I was looking at profile of a user who is currently unregistered but has been using Stack Exchange communities since 27th June 2016.

I was wondering how does Stack Exchange keep track of unregistered accounts but this question answers that they do it with a long living cookie.

Now I am wondering, how long does that cookie remain valid? Is there a certain time period after which an unregistered user's login cookie becomes invalid?

1 Answer 1


The only cookie that is used for authentication is acct

When I have the site create me an unregistered account the server sends me this response:

domain=.stackoverflow .com;
expires=Wed, 11-Jan-2017 08:38:29 GMT;

So I can close this browser window now and if I come back to that same browser within 6 months I should be able to gain access again to that same unregistered account.
If I keep returning, the cookie expiration will slide.

  • Guess you were right after all. Check my comments on my deleted post. Jul 11, 2016 at 10:46
  • OK, so I trashed my unregistered account for nothing ... boohoobooohooo .. you owe me a coffee ... ;)
    – rene
    Jul 11, 2016 at 10:52
  • Still wonder what I did wrong with my cookie for SO user 6573618
    – rene
    Jul 11, 2016 at 11:33
  • You are welcome to come and get a cup of coffee. Any time @rene Jul 11, 2016 at 11:36

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