- 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.
How to Create a PHP Cookie?
- The setcookie() function is used to set a cookie.
Note: The setcookie() function must appear BEFORE the <html> tag.
setcookie(name, value, expire, path, domain);
- In the example below, we will create a cookie named “user” and assign the value “Alex Porter” to it. We also specify that the cookie should expire after one hour:
<?php setcookie(“user”, “Alex Porter”, time()+3600);
Note: The value of the cookie is automatically URL-encoded sending the cookie, and automatically decoded when received (to prevent URLencoding, use setrawcookie() instead).
- You can also set the expiration time of the cookie in another way. It may be easier than using seconds.
setcookie(“user”, “Alex Porter”, $expire);
- In the example above the expiration time is set to a month (60 sec * 60 min * 24 hours * 30 days).
How to Retrieve a PHP Cookie Value?
- The PHP Cookie $_COOKIE variable is used to retrieve a cookie value.
- In the example below, we retrieve the value of the cookie named “user” and display it on a page:
// Print a cookie echo $_COOKIE[“user”];
// A way to view all cookies print_r($_COOKIE); ?>
In the following example we use the isset() function to find out if a cookie has been set: <html>
<?php if (isset($_COOKIE[“user”])) echo “Welcome ” . $_COOKIE[“user”] . “!<br />”; else echo “Welcome guest!<br />”;
How to Delete a Cookie?
When deleting a cookie you should assure that the expiration date is in the past.
// set the expiration date to one hour ago setcookie(“user”, “”, time()-3600);