Read a javascript cookie by name

I have set a cookie using

document.cookie = 
    'MYBIGCOOKIE=' + value + 
    '; expires=' + now.toGMTString() + 
    '; path=/';

Now there are between 5 and 10 cookies set on this site, is there a way to check the value ofthis cookie by name.

if (document.cookie.MYBIGCOOKIE == '1') {
    alert('it is 1')



Use the RegExp constructor and multiple replacements to clarify the syntax:

function getCook(cookiename) 
  // Get name followed by anything except a semicolon
  var cookiestring=RegExp(cookiename+"=[^;]+").exec(document.cookie);
  // Return everything after the equal sign, or an empty string if the cookie name not found
  return decodeURIComponent(!!cookiestring ? cookiestring.toString().replace(/^[^=]+./,"") : "");

//Sample usage
var cookieValue = getCook('MYBIGCOOKIE');

Unfortunately, Javascript's cookie syntax is nowhere near as nice as that. In fact, in my opinion, it's one of the worst designed parts.

When you try to read document.cookie, you get a string containing all the cookies set. You have to parse the string, separating by the semicolon ; character. Rather than writing this yourself, there are plenty of versions available on the web. My favourite is the one at This gives you createCookie, readCookie and deleteCookie functions.

function getCookie(c_name)
    var i,x,y,ARRcookies=document.cookie.split(";");

    for (i=0;i<ARRcookies.length;i++)
        if (x==c_name)
            return unescape(y);

Source: W3Schools

Edit: as @zcrar70 noted, the above code is incorrect, please see the following answer Javascript getCookie functions


using jquery-cookie

I find this library helpful. 3.128 kb of pure convenience.

add script

<script src="/path/to/jquery.cookie.js"></script>

set cookie

$.cookie('name', 'value');

read cookie


One of the shortest ways is this, however as mentioned previously it can return the wrong cookie if there's similar names (MyCookie vs AnotherMyCookie):

var regex = /MyCookie=(.[^;]*)/ig;
var match = regex.exec(document.cookie);
var value = match[1];

I use this in a chrome extension so I know the name I'm setting, and I can make sure there won't be a duplicate, more or less.


The point of Stack Overflow is to provide a database of good quality answers, so I am going to reference some standard source code and an article that gives examples:

Note: The code is regular-expression free for greatly enhanced efficiency.

Using the source code provided, you would use cookies like this:

makeCookie('color', 'silver');

This saves a cookie indicating that the color is silver. The cookie would expire after the current session (as soon as the user quits the browser).

makeCookie('color', 'green', { domain: '' });

This saves the color green for

makeCookie('color', 'white', { domain: '', path: '/invoices' });
makeCookie('invoiceno', '0259876', { path: '/invoices', secure: true });

saves the color white for invoices viewed anywhere at The second cookie is a secure cookie, and records an invoice number. This cookie will be sent only to pages that are viewed through secure HTTPS connections, and scripts within secure pages are the only scripts allowed to access the cookie.

One HTTP host is not allowed to store or read cookies for another HTTP host. Thus, a cookie domain must be stored with at least two periods. By default, the domain is the same as the domain of the web address which created the cookie.

The path of an HTTP cookie restricts it to certain files on the HTTP host. Some browsers use a default path of /, so the cookie will be available on the whole host. Other browsers use the whole filename. In this case, if /invoices/overdue.cgi creates a cookie, only /invoices/overdue.cgi is going to get the cookie back.

When setting paths and other parameters, they are usually based on data obtained from variables like location.href, etc. These strings are already escaped, so when the cookie is created, the cookie function does not escape these values again. Only the name and value of the cookie are escaped, so we can conveniently use arbitrary names or values. Some browsers limit the total size of a cookie, or the total number of cookies which one domain is allowed to keep.

makeCookie('rememberemail', 'yes', { expires: 7 });
makeCookie('rememberlogin', 'yes', { expires: 1 });
makeCookie('allowentergrades', 'yes', { expires: 1/24 });

these cookies would remember the user's email for 7 days, the user's login for 1 day, and allow the user to enter grades without a password for 1 hour (a twenty-fourth of a day). These time limits are obeyed even if they quit the browser, and even if they don't quit the browser. Users are free to use a different browser program, or to delete cookies. If they do this, the cookies will have no effect, regardless of the expiration date.

makeCookie('rememberlogin', 'yes', { expires: -1 });

deletes the cookie. The cookie value is superfluous, and the return value false means that deletion was successful. (A expiration of -1 is used instead of 0. If we had used 0, the cookie might be undeleted until one second past the current time. In this case we would think that deletion was unsuccessful.)

Obviously, since a cookie can be deleted in this way, a new cookie will also overwrite any value of an old cookie which has the same name, including the expiration date, etc. However, cookies for completely non-overlapping paths or domains are stored separately, and the same names do not interfere with each other. But in general, any path or domain which has access to a cookie can overwrite the cookie, no matter whether or not it changes the path or domain of the new cookie.


also deletes the cookie, by doing makeCookie('rememberlogin', '', { expires: -1 }). This makes the cookie code longer, but saves code for people who use it, which one might think saves more code in the long run.


You can use the following function:

function getCookiesMap(cookiesString) {
  return cookiesString.split(";")
    .map(function(cookieString) {
        return cookieString.trim().split("=");
    .reduce(function(acc, curr) {
        acc[curr[0]] = curr[1];
        return acc;
    }, {});

When, called with document.cookie as parameter, it will return an object, with the cookies keys as keys and the cookies values.

var cookies = getCookiesMap(document.cookie);
var cookieValue = cookies["MYBIGCOOKIE"];

Your cookies would look like:

"MYBIGCOOKIE=1; PHPSESSID=d76f00dvgrtea8f917f50db8c31cce9"

first of all read all cookies:

var read_cookies = document.cookie;

then split all cookies with ";":

var split_read_cookie = read_cookies.split(";");

then use for loop to read each value. Into loop each value split again with "=":

for (i=0;i<split_read_cookie.length;i++){
    var value=split_read_cookie[i];
    if(value[0]=="MYBIGCOOKIE" && value[1]=="1"){
        alert('it is 1');

Here is an API which was written to smooth over the nasty browser cookie "API"


Here is an example implementation, which would make this process seamless (Borrowed from AngularJs)

var CookieReader = (function(){
var lastCookies = {};
var lastCookieString = '';

function safeGetCookie() {
    try {
        return document.cookie || '';
    } catch (e) {
        return '';

function safeDecodeURIComponent(str) {
    try {
        return decodeURIComponent(str);
    } catch (e) {
        return str;

function isUndefined(value) {
    return typeof value === 'undefined';

return function () {
    var cookieArray, cookie, i, index, name;
    var currentCookieString = safeGetCookie();

    if (currentCookieString !== lastCookieString) {
        lastCookieString = currentCookieString;
        cookieArray = lastCookieString.split('; ');
        lastCookies = {};

        for (i = 0; i < cookieArray.length; i++) {
            cookie = cookieArray[i];
            index = cookie.indexOf('=');
            if (index > 0) { //ignore nameless cookies
                name = safeDecodeURIComponent(cookie.substring(0, index));

                if (isUndefined(lastCookies[name])) {
                    lastCookies[name] = safeDecodeURIComponent(cookie.substring(index + 1));
    return lastCookies;

The simplest way to read a cookie I can think is using Regexp like this:

**Replace COOKIE_NAME with the name of your cookie.


How does it work?

Cookies are stored in document.cookie like this: cookieName=cookieValue;cookieName2=cookieValue2;.....

The regex searches the whole cookie string for literaly "COOKIE_NAME=" and captures anything after it that is not a semicolon until it actually finds a semicolon;

Then we use [1] to get the second item from array, which is the captured group.


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