Cookies across subdomains and hosts


Question

In the application I'm writing using a combination of development environments and languages, I have need of accessing a cookie from two different subdomains, each on a separate host.

The cookie is being set on www.mydomain.com using the PHP code that follows, and I'm attempting to access it from distant.mydomain.com on a separate host.

setcookie('token', base64_encode(serialize($token)), time()+10800, '/', '.mydomain.com');  

I'm trying to access the cookie from distant.mydomain.com using the following code:

if (isset($_COOKIE['token'])) { /* do stuff */ }  

The problem: distant.mydomain.com is not finding the cookie. The if statement just mentioned returns false, even though the cookie exists.

I have verified that the cookie that is set is for mydomain.com (by checking my Firefox cookies). I can't think of any reason this wouldn't be working.

Using the same setcookie code, I have an old application running exclusively on the www.mydomain.com host, and that application is able to access the cookie across domains. This makes me suspect that the problem has to do with separate hosts.

Just in case any of the following information is pertinent:
- www.mydomain.com is IIS 6.0
- distant.mydomain.com is Apache 2.2.9
- Both servers use PHP 5.2.x
- Both servers are operating on Windows Server 2003

If there is any further information I can provide in order to better describe the problem, please let me know!

1
16
11/11/2010 12:12:11 AM

Accepted Answer

For the benefit of anyone reading this question the code and information contained in the original post are exactly correct and work fine.

The problem is when you introduce other technology. For instance, I have since learned that sending PHP code through a Python module, one that allows Django to serve PHP files/content, changes a great deal about what is accessible to the script and what is not.

This was eventually discovered following the advice of Marc Novakowski, who suggested sending $_COOKIE to the log in order to find out what was there.

I also checked out $_SERVER and $_GET. It was the emptiness of $_GET that tipped me off that the setup I am attempting to use is not as straightforward as I had thought. It was that mistaken understanding that led to not including the information about Django in the original post.

Apologies and thanks to all who responded to this question!

12
5/23/2017 10:27:52 AM

Cookies set in domain

'.aaa.sub.domain.com'

will collide with identically named cookies set in domain

'.sub.domain.com'

and '.some.stupidly.obscure.multi.sub.domain.com'

That means (and this took some time to wade thru) if you're going to use the same-named cookie across multiple domains, you must set it once (and once only) in the main/base domain, in this case '.domain.com'; otherwise, the resulting cookie will be indeterminantly and randomly returned arrived at, sometimes the cookie 'jasper' set in .a.sub.domain.com, sometimes the cookie 'jasper' set in .sub.domain.com, sometimes the cookie 'jasper' set in .b.c.d.domain.com, sometimes the cookie 'jasper' set in '.sub.domain.com' and sometimes the cookie 'jasper' set in '.domain.com'


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