Implementation of “Remember me” in a Rails application

My Rails-app has a sign in box with a "remember me" checkbox. Users who check that box should remain logged in even after closing their browser. I'm keeping track of whether users are logged in by storing their id in the user's session.

But sessions are implemented in Rails as session cookies, which are not persistent. I can make them persistent:

    class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
      before_filter :update_session_expiration_date


      def update_session_expiration_date
        options = ActionController::Base.session_options
        unless options[:session_expires]
          options[:session_expires] = 1.year.from_now
But that seems like a hack, which is surprising for such common functionality. Is there a better way?

Last updated:12/28/2014 11:55:27 PM

1 Answers

Anonymous User
Anonymous User

I have spent a while thinking about this and came to some conclusions. Rails session cookies are tamper-proof by default, so you really don't have to worry about a cookie being modified on the client end.

Here is what I've done:

Session cookie is set to be long-lived (6 months or so)
Inside the session store
An 'expires on' date that is set to login + 24 hours
user id
Authenticated = true so I can allow for anonymous user sesssions (not dangerous because of the cookie tamper protection)
I add a before_filter in the Application Controller that checks the 'expires on' part of the session.
When the user checks the "Remember Me" box, I just set the session[:expireson] date to be login + 2 weeks. No one can steal the cookie and stay logged in forever or masquerade as another user because the rails session cookie is tamper-proof.