Server Side Logging and Statistics
Our web server logs every request made to it. We log the request, the IP address from which it originated, and any headers submitted along with it such as the referring web page, what web browser you were using etc.
We retain these server logs for several reasons:
- We generate anonymous statistics from our visitor data, such as how many people have visited the site, which pages they visit, how much bandwidth our visitors use, which pages they enter the site through, which search engine they came from etc.
- If someone abuses our web site eg. by hacking into one of our systems, posting comment spam or trolling, we need to be able to trace the source of the abuse.
- If our web site has technical problems, or suddenly gets knocked offline due to a big spike in visitor numbers, we need to be able to determine what happened.
If you’re just reading MouseAT.co.uk and neither post comments nor log in, we don’t store unique identifiers (such as cookies) on your machine or attempt to track you across multiple visits to MouseAT.co.uk (although some third parties might – see the section below on Third Party Cookies and Content for details). As long as you’re not trying to hack, spam or otherwise break the web site, we’re not really that bothered about who you are.
Our web site is hosted by UK Web Solutions Direct. They own and house our web server, and have full access to all our logs and statistical data. We don’t disclose this data to any other 3rd parties unless we are legally compelled to do so.
First Party (WordPress) Cookies
MouseAT.co.uk makes use of software called WordPress. If you register with MouseAT.co.uk or post comments on any of our articles, WordPress will ask your web browser to store first party cookies on your machine.
At the time of writing, first party cookies will be set under the following circumstances:
- If you post a comment without creating a user account, WordPress will store your name, email address and website URL in three first party cookies named comment_author, comment_author_email and comment_author_url. These three cookies expire approximately a year from the date they were set, and are used only to pre-populate these three fields if you post subsequent comments.
- If you log in to MouseAT.co.uk with a user account, first party session cookies will be used to maintain your login status across pages and customise some of your site preferences. These cookies expire after two weeks, when you close your web browser or when you log out of MouseAT.co.uk, whichever comes first.
- If you tick the “Remember Me” box when logging in to MouseAT.co.uk, longer lived first party cookies will be set. These ensure that even if you close your web browser or come back to the web site at a later date, WordPress will still be able to identify who you are and log you in automatically. You can clear these cookies at any time by manually logging out of MouseAT.co.uk.
The technical implementation of this is all subject to change, as changes are made to the WordPress software on a fairly regular basis. For the latest information direct from the authors of WordPress, visit the official WordPress cookie documentation page.
Basically, we use first party cookies to make things a bit more convenient in places, and where we need them in order to make the site work. If you don’t log in or post comments, we don’t set first party cookies as we don’t need them.
Third Party Cookies and Content
From time to time, we may embed content from third party web sites. This includes (but is not necessarily limited to) images or video clips. This embedded content may potentially lead to cookies and/or flash content being stored on your computer by the third party.
We don’t have a lot of control over this, at least at our end. Where possible, we try to opt out of any third party tracking systems, but a lot of third parties don’t give us that option. When we embed items into our site, in many cases you can safely assume that the third party site knows you’ve loaded their content, knows you’re on MouseAT.co.uk, and may be able to correlate that data with anything else they know about you, either from their own web sites or from other sites you’ve visited that embed their content.
If this concerns you, there are a few things you can do. Use a web browser or browser plugin that allows you to turn off third party cookies. Use a web browser or browser plugin that doesn’t load flash videos until you click on them. Honestly, we don’t mind. Do what you need to do to protect your privacy. We do what we can, but there’s not a lot we can do on our end to prevent tracking by third parties unless we just don’t feature any content by third parties. That just isn’t feasible for a site like this where we often comment on third party content.