Simulate session time out


I have a webapplication with forms authentication and cookies. I want to do some automatic tests. One of the tests I want to perform is to test a session timeout. However I don't want to wait until the timeout period expires, but want to do an action to simulate the timeout. I thought a way to do that is to change the value of the session cookie. Is that a correct test to simulate a timeout? If negative, is there another way to do that?


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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I don't think that will work.  And you may find it difficult to test.  Session expiration is controlled by the server and is a minimum time, not an exact time, so you can't use it as a timer.  And session expiration is only checked when you access a page that is part of the session.  I know that in PHP, if you never again access a page with that session, the session data may never get removed.  Also, if you completely close your browser and re-open it, all 'session cookies' will be deleted.

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Ray PaseurCommented:
How the session works:

The session "timeout" occurs as a result of garbage collection.  When a client has not touched the session data via an HTTP request in more than 24 minutes, the session data becomes eligible for garbage collection.  Whether garbage collection actually occurs (and whether the timeout is really 24 minutes) are subject to configuration variables.

If you read the article and still wonder how to test this, please post back and I'll try to help.  But I agree with Dave Baldwin - if you want the session to go away, just close the browser.  You will have to close every instance of the browser to ensure that the cookie is no longer returned.
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