How long is the default session timeout duration in Google Analytics? Can we change it?

How long is the default session timeout duration in Google Analytics? Can we change it?

In this world of digital competition, everyone wants their products or services to be at the top of Google search! In order to secure your position it is important to know your shortcomings and strengths. 

Believe it or not, the visibility of your products in this digital landscape totally depends on your marketing skills as well as your utilization of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools. 

As the name suggests, SEO entails optimization of your website on search engines like Google, Microsoft Bing, Yahoo!, etc. so that your products and services come at the top of the search results. For example, if you own a clothing line and someone searches for affordable clothing, your website may appear near the top of the results. 

SEO has become a different field of marketing in itself and rightfully so! There are so many SEO tools present today, each serving a different purpose.

Unfortunately, getting your products ranked at the top doesn’t mean your work is finished, you still need to analyze the workings of your website to adapt new marketing strategies; or keep the ones already existing in place. Simply put, you need to understand what is working for your website that is driving the traffic and what are the areas that need improvement. 

Don’t worry as you can access the complete report of your websites and strategies under one roof: Google Analytics. 

And to give a quick answer to the burning question: The default session on Google Analytics is 30 minutes, and yes, you can change this setting. Read along to find out how. 

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a web-based analytic tool that monitors and analyzes the performance of a website and offers reports and insights about the website’s visitors. 

It identifies the source of user activity that gathers the most traction. It can also identify whether a marketing campaign is yielding the desired results or not. It gathers all the vital information of a customer concerning their exploration of your website, including page session time, popular website pages, website speed, channels that drive traffic, etc.

It can identify trends and patterns in customer behavior and even gather demographic data. 

And the best part about this amazing tool is that it’s absolutely free for everyone with a Google account!

How does Google Analytics work?

The first step is the easiest one, create a Google Analytics account for your website. Then you would need to add a small JavaScript measurement code to each page of your website. 

This code would allow you to gather information about user activity on each page. The information would range from the search engine that they use to what product they purchased.

It can even collect the source of traffic generation that attracts users to the website. It could be an ad that they clicked on or an email marketing campaign that captured their attention.  

All this information gets collected in the form of reports and insights. This data then further allows you to make an informed decision about devising new marketing campaigns and improving the functionality of your website. 

What is a session? What is the default session timeout in Google Analytics?

Similar to how a customer entering and exiting a store signals the end of their visit, a person clicking on your website followed by a specific amount of inactivity on your website signals the end of their visit. 

And Google Analytics tracks user behavior through these sessions. A session starts the minute a user lands on your website and ends when this interaction is followed by a period of 30 minutes of inactivity.

If the user gets back to your website after an hour, it will begin a new cycle of sessions. 

Now, it is very important that you set up an adequate time for your session timeouts because: 

  • If you set the time to be too short, it could result in ineffective user interaction 
  • If you set it for too long, it could skew your data.

Maybe, that’s why the default session timing in Google Analytics is set to 30 minutes.

Lucky for you, this setting is not set in stone, and you can easily decrease or increase the timeframe for your sessions. 

Want to know how? Read on. 

How to change your default session timeout duration in Google Analytics?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change the default session timeout duration in Google Analytics.

STEP 1: Go to your Google Analytics property and select the Admin tab.

STEP 2: Now click on Data Streams and select the name of the data stream whose web session timeout you wish to change.

STEP 3: Now under the Google tag look for the option of Configure tag settings.

STEP 4: After clicking the Configure tag settings, click on the option of Adjust session timeout. 

STEP 5: Now simply change the session timeout to your desired value by clicking on the Edit button. 

STEP 6: Click on save to change your settings and get your desired session timeout setting.


  1. The maximum session time is 4 hours, while the minimum session time is 1 minute.
  2. Changing sessions would affect the new sessions only and not the previous sessions.
  3. If you have a number of active sessions, it could take some time for your modifications to fully take effect.
Bottom Line

Understanding the workings of Google Analytics is quite essential for digital marketers, especially SEO Specialists. It would make you one step closer to understanding the functionality of your website. 

An important part of website data analysis is the session timeout in Google Analytics. It has an effect on data collection accuracy, user experience, and user behavior analysis.

Hence, it is crucial to understand how session timeout works and how to establish it properly! 

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