV.UK blogs use cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Optional cookies

These cookies can be turned on or off using the Cookies panel. To access the panel, navigate to the bottom of the page and select the Cookies icon.

Measuring website usage (Google Analytics)

We use Google Analytics to collect information about how people use this site. We do this to make sure it’s meeting its users’ needs and to understand how we could do it better.

Google Analytics stores information about what pages you visit, how long you are on the site, how you got here and what you click on. We do not collect or store your personal information (e.g. your name or address) so this information cannot be used to identify who you are. We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data.

The following cookies are set by Google Analytics.

Name Purpose Expires
_ga This randomly generated number is used to determine unique visitors to our site 2 years
_gid This randomly generated number is used to determine unique visitors to our site 24 hours
_gat This randomly generated number is used to reduce the number of requests made 1 minute

You can opt out of Google Analytics cookies by visiting this page on Google.

Necessary cookies

These essential cookies do things like remember your progress through a form. They always need to be on.

Remembering if you’ve seen our introductory message

On your first visit to a GOV.UK blog, you may be greeted by a pop-up message that welcomes you and provides information about the site. We’ll store a cookie so that your computer knows you’ve seen it and knows not to show it again (and again...).

Name Purpose Expires
gds_seen_cookie_message Saves a message to let us know that you have seen our cookie message 90 days

Saving the details you put in comment forms

When you first leave a comment on a GOV.UK blog, you'll be asked to enter your name, email address and a website URL. So you don’t have to enter these again for subsequent comments, we save them in a cookie and fill the form in for you.

Name Purpose Expires
comment_author_[hash] Saves the name you enter into the comment form 1 year
comment_author_email_[hash] Saves the email address you enter into the comment form 1 year
comment_author_url_[hash] Saves the website URL you enter into the comment form 1 year

Cookies from YouTube

On some parts of this site, we use YouTube to display videos. YouTube sets some or all of these cookies when you visit one of these pages.

Name Purpose Expires
use_hitbox This is a randomly generated number that identifies your browser When you close your browser
VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE Set when viewing a page with Youtube videos on it. It is set by Youtube so they can count the views of embedded Youtube videos on them 9 months
PREF 20 years

Read YouTube’s Privacy Policy.