I'm trying to configure the WordPress cookie expiration time, but for some reason it's not working. I went here:


And put the following hook based on the doc:

function init() {
    // ...
    $expiration = 60;
    apply_filters( 'auth_cookie_expiration', $expiration );

This code is called from a hook in my plugin's constructor:

add_action( 'init', array( $this, 'init' ) );

And I have verified that it runs.

I expected this to produce a cookie that expires in 60 seconds, but it doesn't. Instead it sets a regular expiration time of 48 hours (WP default). I suspect this might be because when the user actually logs in, it doesn't create this expiration date, and running this function later has no effect. I haven't yet figured out how to make it work though. Any help appreciated.

2 Answers 2


Note that you're not adding any filter callback with:

apply_filters( 'auth_cookie_expiration', $expiration );

Instead use:

add_filter( 'auth_cookie_expiration', $callback, 10, 3 );

where $callback is the appropriate filter callback that modifies the expiration.

Here's an example

add_filter( 'auth_cookie_expiration', function( $length, $user_id, $remember ) {
    return $length; // adjust this to your needs.
}, 10, 3 );

or to fit with your current class setup:

add_filter( 'auth_cookie_expiration', [ $this, 'set_auth_cookie_expiration' ], 10, 3 );

where set_auth_cookie_expiration() is the appropriate method, e.g.:

public function set_auth_cookie_expiration ( $length, $user_id, $remember ) 
    return $length; // adjust this to your needs.
  • Thanks, I saw the second parameter being a callback in some examples, but the main doc says it's an integer ($length). Why the discrepancy? Is this version-dependent? And if the parameters in the doc are wrong, what do the other two parameters stand for? Also, how do I pass params to the callback?
    – Ynhockey
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 14:43
  • 1
    I think you're just misunderstanding a little bit the apply_filters vs add_filter. We look at apply_filters() to see how to construct our callbacks in add_filter(). I updated the answer. Hope it explains it better. @Ynhockey
    – birgire
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 14:55
add_filter( 'auth_cookie_expiration', 'keep_me_logged_in_for_1_year' );

function keep_me_logged_in_for_1_year( $expirein ) {
    return 31556926; // 1 year in seconds

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