PHP Time/Date Cheatsheet

Converting User Input

$timestamp = strtotime("01/01/1999");
$timestamp = strtotime(915148800);
$timestamp = strtotime("1st January 1999");

You now have the unix timestamp (number of seconds as an integer, since 1st January 1970)

PHP considers date strings with - to be English, and dates with / to be American.

# This is the the 2nd of Jan, not the 1st of Feb
$timestamp = strtotime("01/02/1999");

# This is the the 1st of Feb, not the 2nd of Jan
$timestamp = strtotime("01-02-1999");

Since the timestamp is just an integer, you can print it or perform maths with it.

print $timestamp; // outputs 915148800

# one day later
$dayLater = $timestamp + (60 * 60 * 24);

Converting To Human Form

Use the date() function to output in a human readable form. E.g.

// outputs Friday 1st January 1999
echo date('l jS F Y', $timestamp); 

// outputs 01-02-1999 (british)
echo date('d-m-Y', $timestamp);

// outputs 02/01/1999 (americans)
echo date('m/d/Y', $timestamp);

// The format for 23:01:01 would be:
echo date('H:i:s', $timestamp);

// For 12 hour fomat with leading 0s:
echo date('h:i:s', $timestamp);

Be careful not to do this:

$timestamp = strtotime("2nd January 1999");
$humanTime = date('d/m/Y', $timestamp);
$newTimestamp = strtotime($humanTime);
// $timestamp !== $newTimestamp


Convert Time to Seconds

If you want to know how many seconds a time like 36 minutes past 9 AM is in seconds since midnight execute the following:

echo strtotime('09:36') - strtotime('TODAY');  

This is also the same as:

echo strtotime('09:36:00') - strtotime('TODAY');  




Stuart is a software developer with a passion for Linux and open source projects.

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