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PHP Cookies


What is a Cookie?

A cookie is often used to identify a user. A cookie is a small 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. With PHP, you can both create and retrieve cookie values.


Create Cookies With PHP

A cookie is created with the setcookie() function.

Syntax

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

Only the name parameter is required. All other parameters are optional.


PHP Create/Retrieve a Cookie

The following example creates a cookie named "user" with the value "John Doe". The cookie will expire after 30 days (86400 * 30). The "/" means that the cookie is available in entire website (otherwise, select the directory you prefer).

We then retrieve the value of the cookie "user" (using the global variable $_COOKIE). We also use the isset() function to find out if the cookie is set:

Example

<?php
$cookie_name = "user";
$cookie_value = "John Doe";
setcookie($cookie_name, $cookie_value, time() + (86400 * 30), "/"); // 86400 = 1 day
?>
<html>
<body>

<?php
if(!isset($_COOKIE[$cookie_name])) {
    echo "Cookie named '" . $cookie_name . "' is not set!";
} else {
    echo "Cookie '" . $cookie_name . "' is set!<br>";
    echo "Value is: " . $_COOKIE[$cookie_name];
}
?>

</body>
</html>
Run example »

Note: The setcookie() function must appear BEFORE the <html> tag.

Note: The value of the cookie is automatically URLencoded when sending the cookie, and automatically decoded when received (to prevent URLencoding, use setrawcookie() instead).



Modify a Cookie Value

To modify a cookie, just set (again) the cookie using the setcookie() function:

Example

<?php
$cookie_name = "user";
$cookie_value = "Alex Porter";
setcookie($cookie_name, $cookie_value, time() + (86400 * 30), "/");
?>
<html>
<body>

<?php
if(!isset($_COOKIE[$cookie_name])) {
    echo "Cookie named '" . $cookie_name . "' is not set!";
} else {
    echo "Cookie '" . $cookie_name . "' is set!<br>";
    echo "Value is: " . $_COOKIE[$cookie_name];
}
?>

</body>
</html>
Run example »

Delete a Cookie

To delete a cookie, use the setcookie() function with an expiration date in the past:

Example

<?php
// set the expiration date to one hour ago
setcookie("user", "", time() - 3600);
?>
<html>
<body>

<?php
echo "Cookie 'user' is deleted.";
?>

</body>
</html>
Run example »

Check if Cookies are Enabled

The following example creates a small script that checks whether cookies are enabled. First, try to create a test cookie with the setcookie() function, then count the $_COOKIE array variable:

Example

<?php
setcookie("test_cookie", "test", time() + 3600, '/');
?>
<html>
<body>

<?php
if(count($_COOKIE) > 0) {
    echo "Cookies are enabled.";
} else {
    echo "Cookies are disabled.";
}
?>

</body>
</html>
Run example »

Complete PHP Network Reference

For a complete reference of Network functions, go to our complete PHP Network Reference.


PHP Exercises

Test Yourself With Exercises

Exercise:

Create a cookie named "username".

("username", "John", time() + (86400 * 30), "/");