Difference between Session and Cookie

Do you have any idea how sessions are different from cookies? If you don’t, then no worries; in this article, we will compare session and cookie and learn about them.

Session and cookies are the programs used to store the data of the users. Both cookies and sessions store the data of the user to ensure a personalized experience with the site.

The key difference between session vs cookie is that session stores the user’s data on the server side. Whereas the cookie stores the data of the user on the client side, i.e., on the user’s browser.

What are Cookies?

The cookies are the codes used to store the small information of the users. It stores the data of the clients in the webserver of the company. It can have a maximum file size of 4KB on the client’s device; hence it can not store massive data.

Most of the websites using ads or other elements ask to accept the cookies from their ideal visitors. If the visitors do not accept it, then the content will not be displayed. Also, the cookies can only be displayed to the users if they create them.

And other users will see the same as the number or variable. However, nowadays, modern web browsers come with the option to disable third-party cookies. And if the user does not want to share data, the browser can automatically stop these cookies.

What are Sessions?

The session also stores the user’s data, making a temporary file for the same information. And use that information to provide the most helpful information from the web pages. It mainly uses the unique id of the customer and returns every data in the same account.

In most of the devices, cookies are supported, but if cookies are not supported then, sessions are used. However, cookies can store less data than the sessions.

Also, sessions delete the user’s data whenever it gets closed from the user’s device. The HTML page of sessions starts with $_SESSION, an array variable.

Difference between Session and Cookie

Here is some crucial difference between session vs cookie. Let’s learn these differences to understand better about sessions and cookies.

  • Both contain the users’ information, but the cookies store the data in the client-side file, whereas the session stores the data on the server-side.
  • Sessions are dependent on the cookie, but cookies are not. Because if the browsers do not support cookies, then the sessions are displayed.
  • Cookies can store user data on the lifetime the user decided. At the same time, the session deletes the data whenever the user closes the browser.
  • Sessions can store massive data as well because they store the data on the client-side. But cookie files can have up to 4kb files only to store the data.

Below there is the comparison table to compare the session vs. cookie. So you can understand more differences between cookies and sessions. Let’s look below to find these crucial differences between these two files.

  Session Cookie
Basic Meaning


The session creates the temporary file within the browser, and it stores the variables and their values for a short time. The cookie stores the client’s data in the computer by making a text file.


The lifetime of the session ends when the user exits or closes the browser from its devices. However, the cookie’s lifetime is set by the ideal client or the user. And when the time limit gets completed, the cookie also gets deleted.
Data Storage Restriction


In this, there are not any data storage restrictions. And files can be small to large in any size. However, the maximum file size of the sessions can be up to 128MB. Whereas the file size of a cookie can not be over 4kb, the size of the cookie file can not be significant.


Call To Function


So, to call the session, the session_start() function comes into use. As it does not function automatically for the data storage. However, there is no need to call the cookies to store the data within the local device or computer.


The sessions store the user’s data for a short time, and it also stores data in an encrypted format. Hence the sessions are more secure than the cookies for data storage of users. Cookies make a text file to store the data of the user. And also, it can get unauthorized access to the text document file; thus, these are not safe for the users.
Multiple Variables


It can contain several variables in the sessions. Cookies do not contain any multiple variables of cookies.
Deleting Data


In sessions, there are Session_destroy() functions to destroy the user’s data whenever it closes the browser. However, in cookies, there is no function called unsetcookie() for deleting the user’s data.


The sessions are not such standard files that you find on websites storing the user’s information. The cookies are the most common files you will find on most websites. Also, the most modern browsers support the cookies to function. You can also find options to pause cookies and other similar files not to store the information.


So, in this article, we learned vital differences between sessions and cookies. We discussed that cookies could have a maximum file of up to 4KB, whereas the session’s max file can be 128KB. Also, sessions are more secure than the cookies, as they delete users’ data after closing the browser. Along with these critical differences about cookies vs. sessions, we also learned several other differences between these two files.

Thus, we hope now you have clear information about cookies and sessions. And if you wish to continue your learning paths, then stay tuned to our blog. As we keep posting exciting and informational posts with the latest knowledge.

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