PHP | Date and Time

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 a 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 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 a timestamp to a format that is readable and more understandable to humans.
Syntax:

date(format, timestamp)

Explanation:

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

Below program explains usage of date() function in PHP:

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

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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 dates in various formats.
Date-related formatting characters that are commonly used in format string:

  • d – Represents day of the month; two digits with leading zeros (01 or 31).
  • D – Represents day of the week in 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.
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<?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");
?>

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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 date() function to format the time string:

  • h – Represents hour in 12-hour format with leading zeros (01 to 12).
  • H – Represents hour in 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 ante meridian and post meridian (am or pm).
  • A – Represents uppercase ante meridian and post meridian (AM or PM).
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<?php
echo date("h:i:s") . "\n";
echo date("M,d,Y h:i:s A") . "\n";
echo date("h:i a");
?>

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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 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 ante meridian and post meridian (am or pm).
  • A – Represents uppercase ante meridian and post meridian (AM or PM).

Below program explains usage of time() function in PHP:

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

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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 is provided, the timestamp for the current date and time is returned.

Syntax:

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

Input:

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

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Output:

1511652110

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



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