Dave Haigh Dave Haigh - 6 months ago 16
Javascript Question

Which date formats can I use when specifying the expiry date when setting a cookie?

I am using a function which sets a cookie. This function allows the cookie name, the cookie value and an additional expiry date of the cookie to be passed into it.

the function:

function setCookie(name, value, exdate) {
var c_value = escape(value) + ((exdate === null || exdate === undefined) ? "" : "; expires=" + exdate);
document.cookie = name + "=" + c_value;
};


usage:

setCookie("my-cookie-name","my-value","Sun, 15 Jul 2012 00:00:01 GMT");


I have used the function with the date format above and believe it is cross browser compatible as I have tested if the cookie remains after closing various browsers and reopening them. I discovered that there were problems when using a format like
"15 Jul 2012"
. This format worked for me during development in firefox, but other browsers only seemed to set the cookie as a session cookie.

Should I stick to using just this format: "Sun, 15 Jul 2012 00:00:01 GMT" or are there other formats I could use for the expiry date that will work across the major browsers (IE 7-9, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari)?

EDIT/UPDATE:

Cookies require the expiry date to be in UTC/GMT Format (see answer below).

I have edited my function to the following in order to convert any dates passed in that are not in the corect format.

function setCookie(name, value, exdate) {
//If exdate exists then pass it as a new Date and convert to UTC format
(exdate) && (exdate = new Date(exdate).toUTCString());
var c_value = escape(value) + ((exdate === null || exdate === undefined) ? "" : "; expires=" + exdate);
document.cookie = name + "=" + c_value;
};

Answer

Based on testing and further reading into this, a date in a UTC/GMT format is required by cookies e.g. Sun, 15 Jul 2012 00:00:01 GMT

Therefore any dates in other formats such as 15 Jul 2012, or 15/Jul/2012, or 07/15/2012, have to be passed as a new Date object and then through the toUTCString() or the toGMTString() function.

therefore I have edited my function to the following:

function setCookie(name, value, exdate) {
    //If exdate exists then pass it as a new Date and convert to UTC format
    (exdate) && (exdate = new Date(exdate).toUTCString());
    var c_value = escape(value) + ((exdate === null || exdate === undefined) ? "" : "; expires=" + exdate);
    document.cookie = name + "=" + c_value;
};
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