Question from Gary: If a website offers a “Keep me signed in” or “Remember me” option I always select it so I won’t have to sign in every time I visit that site.
But there are a couple of sites that I visit every day that occasionally require me to sign in even if I’ve previously checked the “Keep me signed in” or Remember me” option.
I don’t have to sign in to those sites every time, just occasionally. But it’s usually at least once or twice a week.
For some reason that really irritates me. Why do they even offer the option to stay signed in if they aren’t going to honor it?
But that’s just a rhetorical question. My real question is why is this happening and how can I fix it?
Rick’s answer: I certainly understand your frustration with this issue, Gary. I hate it when websites won’t honor the options they allow you to select!
Cookies are tiny files that a website stores on your computer for various reasons.
Those reasons vary quite a bit, but one of the most common uses of cookie files is to let the site know you’re logged in to your account.
Without these “logged-in cookies” you’d have to log into your account every time you visited a website or even clicked on a link to visit a different page on the same site.
Basically, when a web page that you must be logged in to view is loaded in your browser it checks to see if the “logged-in cookie” is active.
If it is, the page is displayed with no further delay. But if it isn’t you’re prompted to log in to gain access to the page.
When a website offers the “Keep me signed in” option, that “logged-in cookie” doesn’t get deleted or deactivated just because you exit the site or close your browser. That means the next time you visit that site you won’t have to log in again.
However, if that “logged-in cookie” somehow manages to get deleted or deactivated you will be prompted to log in the next time you visit that website.
There are several ways those important cookies can get deleted or deactivated. Here are a few of the most common ways:
1 – You accidentally click the “Logout” or “Signout” button without realizing it. (This rarely happens, but it does happen on occasion).
Obviously, the only “fix” for this is to pay closer attention so you don’t accidentally log yourself out.
(I’m not saying this is what’s happening. I’m sure it probably isn’t in your case. But it is a potential cause for this issue so I felt the need to include it.)
2 – For security reasons, the website automatically logs you out of your account after a certain period of time has elapsed since your last login.
For example, some websites will log you out after two weeks. Others will log you out after 24 hours.
The actual time interval selected varies from site to site, but the result is always the same. You’ll be automatically logged out of your account after the selected time interval has expired even if you previously selected the “Keep me signed in” option.
In most cases these automatic sign-outs after a certain time period cannot be deselected or altered. If that’s the case you’ll have no choice but to live with the inconvenience of having to periodically sign back in.
3 – Your device’s security software automatically signs you out of any accounts you aren’t actively using. It does this by simply deleting the “signed-in cookie”.
This is basically the same thing that happens in number 2 above only it’s the security app signing you out instead of the website itself.
The solution in this case is to check the “Settings” options in your security software to see if the cookie deletion feature can be disabled or if the time interval can be increased.
4 – A “cleaner” app is deleting the cookies from your device as part of its cleaning process.
If you have a cleaner app running on your device you can check the settings to see if you can turn the the cookie deletion feature off (or at least increase the time interval).
That pretty much sums it up. Hopefully you’ll be able to use the info above to figure out why you keep getting logged out of your online accounts.
And now, one simple caveat:
While choosing to remain logged into your online accounts can be a great convenience, it also poses a very real security risk.
If you choose to stay signed in at all times and your device either gets stolen or hacked into over the Internet, all of the accounts that you’re currently signed into at that time will be wide open to the thief/hacker.
That’s why I personally choose to log out of my accounts every time I stop using them. Whether you wish to keep selecting “Keep me signed in” is entirely up to you. Whatever your ultimate choice, I wish you all the best!
I hope this helps, Gary. Good luck!
To finish up, here’s a fantastic short video in which a former hacker offers several tips for staying safe while you’re online. The tips are great – check it out!
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon that will pop up in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.