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JavaScripts :: Cookies :: Get, Set and Print Cookies

This javascript will set cookies, delete cookies, read cookies, print cookies and get cookies. It's a definitive 'How to' guide on cookies. Subsequent actions can then be executed depending on whether or not a particular cookie exists.

The Script

Copy and paste the following script anywhere within your web page.

<script type="text/javascript">
/* Copyright http://www.perlscriptsjavascripts.com 
Free and commercial Perl and JavaScripts */
function getCookie(w){
	cName = "";
	pCOOKIES = new Array();
	pCOOKIES = document.cookie.split('; ');
	for(bb = 0; bb < pCOOKIES.length; bb++){
		NmeVal  = new Array();
		NmeVal  = pCOOKIES[bb].split('=');
		if(NmeVal[0] == w){
			cName = unescape(NmeVal[1]);
	return cName;

function printCookies(w){
	cStr = "";
	pCOOKIES = new Array();
	pCOOKIES = document.cookie.split('; ');
	for(bb = 0; bb < pCOOKIES.length; bb++){
		NmeVal  = new Array();
		NmeVal  = pCOOKIES[bb].split('=');
			cStr += NmeVal[0] + '=' + unescape(NmeVal[1]) + '; ';
	return cStr;

function setCookie(name, value, expires, path, domain, secure){
	cookieStr = name + "=" + escape(value) + "; ";
		expires = setExpiration(expires);
		cookieStr += "expires=" + expires + "; ";
		cookieStr += "path=" + path + "; ";
		cookieStr += "domain=" + domain + "; ";
		cookieStr += "secure; ";
	document.cookie = cookieStr;

function setExpiration(cookieLife){
    var today = new Date();
    var expr = new Date(today.getTime() + cookieLife * 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000);
    return  expr.toGMTString();
// -->
Examples for calling the cookie functions

Use any of the following JavaScript examples to get cookies, set cookies, print all cookies or delete cookies.

<script type="text/javascript">
// set a session cookie which will expire when the browser is closed
setCookie('hasVisited', 'Yes');

// get the value of a cookie already set
cookieValue = getCookie('hasVisited');

alert(cookieValue) // Yes

// set a cookie which will expire in 1 day
setCookie('hasVisitedToday', 'Yes', 3);

// set a cookie which will expire in 3 days and be accessible site wide
setCookie('hasVisitedSite', 'Yes', 3, '/');

// set a cookie which will expire in 3 days and be accessible only while 
// in the 'members' folder
setCookie('cookieName', 'cookieValue', 3, '/members');

// set a cookie which will expire in 3 days and be accessible only while 
// in the 'members' folder, and will be transmitted securely
setCookie('cookieName', 'cookieValue', 3, '/members', '', 1);

// set a cookie which will expire in 3 days and be accessible site wide
// and set the domain name
setCookie('cookieName', 'cookieValue', 3, '/', 'perlscriptsjavascript.com');

// print all cookies set for the domain
allCookies = printCookies();

// delete a specific cookie by setting it's expiration date to the past
// and defining a blank value
setCookie('cookieName', '', -1);

// see notes on deleting cookies below if your cookies are not being deleted
// -->
A few notes on setting cookies

Cookies with out an expiration date are known as session cookies. Session cookies expire the moment a browser is closed, or they can be deleted before the browser is closed. When settings cookies, it pays to remember or keep a note on the parameters set, because if you need to delete a cookie, you must use the exact same parameters. For example, if you set the path for a cookie when you created it, but you don't set the same path while trying to delete it, it will not be deleted.

A note on secure cookies

Secure cookies are transmitted securely when set as such. To set a secure cookie with the above functions, set the secure argument to either 1 or true. If using secure cookies, make sure you also read the notes below on setting the domain.

A note on setting the path

When setting the path for cookies, using '/' is a synonym for the entire website. If the path is left blank, the cookie is set for the directory the user is currently in. For example, if a cookie is set on this website with a path of '/members' then that cookie is only available while the user in visiting a page in the http://www.perlscriptsjavascripts.com/members directory.

A note on setting the domain

Setting the domain parameter is always good idea, but especially so when on a secure website. Let's say a visitor came to our site by typing 'http://perlscriptsjavascripts.com/' into their browser's address bar. If we don't set the domain, the domain is automatically set by the browser to 'http://perlscriptsjavascripts.com'. But most of the links that point to our website use the 'www' sub-domain, as in 'http://www.perlscriptsjavascripts.com/'. A little known fact is that 'www' is actually a sub-domain of the top level domain, which in this case is 'http://perlscriptsjavascripts.com'. So the next time the same visitor comes along by clicking a link which points to http://www.perlscriptsjavascripts.com/ the cookie will not be available.

The same is true for secure URLs, as in 'https://perlscriptsjavascripts.com'. This cookie will not be available when visiting 'http://perlscriptsjavascripts.com'. This is a very common mistake made by developers and often the cause of great frustration.

A simple solution which covers all possibilities is to set the domain to the top level domain with a . (period) prefixed. As in '.perlscriptsjavascripts.com'. The following cookie will be available no matter where the user is on our website :
setCookie('cookieName', 'cookieValue', 3, '/', '.perlscriptsjavascripts.com', 1);

A note on setting the expiration date and time

To set a cookie's expiration to hours rather than days, remove the * 24 from the setExpiration function. If the expires argument is left blank, the cookie will expire when the browser's session expires (when the browser is closed).

A note on deleting cookies

Attempting to delete cookies can also be a source of great frustration. To delete a cookie, you must overwrite the cookie with a negative date and time and set it's value to null. In most browsers, the cookie actually still exists until the browser is closed. By setting a blank value, the cookie's content is immediately no longer available. What's more, when overwriting cookies you must use the exact same parameters used when you set it. For example :

// set a new cookie
setCookie('cookieName', 'cookieValue', 3, '/', '.perlscriptsjavascripts.com');

// delete the same cookie, by setting a negative date
setCookie('cookieName', '', -1, '/', '.perlscriptsjavascripts.com');

// this will NOT delete the cookie, because the path differs 
setCookie('cookieName', '', -1, '', '.perlscriptsjavascripts.com');

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