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HTTP and HTTPS persistence

Configure load balancing persistence for HTTP or HTTPS to make sure that a user is connected to the same server every time they make a request that is part of the same session. HTTP cookie persistence uses injected cookies to enable persistence.

When you configure persistence, the FortiGate unit load balances a new session to a real server according to the Load Balance Method. If the session has an HTTP cookie or an SSL session ID, the FortiGate unit sends all subsequent sessions with the same HTTP cookie or SSL session ID to the same real server.

The following example shows how to enable cookie persistence and set the cookie domain to

config firewall vip

edit HTTP_Load_Balance

set type server-load-balance

set server-type http

set extport 8080

set extintf port2

set extip

set persistence http-cookie

set http-cookie-domain

config realservers

edit 1

set ip

set port 80


edit 2

set ip

set port 80


edit 3

set ip

set port 80


How HTTP cookie persistence options work

The following options are available for the config firewall vip command when type is set to server-load-balance, server-type is set to http or https and persistence is set to http‑cookie:








When HTTP cookie persistence is enabled the FortiGate unit inserts a header of the following form into each HTTP response unless the corresponding HTTP request already contains a FGTServer cookie:

Set-Cookie: FGTServer=E7D01637C4B08E89A6714213A9D85D9C7E4D8158; Version=1; Max-Age=3600

The value of the FGTServer cookie encodes the server that traffic should be directed to. The value is encoded so as to not leak information about the internal network.

Enable http-cookie-domain-from-host to extract the cookie domain from the host: header in the HTTP request. For example, to restrict the cookie, enter:

The generated cookies could have the following form if the Host: header contains

Set-Cookie: FGTServer=E7D01637C4B08E89A6714213A9D85D9C7E4D8158; Version=1;; Max-Age=3600

For more information, see “HTTP host-based load balancing”.

Use http-cookie-domain to restrict the domain that the cookie should apply to. For example, to restrict the cookie, enter:

set http-cookie-domain

Now all generated cookies will have the following form:

Set-Cookie: FGTServer=E7D01637C4B08E89A6714213A9D85D9C7E4D8158; Version=1;; Max-Age=3600

Use http-cookie-path to limit the cookies to a particular path. For example, to limit cookies to the path /sales, enter:

set http-cookie-path /sales

Now all generated cookies will have the following form:

Set-Cookie: FGTServer=E7D01637C4B08E89A6714213A9D85D9C7E4D8158; Version=1;; Path=/sales; Max-Age=3600

Use http-cookie-age to change how long the browser caches the cookie. You can enter an age in minutes or set the age to 0 to make the browser keep the cookie indefinitely:

set http-cookie-age 0

Now all generated cookies will have the following form:

Set-Cookie: FGTServer=E7D01637C4B08E89A6714213A9D85D9C7E4D8158; Version=1;; Path=/sales

Use http-cookie-generation to invalidate all cookies that have already been generated. The exact value of the generation is not important, only that it is different from any generation that has already been used for cookies in this domain. The simplest approach is to increment the generation by one each time invalidation is required. Since the default is 0, enter the following to invalidate all existing cookies:

set http-cookie-generation 1

Use http-cookie-share {disable | same-ip} to control the sharing of cookies across virtual servers in the same virtual domain. The default setting same-ip means that any FGTServer cookie generated by one virtual server can be used by another virtual server in the same virtual domain. For example, if you have an application that starts on HTTP and then changes to HTTPS and you want to make sure that the same server is used for the HTTP and HTTPS traffic then you can create two virtual servers, one for port 80 (for HTTP) and one for port 443 (for HTTPS). As long as you add the same real servers to both of these virtual servers (and as long as both virtual servers have the same number of real servers with the same IP addresses), then cookies generated by accessing the HTTP server are reused when the application changes to the HTTPS server.

If for any reason you do not want this sharing to occur then select disable to make sure that a cookie generated for a virtual server cannot be used by other virtual servers.

Use https-cookie-secure to enable or disable using secure cookies. Secure cookies are disabled by default because secure cookies can interfere with cookie sharing across HTTP and HTTPS virtual servers. If enabled, then the Secure tag is added to the cookie inserted by the FortiGate unit:

Set-Cookie: FGTServer=E7D01637C4B08E89A6714213A9D85D9C7E4D8158; Version=1; Max-Age=3600; Secure