George Maksimenko is a Lead QA engineer at Adexin. He has 10 years of experience in software testing. His primary activities in software testing are automation testing and performance testing.

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Sep 06 2017

HTTP Cookie Manager Advanced Usage - A Guide

Modern web-applications are becoming more complex each day, and almost every website uses cookies to store at least some user information. The most common usage is for storing  user session information. Apache JMeter™ has a powerful config element, the HTTP Cookie Manager, to handle the storing automatically. At the same time, the Cookie Manager also has a lot of features and properties for handling other tasks as well. We will talk about some of the advanced uses of the JMeter Cookie Manager in this blog post.


This is our second blog post about the HTTP Cookie Manager. Visit our previous post, “Using the HTTP Cookie Manager in JMeter”, to learn basic uses.


Create a Basic Script With the JMeter Cookie Manager


Let’s start by creating a short script that will show the capabilities of the Cookie Manager config element. I chose the BlazeDemo website to run our load test.  You can use it, too.


The login page of this website contains two cookies with the responses ‘XSRF-TOKEN’ and ‘laravel_session’. You can use the element inspector of your browser to find them.


advances jmeter cookie usage


Let’s get back to the script.


1. Add a Thread Group to the TestPplan.


Test plan -> Add -> Thread (Users) -> Thread Group


http cookie manager jmeter


Set the value ‘2’ in the Loop Count field. We will need this in the future to show a cookie passing through iterations.


2. Add the HTTP Cookie Manager element.


Thread (Users)  -> Add -> Config Element -> HTTP Cookie Manager


how to load test cookies


Leave it as is for now.


3. Add an HTTP Request that opens the login page.


Thread Group -> Add -> Sampler -> HTTP Request


advanced cookie performance testing


Fill in the following values:

  • Name: Login page
  • Server Name or IP:
  • Path: login


4. Add another HTTP Request that opens the reset password page.


Thread Group -> Add -> Sampler -> HTTP Request


jmeter cookie testing


Required values:

  • Name: Reset password page
  • Server Name or IP:
  • Path: password/reset


5. We are just about done! Add a listener to see your test results.


Thread Group -> Add -> Listener -> View Results Tree


We’re all set! Run the script.


advanced cookie load testing


Check the cookie data of each request. The ‘Login page’ request on the first iteration has no cookies. All the other requests have cookie data in the request header. This means that the cookie is passing from the response to the next request, and it isn’t cleared when a new iteration starts.


Let’s play around with the Cookie Manager and try out some of its more advanced options.


The HTTP Cookie Manager Config Element


Clear cookies on each iteration?


As the name indicates, this option allows JMeter to clear (or not clear) the cookie from iteration to iteration.

  • We might clear cookies when a test user should behave like a new user on each iteration. A new user means the user would not remember any cookies from this website.
  • We might not clear cookies when a test user should behave like a user who uses this website consistently a lot of times. This means the user remembers cookies from this website.


Let’s see how it works. Check the ‘Clear cookies each iteration?’ checkbox in the HTTP Cookie Manager.


jmeter advanced cookie load testing


Clear the results and run the script again.


jmeter cookie scenarios open-source


Verify the ‘Login page’ request cookies for the second iteration. It has no cookies. This means that the cookie is cleared when a new iteration starts.


User-Defined Cookies (Custom Cookies)


User-Defined Cookies are another very interesting feature made possible with the HTTP Cookie Manager. Saved cookies in this section will be added to each request in the current Thread Group. This is valuable for passing information to the server. For example, we can pass the name of the Test script with custom cookies. In such a case we could distinguish JMeter script requests from the real users on server.


To try it out, add a row to the User-Defined Cookies section of the HTTP Cookie Manager config element.


jmeter cookie testing


Fill in the following parameters:

  • Name: TEST
  • Domain:


Run the script and see how it works.


cookie load testing scripts


All requests have a cookie with the name ‘TEST’ and the value ‘BLAZEMETERCOOKIE’. Cool, isn’t it?


More possible uses for the User-Defined Cookies section:

  • The ‘Save’ button stores the list of the custom cookies to a .txt file
  • The ‘Delete’ button erases the selected custom cookie from the list
  • The ‘Load’ button allows importing a list of custom cookies to the HTTP Cookie Manager from a .txt file




Implementation has only one option: HC4CookieHandler (HttpClient 4.5.X API). Since there is only one option, we can’t change anything. But you should know that this option is necessary if the website has an IPv6 address. It also works fine for websites with IPv4 addresses.


jmeter cookie manager


Cookie Policy


This option defines which cookie policy will be used to manage the cookies.


cookie performance testing on jmeter


  • standard: Compliant with the specification defined by RFC 6265, section 4. Recommended!
  • standard-strict: Compliant with the well-behaved profile defined by RFC 6265, section 4. Recommended!
  • ignoreCookies: All cookies are ignored. Same as delete or disable Cookie Manager.
  • netscape: Corresponds to the original draft specification published by Netscape Communications.
  • default: Select RFC 2965, RFC 2109 or Netscape draft compliant implementation based on cookies properties sent with the HTTP response.
  • rfc2109: Compliant with the specification defined by RFC 2109.
  • rfc2965: Compliant with the specification defined by RFC 2965.
  • compatibility: Simulates the behavior of older versions of browsers like Mozilla FireFox and Internet Explorer.


Cookie Manager Properties


JMeter has a lot of useful properties that we can find in the file. Since this post is about the Cookie Manager, let’s consider only the relevant properties. The file is located in JMeter’s bin folder. You can configure these properties according to your needs directly in the file.


Important! Don’t forget to restart JMeter to apply changes to the file.


CookieManager.delete_null_cookies property


This property defines if cookies with null/empty values should be deleted.


Example #1


When CookieManager.delete_null_cookies=true, null/empty cookies cannot be saved in User-Defined cookies section.


When CookieManager.delete_null_cookies=false, null/empty cookies can be saved in User-Defined cookies section.


jmeter cookie manager


Example #2


When CookieManager.delete_null_cookies=true, null/empty cookies will not pass from the response to the next request.


advanced cookie usage


When CookieManager.delete_null_cookies=false, null/empty cookies will pass from the response to the next request.


cookie load testing with jmeter


NOTE: I used a local web-application to emulate this situation, not the BlazeDemo website.


CookieManager.allow_variable_cookies property


This property defines if a variable is allowed in the User-Defined cookies section. This can be used to provide information to the server. For example, by sending a request with cookies that contain a local date/time, the server can identify the local time of user.




Set the value of custom cookie to ‘${__time(EEE\, d MMM yyyy)}’ in the User-Defined Cookies section.


jmeter advanced cookies testing scenarios


When CookieManager.allow_variable_cookies=true, the value will be interpreted as a variable.


jmeter cookis load testing


When CookieManager.allow_variable_cookies=false, the value will be interpreted as a string.


cookie performance testing - advanced ways property


This property defines if cookies are stored as variables. This property can be used to get information from server cookies, to make the script more sophisticated. This also depends on the scenario, obviously. For example, let’s say the purpose of a script is to run a load test when the system has 1000 items created. Cookies from the server have information about the number of created items in the system. We can use this information from the cookies in the script, and stop the creation of items after the limit is reached.




Add a parameter to the ‘Reset password page’ request.


how do i load test cookies


Fill in the values:

  • Name: VAR

When, the variable VAR has the value of the XSRF-TOKEN cookie.


how to load test cookies


When, the variable VAR has the string value ‘${COOKIE_XSRF-TOKEN}’.


jmeter advanced cookie testing property


This property defines which prefix to append to the cookie name before saving it as a variable. The default value of the prefix is ‘COOKIE_’. The main purpose of the prefix is to prevent variables from conflicting with existing ones in the script. For example, if we want to save cookies that have the name USER to a variable, they would be saved to a variable with the name ${COOKIE_USER}. But if we already have that variable, they would conflict. So we can change prefix to custom (‘BLAZE_’) and new variable will have the name ${BLAZE_USER}. The conflict is solved.




Set the prefix in file to ‘BLAZE_’ (


Change the value of the VAR parameter in the ‘Reset password page’ request to ‘${BLAZE_XSRF-TOKEN}’.


how to test cookies with jmeter


Run the script and see the results.


jmeter cookie testing


The variable VAR has the value of the XSRF-TOKEN cookie. Same as it was with the ‘COOKIE_’ prefix. Don’t forget that we need for this example.


CookieManager.check.cookies property


This property defines if received cookies are valid, before saving them to a variable. The main purpose of this property is to accept or decline invalid cookies. Cross domain cookies are an example of invalid cookies. This is when domain_1 is setting cookies for domain_2. This could happen with complex web-applications that use two domains, like Single Sign On systems, where we are logged into one website and then redirected to another. Now let’s say domain_1 is setting cookies for domain_2, and that we need those cookies to be stored in a variable for for further usage. Only the CookieManager.check.cookies property can allow us to save those cookies.




A good example is a cross domain cookie. If a website (in my example localhost) is trying to set a cookie for another domain (in my example 


When CookieManager.check.cookies=true, this cookie will be ignored and the variable will not have the value.


jmeter cookie testing open-source made easy


When CookieManager.check.cookies=false, this cookie will be saved to a variable.


cookie load testing made easy


That’s it! This is all that we have about the HTTP Cookie manager for now. Thanks for reading and I hope this article was useful! Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


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