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Custom PHP Sessions

As a PHP programmer, you could have one of several instances why you want a folder or subfolder to have its own custom session variable path. For one, you could have more than one folder in your public_html folder that uses the same session variables and you want to make sure that only a particular folder must use session variables specified only for that folder. An example of this could be subfolders that belong to each member or an application with a demo folder.

If you let the session variables to be accessed across all folders, the results could be disastrous since any login on the site could be used to validate any visited web page.

With that said, you have multiple options for which you can make sure that sessions cannot jump from folder to folder. Since PHP 5.3, you can place a custom php.ini file into the public_html and other folders to make specific rules. By default, this limits sessions from being used from folder to folder. However, allowing custom PHP configurations is a security risk if the wrong people can make these changes.

If you want to deny any usable custom php.ini file in order to maintain security, you will arrive at the option which allows you to create custom session paths for any folder on a website. All you need to do is add a line to the loaded php.ini file that resides on the server and set the path location where you want to do this.

The exmples below show various paths for a subfolder. Note that the root folder will store the sessions in the default location. But, the subfolder has the option to store them outside the home directory, inside the home directory and outside the public_html folder, and inside a folder within the public_html folder. Since two options are commented out, the actual path where the sessions are saved in the sessions folder with the path ‘folder-custom-sessions/sessions’.

safe_mode = on  

[PATH=/home/username/public_html/folder-custom-sessions] session.save_path = /home/username/public_html/folder-custom-sessions/sessions 
;session.save_path = /mynewsessions 
;session.save_path = /home/username/mysessions