Why do I have to log in to each site individually?

If I were to clear my cookies, the first time I visit each SE site, I need to login to each site. This can be a little annoying.


First, I go to SO, I have to log in there. Not a big deal.

I want to check what's going in Meta. I go to perform some action and I realize I'm not logged in. I think, well this is kind of annoying, but it is only a few clicks.

Now I go to my network profile and click accounts because I want to review my accounts on other SE sites. SE obviously knows all of these accounts are linked because it shows them to me. So I open each one I want to view in a new tab. I go to each of these tabs, expecting to be able to use the site, but I need to log in again, for each one.

Why? They are linked, the system know this, and I am already logged in.

  • 1
    the login should happen automatically if you've visited the site before & you should remain logged in, unless you've explicitly logged out Aug 30 '12 at 14:40
  • 1
    It does, but if I clear my browser history, or change computers, or any number of other things, I need to log in to each one.
    – cadrell0
    Aug 30 '12 at 14:41
  • It shouldn't be like you describe. See also When does a login happen automatically? (And my comments to the accepted answer.) @Sathya, even when explicitly logging out, one should be logged in again after a browser restart or wiping once cookies, I think.
    – Arjan
    Aug 30 '12 at 16:46
  • 1
    I wanted to vote but all I got was "Please login or register to vote for this post."
    – inf
    Aug 30 '12 at 17:26
  • @Arjan Perhaps something was screwy with my system earlier, or maybye I was jumping the gun before the banner came up, because now I am getting the second behavior as described in the answer of the question you linked to. However, I still view this behavior as annoying as I have to load the same page twice.
    – cadrell0
    Aug 31 '12 at 0:32
  • The "Welcome back" banner is very much by design, as logging in is happening in the background. Of course, the header with your name and reputation could be inserted then (was asked for earlier too), but refreshing the full page would be very annoying. Also first trying to log in (rather than some background thing) would slow down. Note that you don't have to click the banner. Going to any other page has the same effect. Refresh is only needed to apply your favorite and ignored tags.
    – Arjan
    Sep 1 '12 at 6:14
  • possible duplicate of Why does it says "welcome back -user- click here to 'refresh page'"
    – Arjan
    Sep 1 '12 at 6:18
  • Upvoters, are you seeing the same behaviour?
    – Arjan
    Sep 1 '12 at 6:22
  • If I clear my cookies, I have to log in individually on each site again by 1. clicking log-in, 2. selecting Google for the OpenID, 3. selecting the appropriate google account. Is that the expected behaviour? It certainly doesn't feel like what I'd call being auto logged into all sites. There's no "welcome back" banners. Jan 22 '14 at 4:23

Stack Exchange knows you are already logged-in because some data it saves on your browser. If you delete your cookies, Stack Exchange will not know you are already logged-in, and will ask you to log in again.

I tried on my computer, and after deleting the cookies used from Stack Exchange, I was shown as not logged-in. I logged in, and I passed from Meta Stack Overflow to Drupal Answers, where I was shown as not logged-in. I clicked on the "log in" link, clicked on the OpenID provider I wanted to use, and I was automatically logged in. I didn't even had to enter the username or the password; all was done automatically.

More information is given in Global Network Auto-Login.

  • 1
    Yes, you don't have to enter your credentials again, but you have to click login. I'm already logged in, why do I have to click login?
    – cadrell0
    Aug 30 '12 at 18:45
  • You are not logged-in. You have an account for each Stack Exchange site. Until Stack Exchange doesn't try to access the HTML 5 Local Storage on your browser, it will not know you are already logged in on a Stack Exchange site. That part is done from the central authentication domain, stackauth.com.
    – apaderno
    Aug 30 '12 at 18:51
  • But both @cadrell0 and you did log in again after clearing the cookies. So, after that, the local storage should have been restored again? And hence, subsequently logging in to any other site should be fully automatic again? (The automatic part you're describing is about still being authenticated at your OpenID provider. In my recent testing in When does a login happen automatically? I really think the automatic part was at Stack Exchange itself. Unless things changed recently?)
    – Arjan
    Aug 30 '12 at 21:37
  • Ah, maybe you and @cadrell0 are using a browser that does not clear local storage when clearing cookies? Then maybe that messes up?
    – Arjan
    Aug 30 '12 at 21:39
  • @Arjan After I cleared the data from my browser, I had to click on the "log in" link all the times I visited a different Stack Exchange site where I had an account. That is the same thing it happened when I tried with a browser private session. In both the cases, I had to just select the OpenID provider. I am using Safari 6 on OS X 10.8.1. The browser doesn't make distinction between cookies, and local storage data: It deletes both.
    – apaderno
    Aug 30 '12 at 21:45
  • According to a comment at the question, the OP is now seeing the expected "Welcome back" banner too. Maybe something was wrong yesterday.
    – Arjan
    Sep 1 '12 at 6:21

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