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PHP setcookie() Function


PHP HTTP Reference Complete PHP HTTP Reference

Definition and Usage

The setcookie() function sends an HTTP cookie to a client.

A cookie is a variable, sent by the server to the browser. A cookie is typically a small text file that the server embeds on the user's computer. Each time the same computer requests a page with a browser, it will send the cookie too.

The name of the cookie is automatically assigned to a variable of the same name. For example, if a cookie was sent with the name "user", a variable is automatically created called $user, containing the cookie value.

A cookie must be assigned before any other output is sent to the client.

This function returns TRUE on success or FALSE on failure.

Syntax

setcookie(name,value,expire,path,domain,secure)

Parameter Description
name Required. Specifies the name of the cookie
value Required. Specifies the value of the cookie
expire Optional. Specifies when the cookie expires.

time()+3600*24*30 will set the cookie to expire in 30 days. If this parameter is not set, the cookie will expire at the end of the session (when the browser closes).

path Optional. Specifies the server path of the cookie

If set to "/", the cookie will be available within the entire domain. If set to "/test/", the cookie will only be available within the test directory and all sub-directories of test. The default value is the current directory that the cookie is being set in.

domain Optional. Specifies the domain name of the cookie.

To make the cookie available on all subdomains of example.com then you'd set it to ".example.com". Setting it to www.example.com will make the cookie only available in the www subdomain

secure Optional. Specifies whether or not the cookie should only be transmitted over a secure HTTPS connection. TRUE indicates that the cookie will only be set if a secure connection exists. Default is FALSE.


Tips and Notes

Tip: The value of a cookie named "user" can be accessed by $HTTP_COOKIE_VARS["user"] or by $_COOKIE["user"].

Note: The value of the cookie will automatically be URL encoded when you send the cookie (and automatically decoded when received). If you don't want this, you can use setrawcookie() instead.


Example 1

Set and send cookie examples:

<?php
$value = "my cookie value";

// send a simple cookie
setcookie("TestCookie",$value);
?>

<html>
<body>

...
...

<?php
$value = "my cookie value";

// send a cookie that expires in 24 hours
setcookie("TestCookie",$value, time()+3600*24);
?>

<html>
<body>

...
...


Example 2

Different ways of retrieving the value of the cookie (after the cookie has been set):

<html>
<body>

<?php
// Print individual cookies
echo $_COOKIE["TestCookie"];
echo "<br />";
echo $HTTP_COOKIE_VARS["TestCookie"];
echo "<br />";

// Print all cookies
print_r($_COOKIE);
?>

</body>
</html>

The output of the code above will be:

my cookie value
my cookie value
Array ([TestCookie] => my cookie value)


Example 3

Delete a cookie by setting the expiration date to a date/time in the past:

<?php
// Set the expiration date to one hour ago
setcookie ("TestCookie", "", time() - 3600);
?>

<html>
<body>

...
...


Example 4

Create an array cookie:

<?php
setcookie("cookie[three]","cookiethree");
setcookie("cookie[two]","cookietwo");
setcookie("cookie[one]","cookieone");

// print cookies (after reloading page)
if (isset($_COOKIE["cookie"]))
  {
  foreach ($_COOKIE["cookie"] as $name => $value)
    {
    echo "$name : $value <br />";
    }
  }
?>

<html>
<body>

...
...

The output of the code above will be:

three : cookiethree
two : cookietwo
one : cookieone


PHP HTTP Reference Complete PHP HTTP Reference

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