PHP 4, PHP 5, PHP 7, PHP 8
setcookie - Send a cookie
Code Examples

     [string$value = ""],
     [int$expires_or_options = 0],
     [string$path = ""],
     [string$domain = ""],
     [bool$secure = false],
     [bool$httponly = false]
): bool

Alternative signature available as of PHP 7.3.0 (not supported with named parameters):

boolsetcookie stringname stringvalue"" arrayoptions[]


RFC 6265 provides the normative reference on how each setcookie parameter is interpreted.


The name of the cookie.


The value of the cookie. This value is stored on the clients computer; do not store sensitive information. Assuming the name is 'cookiename', this value is retrieved through $_COOKIE['cookiename']


The time the cookie expires. This is a Unix timestamp so is in number of seconds since the epoch. In other words, you'll most likely set this with the time function plus the number of seconds before you want it to expire. Or you might use mktime. time()+60*60*24*30 will set the cookie to expire in 30 days. If set to 0, or omitted, the cookie will expire at the end of the session (when the browser closes).


You may notice the expires_or_options parameter takes on a Unix timestamp, as opposed to the date format Wdy, DD-Mon-YYYY HH:MM:SS GMT, this is because PHP does this conversion internally.


The path on the server in which the cookie will be available on. If set to '/', the cookie will be available within the entire domain. If set to '/foo/', the cookie will only be available within the /foo/ directory and all sub-directories such as /foo/bar/ of domain. The default value is the current directory that the cookie is being set in.


The (sub)domain that the cookie is available to. Setting this to a subdomain (such as '') will make the cookie available to that subdomain and all other sub-domains of it (i.e. To make the cookie available to the whole domain (including all subdomains of it), simply set the value to the domain name ('', in this case).

Older browsers still implementing the deprecated RFC 2109 may require a leading . to match all subdomains.


Indicates that the cookie should only be transmitted over a secure HTTPS connection from the client. When set to true, the cookie will only be set if a secure connection exists. On the server-side, it's on the programmer to send this kind of cookie only on secure connection (e.g. with respect to $_SERVER["HTTPS"]).


When true the cookie will be made accessible only through the HTTP protocol. This means that the cookie won't be accessible by scripting languages, such as JavaScript. It has been suggested that this setting can effectively help to reduce identity theft through XSS attacks (although it is not supported by all browsers), but that claim is often disputed. true or false


An associative array which may have any of the keys expires, path, domain, secure, httponly and samesite. If any other key is present an error of level E_WARNING is generated. The values have the same meaning as described for the parameters with the same name. The value of the samesite element should be either None, Lax or Strict. If any of the allowed options are not given, their default values are the same as the default values of the explicit parameters. If the samesite element is omitted, no SameSite cookie attribute is set.

Return Values

If output exists prior to calling this function, setcookie will fail and return false. If setcookie successfully runs, it will return true. This does not indicate whether the user accepted the cookie.



You can use output buffering to send output prior to the call of this function, with the overhead of all of your output to the browser being buffered in the server until you send it. You can do this by calling ob_start and ob_end_flush in your script, or setting the output_buffering configuration directive on in your php.ini or server configuration files.

Common Pitfalls:

Cookies will not become visible until the next loading of a page that the cookie should be visible for. To test if a cookie was successfully set, check for the cookie on a next loading page before the cookie expires. Expire time is set via the expires_or_options parameter. A nice way to debug the existence of cookies is by simply calling print_r($_COOKIE);.

Cookies must be deleted with the same parameters as they were set with. If the value argument is an empty string, and all other arguments match a previous call to setcookie, then the cookie with the specified name will be deleted from the remote client. This is internally achieved by setting value to 'deleted' and expiration time in the past.

Because setting a cookie with a value of false will try to delete the cookie, you should not use boolean values. Instead, use 0 for false and 1 for true.

Cookies names can be set as array names and will be available to your PHP scripts as arrays but separate cookies are stored on the user's system. Consider explode to set one cookie with multiple names and values. It is not recommended to use serialize for this purpose, because it can result in security holes.

Multiple calls to setcookie are performed in the order called.


Version Description
7.3.0 An alternative signature supporting an options array has been added. This signature supports also setting of the SameSite cookie attribute.

Related Functions

Example of setcookie

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