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This is usually stored in a database of some kind, keyed by your session identifier.
Programming and human factors
I'm not sure either one of these reasons are particularly justifiable. That's the why of browser session timeouts as of the programmer's perspective. Is it actually fair to kick users all the way out of your web appliance, or worse, blindly reject data they've submitted -- just because they were impudent enough to wait a a small amount of hours since their last supplication en route for the web server gods? If you're worried about session hijacking -- after that you really should be -- abuse a HTTPS protected connection. Updated September 22, So why does the attendant choose to arbitrarily forget about you in an hour?