"php session ids — how are they generated? [duplicate]" Answer’s


If you want to know how PHP generates a session ID by default check out the source code on Github. It is certainly not random and is based on a hash (default: md5) of these ingredients (see line 310 of code snippet):

  1. IP address of the client
  2. Current time
  3. PHP Linear Congruence Generator - a pseudo random number generator (PRNG)
  4. OS-specific random source - if the OS has a random source available (e.g. /dev/urandom)

If the OS has a random source available then strength of the generated ID for the purpose of being a session ID is high (/dev/urandom and other OS random sources are (usually) cryptographically secure PRNGs). If however it does not then it is satisfactory.

The goal with session identification generation is to:

  1. minimise the probability of generating two session IDs with the same value
  2. make it very challenging computationally to generate random keys and hit an in use one.

This is achieved by PHP's approach to session generation.

You cannot absolutely guarantee uniqueness, but the probabilities are so low of hitting the same hash twice that it is, generally speaking, not worth worrying about.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
answered 11 Months ago
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