How do you set up use HttpOnly cookies in PHP


How can I set the cookies in my PHP apps as HttpOnly cookies?

This question is tagged with php security cookies xss httponly

~ Asked on 2008-08-31 14:27:50

10 Answers


  • For your cookies, see this answer.
  • For PHP's own session cookie (PHPSESSID, by default), see @richie's answer

The setcookie() and setrawcookie() functions, introduced the httponly parameter, back in the dark ages of PHP 5.2.0, making this nice and easy. Simply set the 7th parameter to true, as per the syntax

Function syntax simplified for brevity

setcookie(    $name, $value, $expire, $path, $domain, $secure, $httponly )
setrawcookie( $name, $value, $expire, $path, $domain, $secure, $httponly )

In PHP < 8, specify NULL for parameters you wish to remain as default.

In PHP >= 8 you can benefit from using named parameters. See this question about named params.

setcookie( $name, $value, httponly:true )

It is also possible using the older, lower-level header() function:

header( "Set-Cookie: name=value; httpOnly" );

You may also want to consider if you should be setting the secure parameter.

~ Answered on 2008-08-31 14:38:41


For PHP's own session cookies on Apache:
add this to your Apache configuration or .htaccess

<IfModule php5_module>
    php_flag session.cookie_httponly on

This can also be set within a script, as long as it is called before session_start().

ini_set( 'session.cookie_httponly', 1 );

~ Answered on 2012-01-04 11:41:46


Note that PHP session cookies don't use httponly by default.

To do that:

$sess_name = session_name();
if (session_start()) {
    setcookie($sess_name, session_id(), null, '/', null, null, true);

A couple of items of note here:

  • You have to call session_name() before session_start()
  • This also sets the default path to '/', which is necessary for Opera but which PHP session cookies don't do by default either.

~ Answered on 2008-10-30 14:57:19


Be aware that HttpOnly doesn't stop cross-site scripting; instead, it neutralizes one possible attack, and currently does that only on IE (FireFox exposes HttpOnly cookies in XmlHttpRequest, and Safari doesn't honor it at all). By all means, turn HttpOnly on, but don't drop even an hour of output filtering and fuzz testing in trade for it.

~ Answered on 2008-09-10 21:40:41


//None HttpOnly cookie:
setcookie("abc", "test", NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, FALSE); 

//HttpOnly cookie:
setcookie("abc", "test", NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, TRUE); 



~ Answered on 2008-08-31 14:36:36


Explanation here from Ilia... 5.2 only though

httpOnly cookie flag support in PHP 5.2

As stated in that article, you can set the header yourself in previous versions of PHP

header("Set-Cookie: hidden=value; httpOnly");

~ Answered on 2008-08-31 14:35:02


You can specify it in the set cookie function see the php manual

setcookie('Foo','Bar',0,'/', ''  , FALSE, TRUE);

~ Answered on 2008-08-31 14:37:06


You can use this in a header file.

// setup session enviroment

This way all future session cookies will use httponly.

  • Updated.

~ Answered on 2013-05-27 22:24:17


The right syntax of the php_flag command is

php_flag  session.cookie_httponly On

And be aware, just first answer from server set the cookie and here (for example You can see the "HttpOnly" directive. So for testing delete cookies from browser after every testing request.

~ Answered on 2013-11-19 20:51:10


A more elegant solution since PHP >=7.0

session_start(['cookie_lifetime' => 43200,'cookie_secure' => true,'cookie_httponly' => true]);


session_start options

~ Answered on 2020-04-23 15:38:02

Most Viewed Questions: