I've been trying to track down some annoying session issues since my webhost upgrade to PHP 5.3.3 awhile back. I've determined that if there is an active session, calling session_start() from a subdirectory kills the existing session. As an example, I start a session and a user logs in to domain.com/index.php then the user navigates to domain.com/members/ which fires start_session() ... the user's session is lost.
I've dug around for this and can't find anything similar. Is there a PHP configuration that would account for this behavior?
if your sessions works all right within the same directory (it is unclear from your question), there is the only possible reason for such a behavior, a pretty obvious one: "directory" cookie parameter.
It seems it is set to somewhat unusual value, other than default "/" for the session cookie parameter.
You have to check it out.
Anyway, it is almost useless to try ANY session/cookie related problem without an HTTP interchange log.
You have to use some HTTP sniffer, like LiveHTTPHeaders Firefox addon to see what cookie header was sent by the server and which one was returned by client.
Otherwise it's all going to be shooting in the dark.
Okay, as it seems from your yonder comment, the session id remains the same, so, no HTTP issue can be a reason. The issue become a kinda tricky to spot. Could you please post your test script here?