Recipe 21.2 Setting Cookies

21.2.1 Problem

You want to send a cookie to a client as part of a response.

21.2.2 Solution

Use the Apache::Cookie module from CPAN. From within your content handler, create a new cookie and attach it to the outgoing headers:

use Apache::Cookie;
$cookie = Apache::Cookie->new($r,
                              -name    => "cookie name",
                              -value   => "its value",
                              -expires => "+1d" );

Don't forget to send the headers before generating content:



21.2.3 Description

The Apache::Cookie module builds a string that represents a cookie. To specify an expiration time for your cookie, use one of these formats:


30 seconds from now


10 minutes from now


1 hour from now


1 day ago




Three months from now


Ten years from now

Thursday, 25-Apr-1999 00:30:31 GMT


Call the bake method once you finish changing the cookie's parameters. This adds the cookie in its current state to mod_perl's planned response. If you change the cookie object after calling bake, changes won't be reflected in the header sent by mod_perl.

Apache maintains two sets of headers: error headers (which, confusingly, are always sent, regardless of whether the response code indicates an error) and ordinary headers (which are sent only for successful responses). Apache::Cookie sets the cookie in the error headers, so the cookie will be sent even for redirection responses.

The CGI::Cookie module is a slower pure Perl module with the same interface, which should be used only when the XS module Apache::Cookie is unavailable. To use it, substitute "CGI::Cookie" for "Apache::Cookie" in your code and remove the request object from the call to new. You can't call bake eitherinstead you must say:

$r->err_headers_out->add("Set-Cookie", $cookie->as_string);

We use err_headers_out rather than err_header_out because the former method allows for multiple values for a header, whereas the latter does not. That is, err_headers_out lets you build up a header over time by adding to its existing value before it's sent, as we might do here if we independently set three cookies. The err_header_out method always replaces, never augments.

21.2.4 See Also

The documentation for the CGI::Cookie and Apache::Cookie modules on CPAN; the Netscape cookie specification at; Recipe 3.7 in mod_perl Developer's Cookbook; the manpage