Cookies in PHP

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Cookies in PHP
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Cookies let you store data in user's browser and access that data when user visits website again. As cookies are stored in browser thus can be very helpful identifying users even if the browser is terminated in between.
You must have noticed remember me option when you log into any site and once you terminate the browser and open that site again after that, you are still logged in. This is done using Cookies.
You can create or set cookies using set_cookie() function.

set_cookie(string $name[, string $value[,int $expire[,string $path
          [,string $domain[,bool $secure[,bool $httponly]]]]]])

Note: The [ denotes that these parameters may or may not be passed. This is just denotation not the part of syntax of function. Here we can only pass $name or $name,$value and this function won't throw any error.

set_cookie() must be called before sending any data to the browser as cookies are set through HTTP header, thus this won't work if any data is sent to the browser.
It is an array of all the cookies that are available to that domain and the path. We can access any cookie with $_COOKIE['name'].
Cookies can also be accessed using $_REQUEST array as it is an array containig all the elements of $_GET, $_POST and $_COOKIE.

setcookie("first_cookie", "User name");

setcookie("second_cookie", "User address", time()+3600); 
     // Valid or one hour from current time


    echo $_COOKIE['first_cookie']."\n".$_COOKIE['second_cookie'];


User name User address

You will not get any output for the first time. You will need to reload as $_COOKIE variable is populated before and cookies are set.
Your Cookies will be there as long as cookies are not cleared by the user or cookies are expired. To avoid overwriting of always check if a cookie is already present. The above code will always overwrite cookies.

Keep in mind that as cookies are stored in local storage of user, it can be manipulated and thus you need to be cautious.

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