Cesession part of Monolyth

Full documentationAPI referenceAll releases and notes

Latest release


Date: github


Alternative PHP session handler for Monolyth unframework

Who is this for?

While PHP supports session handling, the implementation is less than stellar. Cesession provides an alternative with built-in helpers to use either an SQL database, memcached or a NoSQL database.

Cesession offers a seamless interface with the well-known $_SESSION superglobal, so any existing code should Just Work(tm).

An added advantage of using SQL based databases is that you can set up a foreign key constraint between the current user and the current session, so people get automatically logged out.


Composer (recommended)

$ composer require monolyth/cesession


  1. Clone or download the repository;
  2. Add the Monolyth\Cesession namespace to your autoloader for /path/to/cesession/src.
  3. Create the relevant table (see scripts in ./info/sql)

That's it!

Setting up

To begin, before any call to session_start create the Monolyth\Cesession\Session object and register a handler. Currently Cesession ships with a Pdo handler that does exactly what its name implies (store the session data in a PDO-compatible database, e.g. PostgreSQL or MySQL):


use Monolyth\Cesession\Session;
use Monolyth\Cesession\Handler;

$session = new Session('my-session-name');
$db = new PDO('dsn', 'user', 'pass');
$handler = new Handler\Pdo($db);

Registering handlers

To register a handler, simply call the registerHandler method on the $session object and pass in a handler object. Each handler object must implement the Monolyth\Cesession\Handler interface. This is done both for type hinting and to ensure the required methods exist. The Handler interface is a subset of PHP's built-in SessionHandlerInterface.

The optional second argument to registerHandler is a probability percentage between 0 and 100. This signifies the probability that for supporting calls, the action is also delegated to the next handler (if defined).

E.g., say you want to store sessions in Memcached (fast!) but persist to a PDO backend every ten calls on average:


$session->registerHandler(new Handler\Memcached($memcached), 10);
$session->registerHandler(new Handler\Pdo($db));

Note: currently only the Pdo and Memcached handlers are supported out of the box.

Forcing an operation on all handlers

Sometimes you'll want to ensure an operation gets persisted to all handlers, for instance when a user's authentication state changes. Use the force method for this. The first argument is the session method you need to call, the second an array of arguments to pass:


// Force emptying of the current session on all handlers:
    [session_id(), ['data' => serialize([])] + $session::$session]

Internally this calls the method on all defined handlers with a probability of 100%. Note that using force only makes sense if you have multiple handlers defined with varying probabilities.

The forwarding is done directly on the handlers, hence the arguments passed are slightly different than on the main Session object. Most importantly, $data is not passed to write as a string but as a hash with augmented meta information about the session.

Writing your own handlers

See the examples in ./src/Handler. It's simple enough.

Session encoding/decoding

By default, Cesession uses the session.serialize_handler PHP ini setting to en/decode session data. You can override this, e.g. in your php.ini or by calling ini_set('session.serialize_handler, 'new value'). See the PHP manual for valid values, but say you wanted to store session data using regular serialize and unserialize calls, you would do this:

ini_set('session.serialize_handler', 'php_serialize');

This allows you to modify the session data more easily from other places in your code (say, a cronjob) without having to resort to weird trickery.