Sessions

Version: 6.0
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Sessions

Symfony provides a session object and several utilities that you can use to store information about the user between requests.

Configuration

Sessions are provided by the HttpFoundation component, which is included in all Symfony applications, no matter how you installed it. Before using the sessions, check their default configuration:

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  • PHP
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# config/packages/framework.yaml
framework:
    session:
        # enables the support of sessions in the app
        enabled: true
        # ID of the service used for session storage.
        # NULL means that Symfony uses PHP default session mechanism
        handler_id: null
        # improves the security of the cookies used for sessions
        cookie_secure: 'auto'
        cookie_samesite: 'lax'

Setting the handler_id config option to null means that Symfony will use the native PHP session mechanism. The session metadata files will be stored outside of the Symfony application, in a directory controlled by PHP. Although this usually simplify things, some session expiration related options may not work as expected if other applications that write to the same directory have short max lifetime settings.

If you prefer, you can use the session.handler.native_file service as handler_id to let Symfony manage the sessions itself. Another useful option is save_path, which defines the directory where Symfony will store the session metadata files:

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# config/packages/framework.yaml
framework:
    session:
        # ...
        handler_id: 'session.handler.native_file'
        save_path: '%kernel.project_dir%/var/sessions/%kernel.environment%'

Check out the Symfony config reference to learn more about the other available Session configuration options. You can also store sessions in a database.

Basic Usage

The sessions is available through the Request and the RequestStack. Symfony provides a request_stack service that is injected in your services and controllers if you type-hint an argument with RequestStack:

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use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\RequestStack;

class SomeService
{
    private $requestStack;

    public function __construct(RequestStack $requestStack)
    {
        $this->requestStack = $requestStack;
    }

    public function someMethod()
    {
        $session = $this->requestStack->getSession();

        // stores an attribute in the session for later reuse
        $session->set('attribute-name', 'attribute-value');

        // gets an attribute by name
        $foo = $session->get('foo');

        // the second argument is the value returned when the attribute doesn't exist
        $filters = $session->get('filters', []);

        // ...
    }
}

Stored attributes remain in the session for the remainder of that user's session. By default, session attributes are key-value pairs managed with the AttributeBag class.

Avoid Starting Sessions for Anonymous Users

Sessions are automatically started whenever you read, write or even check for the existence of data in the session. This may hurt your application performance because all users will receive a session cookie. In order to prevent that, you must completely avoid accessing the session.

This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.