Starting around 1st of February, I get suddenly logged out from Stack Overflow or other Stack Exchange sites. I observed this effect in the following contexts:

(1) I switch to a browser tab where I logged into some a Stack Exchange session and notice that I have messages in my inbox. At this point, I'm of course still shown as logged in. I click on the inbox icon to see the message, but instead of the message being displayed, I'm now logged out and just see a pop up saying some explanation like "This is the inbox where you receive messages" or so (I don't remember the exact wording). When I log in, I can access my messages as usual.

(2) I'm logged in Stack Overflow in one browser tab and open another tab to some Stack Exchange site in a new tab. Usually, I'm logged in there to, but now it happens quite some time that I'm logged out and have to log in again.

The problem could relate to a short expiration time of a session cookie, because the logging-out happens only after I have worked a certain time.

Platform: Firefox 109 on Windows 10. "Enhanced Tracking Protection" is set to "Standard".

UPDATE : While I can't confirm it yet for sure, I get the impression, that this is somehow related to a timeout. For instance, I read and and respond to something on SO. Then I don't touch the browser for half an hour. Then I reload by SO page and find myself logged out.

UPDATE : I could confirm that the cookies indeed get lost after some time of inactivity. The timeout seems to be around 15 minutes. If I don't do anything on the stackexchange tab, I'm logged out.

  • what's your "Enhanced Tracking Protection" setting? Feb 3, 2023 at 8:57
  • @RobertLongson : "Standard". There is also a setting list called exceptions for enhanced tracking protection. Should I add Stack Overflow to this list? Feb 3, 2023 at 9:03
  • No but generally you should edit your question with new information so it's not lost in the comments. Then we can delete these comments. Feb 3, 2023 at 9:09
  • 1
    If you can pinpoint when this behavior changed and nobody else seems to be reporting the same, I’d try to trace it back to something that changed on your system. Windows Update? Firefox update? New extension or user script (or updates to ones you already have)? New software? VPN changes (eg do you log in while connected to work VPN and is the behavior different when you don’t)? Have you ruled out similar experiences on any other site where you have to log in? Do you experience the same in a different browser?
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 3, 2023 at 10:23
  • Note too that if you use VPN software that randomly changes what IP address you appear to be behind, this can fool tools like load balancers which “pin” you to a specific server. Load balancers are pretty good, but not perfect, so if your IP changes between requests, you could definitely end up on a different web server that might be missing some or all of your session context.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 3, 2023 at 10:28
  • I haven’t observed this behavior and I am constantly switching between WiFi, wired, and cellular connections on multiple devices. Also I don’t know of any changes we’ve made that would be anywhere near relevant, so I’m betting it’s due to a change somewhere outside of our software. I don’t use Firefox or Windows or dynamic VPN things, though.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 3, 2023 at 10:30
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    I also was thinking that it somehow relates to my system, and the only thing I can think of, is a recent update in Firefox. They update very frequently. I wonder whether - for debugging - it would help if I send a list of cookies related to Stackexchange, so that the developers can at least verify that the session cookies are reasonable. Unfortunately I'm on the start of a business trip now, so I realize that I better should have reported this after my return. I will try to update Firefox again after my return, and attempt to reproduce the problem. Feb 3, 2023 at 11:58
  • I'm not sure if it's the same, but I definitely was feeling like I had been getting logged out of the site on iPhone Safari lately. I used to be able to go a good lone time. But I now seem to be logged out more often. All of these feelings have been the last several days and before reading this thread. Feb 6, 2023 at 13:35


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