Set, get and destroy cookies in WordPress

You can either retrieve and manipulate cookies on the server side using PHP or client side, using JavaScript.

In PHP, you set cookies using setcookie(). Note that this must be done before any output is sent to the browser which can be quite the challenge in WordPress. You’re pretty much limited to some of the early running hooks which you can set via a plugin or theme file


add_action('init', function() {
    // yes, this is a PHP 5.3 closure, deal with it
    if (!isset($_COOKIE['my_cookie'])) {
        setcookie('my_cookie', 'some default value', strtotime('+1 day'));
    }
});

Retrieving cookies in PHP is much easier. Simply get them by name from the $_COOKIE super global’

$cookieValue = $_COOKIE['my_cookie'];

Unsetting a cookie requires setting one with an expiration date in the past, something like

setcookie('my_cookie', null, strtotime('-1 day'));
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