What are cookies?
Cookies are small pieces of data, stored in text files, that are stored on your computer or other device when websites are loaded in a browser. They are widely used to “remember” you and your preferences, either for a single visit (through a “session cookie”) or for multiple repeat visits (using a “persistent cookie”). They ensure a consistent and efficient experience for visitors, and perform essential functions such as allowing users to register and remain logged in. Cookies may be set by the site that you are visiting (known as “first party cookies”), or by third parties, such as those who serve content or provide advertising or analytics services on the website (“third party cookies”).
Both websites and HTML emails may also contain other tracking technologies such as “web beacons” or “pixels.” These are typically small transparent images that provide us with statistics, for similar purposes as cookies. They are often used in conjunction with cookies, though they are not stored on your computer in the same way. As a result, if you disable cookies, web beacons may still load, but their functionality will be restricted.
Many of the cookies we use are only set if you are a registered WordPress.com user (so you don’t have to log in every time, for example), while others are set whenever you visit one of our websites, irrespective of whether you have an account.
For more information on the choices you have about the cookies we use, please see the Controlling Cookies section below.
Where we place cookies
We set cookies in a number of different locations across our services. These include:
On our websites (including automattic.com, wordpress.com, vip.wordpress.com, jetpack.com, woocommerce.com, crowdsignal.com, gravatar.com, intensedebate.com, vaultpress.com, akismet.com, simplenote.com, simperium.com, leandomainsearch.com, cloudup.com, longreads.com, and happy.tools).
In the administrative dashboards of our websites, such as Calypso and wp-admin.
On sites we host for our users.
On sites that use our plugins (e.g. Jetpack).
In the emails we send.
Types of Cookies
The table below explains the types of cookies we use on our websites and why we use them.
Category of cookiesWhy we use these cookies
Strictly NecessaryThese cookies are essential for websites on our services to perform their basic functions. These include those required to allow registered users to authenticate and perform account related functions, as well as to save the contents of virtual “carts” on sites that have an ecommerce functionality.
FunctionalityThese cookies are used to store preferences set by users such as account name, language, and location.
SecurityWe use these cookies to help identify and prevent potential security risks.
Analytics and PerformancePerformance cookies collect information on how users interact with our websites, including what pages are visited most, as well as other analytical data. We use these details to improve how our websites function and to understand how users interact with them.
AdvertisingThese cookies are used to display relevant advertising to visitors who use our services or visit websites we host or provide, as well as to understand and report on the efficacy of ads served on our websites. They track details such as the number of unique visitors, the number of times particular ads have been displayed, and the number of clicks the ads have received. They are also used to build user profiles, including showing you ads based on products you’ve viewed or acts you have taken on our (and other) websites. These are set by Automattic and trusted third party networks, and are generally persistent in nature.
Third Party / Embedded ContentSites hosted on WordPress.com make use of different third party applications and services to enhance the experience of website visitors. These include social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (through the use of sharing buttons), or embedded content from Youtube and Vimeo. As a result, cookies may be set by these third parties, and used by them to track your online activity. We have no direct control over the information that is collected by these cookies.
In addition to the cookies set on our own sites, we utilize cookies for our Site Stats feature. This tallies the unique numbers of visitors to a site, as well as the number from specific geographic locations. A visitor is counted when we see a user or browser for the first time in a given period.