curly lace wigsGOV.UK puts small files (known as ‘cookies’) onto your computer to collect information about how you browse the site.

Cookies are used to:

  • measure how you use the website so it can be updated and improved based on your needs
  • remember the notifications you’ve seen so we do not show them to you again
  • remember you while you’re changing your GOV.UK email subscriptions

Find out more about .

How cookies are used on GOV.UK

Email subscriptions

curly lace wigsWe use a cookie to remember you while you’re changing your email subscriptions. The cookie is deleted when you close your browser.

Name Purpose Expires
email-alert-frontend_session This remembers you as you change your email subscriptions When you close your browser

Measuring website usage (Google Analytics)

curly lace wigsWe use Google Analytics software (Universal Analytics) to collect 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, for example .

curly lace wigsGoogle Analytics stores information about:

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

We do not collect or store your personal information (for example 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.

Google Analytics sets the following cookies.

Name Purpose Expires
_ga This helps us count how many people visit GOV.UK by tracking if you’ve visited before 2 years
_gid This helps us count how many people visit GOV.UK by tracking if you’ve visited before 24 hours
_gat Used to manage the rate at which page view requests are made 10 minutes

You can .

GOV.UK events

Name Purpose Expires
analytics_next_page_call This lets us know the next page you visit on GOV.UK, so we can make journeys better When you close your browser
govuk_contact_referrer This lets us know the last page you visited before using the contact GOV.UK form 1 day

JavaScript detection

We measure how many people visiting GOV.UK are using JavaScript. We’re re-running .

Name Purpose Expires
JS-Detection This tells us if you are browsing GOV.UK while running JavaScript 1 year

Our introductory message

You may see a pop-up welcome message when you visit GOV.UK. We’ll store a cookie so that your computer knows you’ve seen it and knows not to show it again.

Name Purpose Expires
seen_cookie_message Saves a message to let us know that you’ve seen our cookie message 1 month

Messages across GOV.UK

We might display a message on all GOV.UK pages to tell you about an important event or situation. We’ll save a cookie that will let us know how many times you’ve seen it, or if you’ve dismissed it.

Name Purpose Expires
global_bar_seen Remembers the number of times you’ve seen the message, or if you’ve dismissed it 12 weeks

Making secure connections to websites

Your browser uses cookies to make secure connections to websites with a ‘https’ URL. There are different versions for different levels of security.

Name Purpose Expires
TLSVersion Tells us the highest version of TLS your browser uses so we can decide which versions to keep supporting When you close your browser

Your progress when applying for a licence

curly lace wigsWhen you apply for a licence using the ‘apply for a licence’ service, we’ll set a cookie to remember your progress through the forms. These cookies do not store your personal data and are deleted once you’ve completed the transaction.

Name Purpose Expires
licensing_session Set to remember information you’ve entered into a form when applying for a licence When you close your browser

YouTube videos

curly lace wigsWe use YouTube to provide videos on some pages of the site. YouTube sets 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 Lets Youtube count the views of embedded Youtube videos 9 months

Government services

curly lace wigsMost services we link to are run by different government departments, for example HM Revenue and Customs ( to collect responses to the survey. If you take part, SmartSurvey to your computer to track your progress through it.

Multivariate testing

curly lace wigsWe sometimes test different versions of pages with different users to see which work better. We’ll save a cookie so that you consistently see the same version when browsing GOV.UK.

The cookie name will change but will be in the form ‘ABTest-[Test name]’ where the ‘Test name’ describes which part of GOV.UK is being tested.

curly lace wigsThis type of cookie will usually expire after between 1 and 4 weeks, but this may be longer for more in-depth tests.

Web chat

Some government departments (for example HMRCcurly lace wigs) use web chat to help you with problems you might have with their content and services.

They will save cookies in order to:

  • remember information you’ve entered during a web chat
  • track how you interact with web chat

curly lace wigsThis type of cookie will expire when you close your browser.

Last updated 19 March 2019