Any interactive (stateful) web experience requires a "session". A session is where a link is created between the web server and the client (web browser). This is done via cookies. Your survey account is defaulted to allow sessions to last up to 4 hours. However, that doesn't mean that we can force the web browser of a participant to retain a session for 4 hours, as there are many reasons why sessions can expire at the client side.
Some common reasons for sessions to expire are:
Unstable Internet connection or disconnects
If your Internet connection is unstable, periodically disconnecting and reconnecting, it can cause a website session to expire. When the Internet connection is lost the website connection can be terminated, resulting in a session expired message if you try to access any page after the Internet reconnects.
Date or time not correct
Make sure the date and time are properly set on your computer. An incorrect date or time on your computer can cause reconciliation issues between the website and your computer, and can cause the session to expire.
If you're browsing anonymously or your Internet browser does not have cookies enabled, it causes many sessions to fail. Make sure Internet cookies are enabled in your browser.
Firewall or proxy
If you're connecting to the Internet behind a firewall or through a proxy, that might restrict or prohibit the session from being established. If a session is not established, you can get a session expired message immediately or very shortly after connecting to or logging in to a website.
Virus or malware
If your computer is infected with a virus or malware, it can cause problems with establishing or keeping an active session on a website. Make sure you have an antivirus program installed, fully updated, and run a scan to remove any viruses or malware found on the computer.
Survey Display Formats and Best Practices
One of the mistakes often made when building a survey is to create a survey with many questions all displayed on the same page. This setting is called All-in-one, and it is great if your survey has up to maybe 10 questions. But if you have more questions than that, it will take time for your participant to work through the questions and answer them, and if a session dies during that time, they may not be able to save their responses.
To avoid this, we strongly recommend surveys of more than a few questions use the Question by question or Group by group (assuming your Groups have only a few questions per group). When you use these two formats, responses are saved each time the participant clicks the Next button. If a session fails, all their prior responses are saved. If you are using participant management, they can click their survey link to pick up where they left off. Much better than losing the answers to 100+ questions shown on the All-in-one display format.
If you aren't using participant management, but you can identify a participant's response ID, we can even provide you with a special link to allow the participant to resume their response. You will need to contact our support team with the survey and response ID so the private link can be created for you.
You can change the format of your survey via Settings->General Settings->Format: