How to configure vCSA timeout settings so your vSphere Web Client doesn't log off after default 2 hours of inactivity

Posted by Paul Braren on Jul 24 2015 (updated on Jul 26 2015) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • HowTo
  • Don't like it when your vSphere Web Client logs itself off after 2 hours? For your lab, you may want to adjust this time-out duration. Just edit a text file called that's already on your vCSA (vCenter Server Appliance).

    For production, tweaks that affect default security settings have obvious security implications. The default behavior is intended to preserve session-based resource allocation. Proceed at your own risk, and instead of disabling time out (0 minutes), likely best to consider something like 1 day (1440 minutes) or 1 week (10080 seconds)

    It's pretty simple, and somewhat well documented by VMware in 2 different articles. Yet there's still one surprise error that you'll see me deal with in the video, and the simple path forward.

    Still reading? Oh, you're one of those folks who don't want to sit through a video, and would rather I spell out the steps for you, no problem, here you go:


    1. Use PuTTY to open an SSH session on vCenter (vCSA)

    2. cd /etc/vmware/vsphere-client/

    3. cp
      now you have a backup, just in case something goes wrong

    4. vi

    5. you'll get prompted:
      Swap file "" already exists!
      just type E to edit it anyways, as pictured below

    6. now that you're editing the file, change session.timeout = 60 to session.timeout = 0 (for never), or some other value you prefer, the video steps you through vi if you're not comfortable with it
    7. /etc/init.d/vsphere-client restart
      restarts the vSphere Web Client Service

    8. close vSphere Web Client, wait ~3-5 minutes for the daemons to restart (almost as long as rebooting vCSA takes)

    9. launch vSphere Web Client, login

    See also

    By default, a VMware vSphere Web Client 5.1 session terminates after 30 minutes of idle time. In vSphere 5.5, the vSphere Web Client session timeout period was increased to 120 minutes by default.

    This article provides steps to increase the timeout period for the vSphere Web Client session.

    See also at TinkerTry

    JUL 26 2015 Update

    It works! Left my vSphere Web Client session running overnight, and it was still connected in the morning, nice!