Recipe 13.3. Fetching a URL with Cookies

13.3.1. Problem

You want to retrieve a page that requires a cookie to be sent with the request for the page.

13.3.2. Solution

Use the CURLOPT_COOKIE option with cURL, as shown in Example 13-17.

Sending cookies with cURL

<?php $c = curl_init(''); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_COOKIE, 'user=ellen; activity=swimming'); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, true); $page = curl_exec($c); curl_close($c); ?>

With HTTP_Request, use the addHeader( ) method to add a Cookie header, as shown in Example 13-18.

Sending cookies with HTTP_Request

<?php require 'HTTP/Request.php'; $r = new HTTP_Request(''); $r->addHeader('Cookie','user=ellen; activity=swimming'); $r->sendRequest(); $page = $r->getResponseBody(); ?>

13.3.3. Discussion

Cookies are sent to the server in the Cookie request header. The cURL extension has a cookie-specific option, but with HTTP_Request, you have to add the Cookie header just as with other request headers. Multiple cookie values are sent in a semicolon-delimited list. The examples in the Solution send two cookies: one named user with value ellen and one named activity with value swimming.

To request a page that sets cookies and then make subsequent requests that include those newly set cookies, use cURL's "cookie jar" feature. On the first request, set CURLOPT_COOKIEJAR to the name of a file to store the cookies in. On subsequent requests, set CURLOPT_COOKIEFILE to the same filename, and cURL reads the cookies from the file and sends them along with the request. This is especially useful for a sequence of requests in which the first request logs into a site that sets session or authentication cookies, and then the rest of the requests need to include those cookies to be valid. Example 13-19 shows such a sequence of requests.

Tracking cookies with cURL's cookie jar

<?php // A temporary file to hold the cookies $cookie_jar = tempnam('/tmp','cookie'); // log in $c = curl_init('$'); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, true); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_COOKIEJAR, $cookie_jar); $page = curl_exec($c); curl_close($c); // retrieve account balance $c = curl_init(''); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, true); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_COOKIEFILE, $cookie_jar); $page = curl_exec($c); curl_close($c); // make a deposit $c = curl_init(''); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_POST, true); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, 'account=checking&amount=122.44'); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, true); curl_setopt($c, CURLOPT_COOKIEFILE, $cookie_jar); $page = curl_exec($c); curl_close($c); // remove the cookie jar unlink($cookie_jar) or die("Can't unlink $cookie_jar"); ?>

Be careful where you store the cookie jar. It needs to be in a place your web server has write access to, but if other users can read the file, they may be able to poach the authentication credentials stored in the cookies.

HTTP_Client offers a similar cookie-tracking feature. You don't have to do anything special to enable it. If you make multiple requests with the same HTTP_Client object, cookies are automatically preserved from one request to the next.

13.3.4. See Also

Documentation on curl_setopt( ) at; the PEAR HTTP_Request class at, the PEAR HTTP_Client class at; "Persistent Client State - HTTP Cookies" at and "HTTP Cookies: Standards, Privacy, and Politics" by David M. Kristol at

PHP Cookbook, 2nd Edition
PHP Cookbook: Solutions and Examples for PHP Programmers
ISBN: 0596101015
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 445

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