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An Introduction To PHP Sessions

How Are Sessions Stored?

The default behaviour for session storage is to save the session data in a file. This behaviour can be altered by changing the session.save_handler in your php.ini file. Options can be

  • files
  • mm
  • database
  • SQLite

As we saw earlier the format of saving session data in files looks like this:

Listing 21 Session data as stored on the filesystem (listing-21.txt)
|s:3:"bar";bar|s:3:"foo";foobar|s:5:"fubar";

If we choose we can have this stored in one of the options above. The mm option saves the session data into memory, this also gives significant speed increase and is often recommended by tutorials for fine tuning PHP and apache web server. Sessions may also be stored in a database. This option provides for greater manageability of sessions and allows the programmer to perform tasks such as counting of active sessions etc.

With the advent of PHP5, we now have SQLite bundled with PHP. If PHP is configured —with-sqlite, you will have access to saving sessions with a PHP native database, although SQLite is not truly a database, but a file abstraction layer with and SQL interface.

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