Certified PHP Developer Learning Resources Session start variables destroy

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Session start variables destroy

Session support in PHP consists of a way to preserve certain data across subsequent accesses. This enables you to build more customized applications and increase the appeal of your web site. A session creates a file in a temporary directory on the server where registered session variables and their values are stored. This data will be available to all pages on the site during that visit.

The location of the temporary file is determined by a setting in the php.ini file called session.save_path. Bore using any session variable make sure you have setup this path. When a session is started following things happen:

  • PHP first creates a unique identifier for that particular session which is a random string of 32 hexadecimal numbers such as 3c7foj34c3jj973hjkop2fc937e3443.
  • A cookie called PHPSESSID is automatically sent to the user's computer to store unique session identification string.
  • A file is automatically created on the server in the designated temporary directory and bears the name of the unique identifier prefixed by sess_ ie sess_3c7foj34c3jj973hjkop2fc937e3443.

When a PHP script wants to retrieve the value from a session variable, PHP automatically gets the unique session identifier string from the PHPSESSID cookie and then looks in its temporary directory for the file bearing that name and a validation can be done by comparing both values. A session ends when the user loses the browser or after leaving the site, the server will terminate the session after a predetermined period of time, commonly 30 minutes duration.

A PHP session is easily started by making a call to the session_start() function.This function first checks if a session is already started and if none is started then it starts one. It is recommended to put the call to session_start() at the beginning of the page.
Session variables are stored in associative array called $_SESSION[]. These variables can be accessed during lifetime of a session. The following example starts a session then register a variable called counter that is incremented each time the page is visited during the session. Make use of isset() function to check if session variable is already set or not.

   if( isset( $_SESSION['counter'] ) )
      $_SESSION['counter'] += 1;
      $_SESSION['counter'] = 1;
   $msg = "You have visited this page ".  $_SESSION['counter'];
   $msg .= "in this session.";

Setting up a PHP session

A PHP session can be destroyed by session_destroy() function. This function does not need any argument and a single call can destroy all the session variables. If you want to destroy a single session variable then you can use unset() function to unset a session variable.


Here is the call which will destroy all the session variables:


Session Functions - Various sessions functions are

  • session_cache_expire — Return current cache expire
  • session_cache_limiter — Get and/or set the current cache limiter
  • session_commit — Alias of session_write_close
  • session_decode — Decodes session data from a session encoded string
  • session_destroy — Destroys all data registered to a session
  • session_encode — Encodes the current session data as a session encoded string
  • session_get_cookie_params — Get the session cookie parameters
  • session_id — Get and/or set the current session id
  • session_is_registered — Find out whether a global variable is registered in a session
  • session_module_name — Get and/or set the current session module
  • session_name — Get and/or set the current session name
  • session_regenerate_id — Update the current session id with a newly generated one
  • session_register_shutdown — Session shutdown function
  • session_register — Register one or more global variables with the current session
  • session_save_path — Get and/or set the current session save path
  • session_set_cookie_params — Set the session cookie parameters
  • session_set_save_handler — Sets user-level session storage functions
  • session_start — Start new or resume existing session
  • session_status — Returns the current session status
  • session_unregister — Unregister a global variable from the current session
  • session_unset — Free all session variables
  • session_write_close — Write session data and end session

SessionHandler — The SessionHandler class

  • SessionHandler::close — Close the session
  • SessionHandler::destroy — Destroy a session
  • SessionHandler::gc — Cleanup old sessions
  • SessionHandler::open — Initialize session
  • SessionHandler::read — Read session data
  • SessionHandler::write — Write session data

SessionHandlerInterface — The SessionHandlerInterface class

  • SessionHandlerInterface::close — Close the session
  • SessionHandlerInterface::destroy — Destroy a session
  • SessionHandlerInterface::gc — Cleanup old sessions
  • SessionHandlerInterface::open — Initialize session
  • SessionHandlerInterface::read — Read session data
  • SessionHandlerInterface::write — Write session data
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