00 Votes

PHP: Check if session already exists - Prevent error "A session had already been started"

Question by Guest | 15.02.2018 at 10:20

I am working with sessions in one of my PHP scripts. From time to time, unfortunately, it happens, that apparently already a PHP session exists, after revoking session_start(). This results in the following error message:

Notice: A session had already been started - ignoring session_start()

How can I prevent this error message and check whether a session already exists and call session_start() accordingly only if there is no session yet?

02 Votes

You can easily check with isset(), if there is already a session or in your case, if no session is open.

You do that as follows:

if (!isset($_SESSION)) { 
  // no session has been started yet

However, the best solution would be to (re-)structure your code so that session_start() is reliably invoked only once, for example, only every time you start your script. With a good code design, there should not occur any multi-call to session_start().
15.02.2018 at 12:23

ReplyPositive Negative
11 Vote

You can also use the PHP function session_status() to check if there is currently a session. If a session is open, you will get back PHP_SESSION_ACTIVE  from session_status(). So you can write:

if (session_status() !== PHP_SESSION_ACTIVE) {

This checks if session_status() is not equal to PHP_SESSION_ACTIVE (= one session is active) and then starts a new session.

Other return values of session_status() are:

  • PHP_SESSION_DISABLED: Sessions are disabled.
  • PHP_SESSION_NONE: Sessions are enabled, but no session exists.
  • PHP_SESSION_ACTIVE: Sessions are enabled, and a session exists.

More about that here in the PHP-Manual.
15.02.2018 at 21:21

ReplyPositive Negative
00 Votes

if (session_id() == '' || !isset($_SESSION)) {

27.08.2019 at 06:56

ReplyPositive Negative

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