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session.save_path is not set, or how to store sessions securely with directadmin

| 14:28:53 10.08.2012

If you get a error like this: "PHP SAFE MODE Restriction in effect" or this "session.save_path is not set", the solution might be as following:

Make sure, you've got session.save_path uncomment in your PHP.INI file

grep session.save_path /usr/local/lib/php.ini


grep session.save_path /usr/local/etc/php5/cgi/php.ini

you should see something like this:

session.save_path = "/tmp"

If you see the different, then update it and restart apache.

Individual session.save_path for users  

Case: Apache + PHP as mod_php

It was mentioned somewhere that to have session.save_path pointed into /tmp is not very secure, as a hacker with a hosting account on your server might hijack a session file from a neighbor site, if he (or she) manages to get list of files located in /tmp. To prevent this you might want to store sessions under user's home directory, e.g.


to make it work, you should set a directive for every virtual host, open corresponding template file and find the line

php_admin_flag engine |PHP|

and add below it a new line with

php_admin_value session.save_path=|HOME|/tmps_sessions

This way you should update the following files:


You should make the directory automatically created on user adding, us this script to achieve the desired:


and add lines

mkdir "$DIR/tmp_sessions"
chown $username:$username "$DIR/tmp_sessions"
chmod 700 "$DIR/tmp_sessions"

All new accounts will have these updates by default since you've done it. You might need to update your current users, in order to do this run:

echo "action=rewrite&value=httpd" >> /usr/local/directadmin/data/task.queue

and this command to create necessary directories:

cd /home; for user in `ls -1d *`; do echo $user; mkdir /home/$user/tmp_sessions; chmod 700 /home/$user/tmp_sessions; chown $user:$user /home/$user/tmp_sessions; done;

By the way, the fact it is insecure to store PHP sessions in /tmp directory might be the reason why it's commented in the default PHP.INI and why some PHP scripts define their own session storage.

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