PHP date time functions Tutorial

PHP date time functions in this PHP Tutotial

PHP date time functions
PHP date time functions

PHP date time functions ,Dates are so much part of everyday life that it becomes easy to work with them without thinking. PHP also provides powerful tools for date arithmetic that make manipulating dates easy.

Getting the Time Stamp with time()

PHP’s time() function gives you all the information that you need about the current date and time. It requires no arguments but returns an integer.

The integer returned by time() represents the number of seconds elapsed since midnight GMT on January 1, 1970. This moment is known as the UNIX epoch, and the number of seconds that have elapsed since then is referred to as a time stamp.

   print time();

This will produce the following result −


This is something difficult to understand. But PHP offers excellent tools to convert a time stamp into a form that humans are comfortable with.

Converting a Time Stamp with getdate()

The function getdate() optionally accepts a time stamp and returns an associative array containing information about the date. If you omit the time stamp, it works with the current time stamp as returned by time().

Following table lists the elements contained in the array returned by getdate().

Sr.NoKey & DescriptionExample
1secondsSeconds past the minutes (0-59)20
2minutesMinutes past the hour (0 – 59)29
3hoursHours of the day (0 – 23)22
4mdayDay of the month (1 – 31)11
5wdayDay of the week (0 – 6)4
6monMonth of the year (1 – 12)7
7yearYear (4 digits)1997
8ydayDay of year ( 0 – 365 )19
9weekdayDay of the weekThursday
10monthMonth of the yearJanuary

Now you have complete control over date and time. You can format this date and time in whatever format you wan.


   $date_array = getdate();
   foreach ( $date_array as $key => $val ){
      print "$key = $val<br />";
   $formated_date  = "Today's date: ";
   $formated_date .= $date_array['mday'] . "/";
   $formated_date .= $date_array['mon'] . "/";
   $formated_date .= $date_array['year'];
   print $formated_date;

This will produce following result −

seconds = 10
minutes = 29
hours = 9
mday = 5
wday = 1
mon = 12
year = 2016
yday = 339
weekday = Monday
month = December
0 = 1480930150
Today's date: 5/12/2016

Converting a Time Stamp with date()

The date() function returns a formatted string representing a date. You can exercise an enormous amount of control over the format that date() returns with a string argument that you must pass to it.


The date() optionally accepts a time stamp if omitted then current date and time will be used. Any other data you include in the format string passed to date() will be included in the return value.

Following table lists the codes that a format string can contain −

Sr.NoFormat & DescriptionExample
1a‘am’ or ‘pm’ lowercasepm
2A‘AM’ or ‘PM’ uppercasePM
3dDay of month, a number with leading zeroes20
4DDay of week (three letters)Thu
5FMonth nameJanuary
6hHour (12-hour format – leading zeroes)12
7HHour (24-hour format – leading zeroes)22
8gHour (12-hour format – no leading zeroes)12
9GHour (24-hour format – no leading zeroes)22
10iMinutes ( 0 – 59 )23
11jDay of the month (no leading zeroes20
12l (Lower ‘L’)Day of the weekThursday
13LLeap year (‘1’ for yes, ‘0’ for no)1
14mMonth of year (number – leading zeroes)1
15MMonth of year (three letters)Jan
16rThe RFC 2822 formatted dateThu, 21 Dec 2000 16:01:07 +0200
17nMonth of year (number – no leading zeroes)2
18sSeconds of hour20
19UTime stamp948372444
20yYear (two digits)06
21YYear (four digits)2006
22zDay of year (0 – 365)206
23ZOffset in seconds from GMT+5


Try out following exampleLive Demo

   print date("m/d/y G.i:s<br>", time());
   echo "<br>";
   print "Today is ";
   print date("j of F Y, \a\\t g.i a", time());

This will produce following result −

12/05/16 9:29:47
Today is 5 2016f December 2016 at 9:29 am

Hope you have good understanding on how to format date and time according to your requirement. For your reference a complete list of all the date and time functions is given in PHP Date & Time Functions

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