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PHP Date and Time

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  • Last Updated : 02 Dec, 2021

In this article, we will see how to get the date & time using the date() & time() function in PHP, we will also see the various formatting options available with these functions & understand their implementation through the examples.

Date and time are some of the most frequently used operations in PHP while executing SQL queries or designing a website etc. PHP serves us with predefined functions for these tasks. Some of the predefined functions in PHP for date and time are discussed below.

PHP date() Function:  The PHP date() function converts timestamp to a more readable date and time format.

Why do we need the date() function? 

The computer stores dates and times in a format called UNIX Timestamp, which measures time as a number of seconds since the beginning of the Unix epoch (midnight Greenwich Mean Time on January 1, 1970, i.e. January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 GMT ). Since this is an impractical format for humans to read, PHP converts timestamp to a format that is readable and more understandable to humans. 

Syntax:

date(format, timestamp)

Explanation:

  • The format parameter in the date() function specifies the format of returned date and time.
  • The timestamp is an optional parameter, if it is not included then the current date and time will be used.

Example: The below program explains the usage of the date() function in PHP.

PHP




<?php
  echo "Today's date is :";
  $today = date("d/m/Y");
  echo $today;
?>

Output:

Today's date is :05/12/2017

Formatting options available in date() function: The format parameter of the date() function is a string that can contain multiple characters allowing to generate the dates in various formats. Date-related formatting characters that are commonly used in the format string:

  • d: Represents day of the month; two digits with leading zeros (01 or 31).
  • D: Represents day of the week in the text as an abbreviation (Mon to Sun).
  • m: Represents month in numbers with leading zeros (01 or 12).
  • M: Represents month in text, abbreviated (Jan to Dec).
  • y: Represents year in two digits (08 or 14).
  • Y: Represents year in four digits (2008 or 2014).

The parts of the date can be separated by inserting other characters, like hyphens (-), dots (.), slashes (/), or spaces to add additional visual formatting.

Example: The below example explains the usage of the date() function in PHP.

PHP




<?php
  echo "Today's date in various formats:" . "\n";
  echo date("d/m/Y") . "\n";
  echo date("d-m-Y") . "\n";
  echo date("d.m.Y") . "\n";
  echo date("d.M.Y/D");
?>

Output:

Today's date in various formats:
05/12/2017
05-12-2017
05.12.2017
05.Dec.2017/Tue

The following characters can be used along with the date() function to format the time string:

  • h: Represents hour in 12-hour format with leading zeros (01 to 12).
  • H: Represents hour in 24-hour format with leading zeros (00 to 23).
  • i: Represents minutes with leading zeros (00 to 59).
  • s: Represents seconds with leading zeros (00 to 59).
  • a: Represents lowercase antemeridian and post meridian (am or pm).
  • A: Represents uppercase antemeridian and post meridian (AM or PM).

Example: The below example explains the usage of the date() function in PHP.

PHP




<?php
  echo date("h:i:s") . "\n";
  echo date("M,d,Y h:i:s A") . "\n";
  echo date("h:i a");
?>

Output:

03:04:17
Dec,05,2017 03:04:17 PM
03:04 pm

PHP time() Function: The time() function is used to get the current time as a Unix timestamp (the number of seconds since the beginning of the Unix epoch: January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 GMT).

The following characters can be used to format the time string:

  • h: Represents hour in 12-hour format with leading zeros (01 to 12).
  • H: Represents hour in 24-hour format with leading zeros (00 to 23).
  • i: Represents minutes with leading zeros (00 to 59).
  • s: Represents seconds with leading zeros (00 to 59).
  • a: Represents lowercase antemeridian and post meridian (am or pm).
  • A: Represents uppercase antemeridian and post meridian (AM or PM).

Example: The below example explains the usage of the time() function in PHP.

PHP




<?php
  $timestamp = time();
  echo($timestamp);
  echo "\n";
  echo(date("F d, Y h:i:s A", $timestamp));
?>

Output:

1512486297
December 05, 2017 03:04:57 PM

PHP mktime() Function: The mktime() function is used to create the timestamp for a specific date and time. If no date and time are provided, the timestamp for the current date and time is returned.

Syntax:

mktime(hour, minute, second, month, day, year)

Example: The below example explains the usage of the mktime() function in PHP.

PHP




<?php
  echo mktime(23, 21, 50, 11, 25, 2017);
?>

Output:

1511652110

The above code creates a time stamp for 25th Nov 2017,23 hrs 21mins 50secs.

PHP is a server-side scripting language designed specifically for web development. You can learn PHP from the ground up by following this PHP Tutorial and PHP Examples.


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