Open php.ini

vim /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini

Add following line.

session.save_path = "/var/run/php5/sessions"

Save and exit.

Run following commands.

mkdir -p /var/run/php5/sessions/
chown -R www-data:www-data /var/run/php5/
cp -rp /var/lib/php5/* /var/run/php5/sessions/
service php5-fpm restart

Edit cron on Debian/Ubuntu

vim /etc/cron.d/php5

Find 2 occurrences of /var/lib/php5/ and replace them with /var/run/php5/sessions/

This cronjob keeps deleting old sessions from time to time. If you forget to do this, you will get disk full error.

That’s it!


  1. I’m having a problem and I think it is related to this. What ownership and permissions does /var/run/php5/sessions/ need?

    1. a chown -R www-data:www-data /var/run/php5/sessions followed by chmod -R 755 /var/run/php5/sessions fixed my problem but not sure its the proper solution?

      1. Thanks for sharing your solution.

        I used cp -rp on live server. So I might have missed that issue. Anyway, updated article to take care of permission issue.

        1. Ah, I don’t usually copy/paste very step, so I guess I overlooked the cp -rp and got into trouble when the session storage could not be written to 🙂

  2. Oh, btw. is /var/run/ automatically mounted on tmpfs? Is this a newer development? Is the whole /var folder on tmpfs? only run? What about /var/cache?

    Sorry to bug you with these questions but it seems you know more about these folders than me 🙂

    1. You can find that always using mount command.

      /var/run is symlink to /run and /run is mounted on tmpfs. Atleast in Ubuntu 12.04.

      1. hm, on Debian Wheezy it looks like this:

        /dev/md1 on / type ext3 (rw,usrjquota=quota.user,,jqfmt=vfsv0)
        tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
        proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
        sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
        udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
        tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
        devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)
        /dev/md0 on /boot type ext3 (rw)
        tmpfs on /var/cache/nginx type tmpfs (rw,size=500M,mode=0755)
        tmpfs on /var/cache/ngx_pagespeed_cache type tmpfs (rw,size=500M,mode=0755)
        /var/run on /run type none (rw,bind)
        /var/lock on /run/lock type none (rw,bind)
        /dev/shm on /run/shm type none (rw,bind)

        so it doesn’t look like it. You see the two tmpfs mounts on /var/cache – I manually added those. Maybe I should add a similar one for the session cache?

          1. I’m a bit confused. I tried that but ls -al /var/run simply lists the content of the folder, as does ls -al /var/cache/nginxwhich is definitely mounted on tmpfs.

            Am I doing something wrong or misreading the results?

            ls -al /var/cache/nginx/
            total 4
            drwxr-xr-x 18 www-data root 360 Jun 20 21:21 .
            drwxr-xr-x 19 root root 4096 Jul 5 20:26 ..
            drwx------ 222 www-data www-data 4440 Jul 6 07:04 0
            drwx------ 235 www-data www-data 4700 Jul 6 00:42 1
            drwx------ 223 www-data www-data 4460 Jul 5 19:24 2
            drwx------ 226 www-data www-data 4520 Jul 5 19:22 3
            drwx------ 229 www-data www-data 4580 Jul 6 09:11 4
            drwx------ 219 www-data www-data 4380 Jul 6 08:56 5
            drwx------ 227 www-data www-data 4540 Jul 5 16:43 6

    1. Any suggested size? I know it depends on the number of sites and the number of users, etc. so jsut a thumb-suck size would be fine.

      1. It depends on RAM you have. You can set it to 50MB I guess. Session data is just textual data I guess!

        This is one reason that I use a big common tmpfs dir and change application config.

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