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This article describes how and why Microsoft ASP.NET session IDs are used.
The ASP.NET session state is a technology that lets you store server-side, user-specific data. Web applications can use this data to process requests from the user for which the session state was instantiated. A session state user is identified by a session ID. The session ID is delivered by using one of the following methods:
When a user first opens their Web browser and then goes to a Web site that implements ASP.NET session state, a cookie is sent to the browser with the name "ASP.NET_SessionId" and a 20-character value.
When the user browses within the same DNS domain, the Web browser continues to send this cookie to the domain for which it was sourced.
For example, app1.tailspintoys.com and app2.tailspintoys.com are both ASP.NET applications. If the user goes to app1.tailspintoys.com and then goes to app2.tailspintoys.com, both applications would use the same cookie and the same session ID to track the session state of the user within each application. The applications do not share the same session state. The applications only share the session ID.
Therefore, you can reuse session IDs for several reasons. For example, if you reuse session IDs, you do not have to do the following:
When you use the in-process session state mode, these session state objects are stored in the HttpCache. The HttpCache supports a callback method when the following conditions are true:
When you abandon a session, the session ID cookie is not removed from the browser of the user. Therefore, as soon as the session has been abandoned, any new requests to the same application will use the same session ID but will have a new session state instance. At the same time, if the user opens another application within the same DNS domain, the user will not lose their session state after the Abandon method is called from one application.
Sometimes, you may not want to reuse the session ID. If you do and if you understand the ramifications of not reusing the session ID, use the following code example to abandon a session and to clear the session ID cookie:
This code example clears the session state from the server and sets the session state cookie to null. The null value effectively clears the cookie from the browser.
When a user does not log off from the application and the session state time-out occurs, the application may still use the same session state cookie if the browser is not closed. This behavior causes the user to be directed to the logon page and the session state cookie of the user to be presented. To guarantee that a new session ID is used when you open the logon page (login.aspx), send a null cookie back to the client. To do this, add a cookie to the response collection. Then, send the response collection back to the client. The easiest way to send a null cookie is by using the Response.Redirect method. Because the cookies collection always has a value for the ASP.NET_SessionId, you cannot just test if this cookie exists because you will create a Response.Redirect loop. You can set a query string on the redirect to the logon page.
Or, as illustrated in the following code example, you can use a different cookie to tell if you are already redirected to the logon page. To help enhance security and to make sure that no one tries to open the logon page by using a second cookie together with the ASP.NET cookie, the following code example uses the FormsAuthentication class to encrypt and decrypt the cookie data. Then, the code example sets a 5-second time-out.