PHP 5.6.30 Released

The SessionHandler class

(PHP 5 >= 5.4.0, PHP 7)


SessionHandler is a special class that can be used to expose the current internal PHP session save handler by inheritance. There are seven methods which wrap the seven internal session save handler callbacks (open, close, read, write, destroy, gc and create_sid). By default, this class will wrap whatever internal save handler is set as defined by the session.save_handler configuration directive which is usually files by default. Other internal session save handlers are provided by PHP extensions such as SQLite (as sqlite), Memcache (as memcache), and Memcached (as memcached).

When a plain instance of SessionHandler is set as the save handler using session_set_save_handler() it will wrap the current save handlers. A class extending from SessionHandler allows you to override the methods or intercept or filter them by calls the parent class methods which ultimately wrap the interal PHP session handlers.

This allows you, for example, to intercept the read and write methods to encrypt/decrypt the session data and then pass the result to and from the parent class. Alternatively one might chose to entirely override a method like the garbage collection callback gc.

Because the SessionHandler wraps the current internal save handler methods, the above example of encryption can be applied to any internal save handler without having to know the internals of the handlers.

To use this class, first set the save handler you wish to expose using session.save_handler and then pass an instance of SessionHandler or one extending it to session_set_save_handler().

Please note the callback methods of this class are designed to be called internally by PHP and are not meant to be called from user-space code. The return values are equally processed internally by PHP. For more information on the session workflow, please refer session_set_save_handler().

Sinopsisul clasei

SessionHandler implements SessionHandlerInterface {
/* Metode */
public bool close ( void )
public string create_sid ( void )
public bool destroy ( string $session_id )
public bool gc ( int $maxlifetime )
public bool open ( string $save_path , string $session_name )
public string read ( string $session_id )
public bool write ( string $session_id , string $session_data )

This class is designed to expose the current internal PHP session save handler, if you want to write your own custom save handlers, please implement the SessionHandlerInterface interface instead of extending from SessionHandler.

Istoricul schimbărilor

Versiune Descriere
5.5.1 Added SessionHandler::create_sid().

Example #1 Using SessionHandler to add encryption to internal PHP save handlers.


  * decrypt AES 256
  * @param data $edata
  * @param string $password
  * @return decrypted data
function decrypt($edata$password) {
$data base64_decode($edata);
$salt substr($data016);
$ct substr($data16);

$rounds 3// depends on key length
$data00 $password.$salt;
$hash = array();
$hash[0] = hash('sha256'$data00true);
$result $hash[0];
    for (
$i 1$i $rounds$i++) {
$hash[$i] = hash('sha256'$hash[$i 1].$data00true);
$result .= $hash[$i];
$key substr($result032);
$iv  substr($result32,16);


 * crypt AES 256
 * @param data $data
 * @param string $password
 * @return base64 encrypted data
function encrypt($data$password) {
// Set a random salt
$salt openssl_random_pseudo_bytes(16);

$salted '';
$dx '';
// Salt the key(32) and iv(16) = 48
while (strlen($salted) < 48) {
$dx hash('sha256'$dx.$password.$salttrue);
$salted .= $dx;

$key substr($salted032);
$iv  substr($salted32,16);

$encrypted_data openssl_encrypt($data'AES-256-CBC'$keytrue$iv);
base64_encode($salt $encrypted_data);

EncryptedSessionHandler extends SessionHandler

    public function 
$this->key $key;

    public function 
$data parent::read($id);

        if (!
$data) {
        } else {

    public function 
$data encrypt($data$this->key);


// we'll intercept the native 'files' handler, but will equally work
// with other internal native handlers like 'sqlite', 'memcache' or 'memcached'
// which are provided by PHP extensions.

$key 'secret_string';
$handler = new EncryptedSessionHandler($key);

// proceed to set and retrieve values by key from $_SESSION


Since this class' methods are designed to be called internally by PHP as part of the normal session workflow, child class calls to parent methods (i.e. the actual internal native handlers) will return FALSE unless the session has actually been started (either automatically, or by explicit session_start(). This is important to consider when writing unit tests where the class methods might be invoked manually.


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User Contributed Notes 2 notes

rasmus at mindplay dot dk
1 year ago
As the life-cycle of a session handler is fairly complex, I found it difficult to understand when explained using just words - so I traced the function calls made to a custom SessionHandler, and created this overview of precisely what happens when you call various session methods:

I hope this makes it considerably easier to implement a custom SessionHandler and get it right the first time :-)
jeremie dot legrand at komori-chambon dot fr
10 months ago
Here is a wrapper to log in a file each session's operations. Useful to investigate sessions locks (which prevent PHP to serve simultaneous requests for a same client).
Just change the file name at the end to dump logs where you want.

class DumpSessionHandler extends SessionHandler {
    private $fich;

    public function __construct($fich) {
        $this->fich = $fich;

    public function close() {
        return parent::close();

    public function create_sid() {
        return parent::create_sid();

    public function destroy($session_id) {
        return parent::destroy($session_id);

    public function gc($maxlifetime) {
        return parent::gc($maxlifetime);

    public function open($save_path, $session_name) {
        $this->log('open('.$save_path.', '.$session_name.')');
        return parent::open($save_path, $session_name);

    public function read($session_id) {
        return parent::read($session_id);

    public function write($session_id, $session_data) {
        $this->log('write('.$session_id.', '.$session_data.')');
        return parent::write($session_id, $session_data);

    private function log($action) {
        $base_uri = explode('?', $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], 2)[0];
        $hdl = fopen($this->fich, 'a');
        fwrite($hdl, date('Y-m-d h:i:s').' '.$base_uri.' : '.$action."\n");
ini_set('session.save_handler', 'files');
$handler = new DumpSessionHandler('/path/to/dump_sessions.log');
session_set_save_handler($handler, true);
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