PHP Learn It! PHP Date Function
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PHP Date Function

Welcome! PHP has nice built in date function which allows you to display dates in human readable formats.

PHP Dates Formats

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Displaying dates in different formats.

	echo date("Y-m-d");
	echo date("Y/m/d");
	echo date("M d, Y");
	echo date("F d, Y");
	echo date("D M d, Y");
	echo date("l F d, Y");
	echo date("l F d, Y, h:i:s");
	echo date("l F d, Y, h:i A");


Nov 28, 2014
November 28, 2014
Fri Nov 28, 2014
Friday November 28, 2014
Friday November 28, 2014, 05:56:58
Friday November 28, 2014, 05:56 AM

PHP Date Function Syntax

date(format, timestamp)

As seen above, the php date function take two arguments.

  1. format - Always required. Specify the format to display the in.
  2. timestamp - Optional. Specify UNIX time stamp. If not passed, the current timestamp is used.

PHP Date Function Parameters

format - The first parameter, format, in the date function specifies how to display the date/time. It uses different letters to represent the date and time. Some of the letters used above are described here.

For complete list of date/time format reference, click here.

timestamp - The second parameter, timestamp, is an optional parameter. Timestamp is the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 at 00:00:00 GMT. This is also known as the Unix Timestamp.

PHP Date: Finding Date / Time

Using the 2nd timestamp parameter we can do things like say find exactly what date or day it was yesterday or a week ago or what date it will be 1 month from today.

There are two ways we can do that.

  1. strtotime - Convert any English textual datetime description into a Unix timestamp.
  2. mktime - Get Unix timestamp for a date.

PHP Date: Using strtotime to find date/time

Let's see some of the examples to find out dates using date and strtotime function.

Find Yesterday’s date


echo "yesterday was ".date("Y-m-d", strtotime("-1 days"));



yesterday was 2014-11-27

Find Date one week ago


echo "1 week form today was ".date("Y-m-d", strtotime("-1 weeks"));



1 week form today was 2014-11-21

Find Date one month after


echo "1 month from today will be ".date("Y-m-d", strtotime("+1 months"));



1 month form today will be 2014-12-28

PHP Date: Using mktime to find date/time

mktime could be used to find more specific things like find the next leap year in the calendar.

Find Leap Year


$day = "";

 * since leap year falls ever 4 years so loop for 4 times 
for($i=0; $i<4; $i++)
	//get day timestamp for feburary 29 for this year
	$day =  date("d", mktime(0, 0, 0, 2, 29, date("Y")+$i));
	 * check if day equals 29. 
	 * If day is 29 then it must be the leap year. if day is 01, then it not a leap year.
	if($day == 29)
		$year = date("Y")+$i;

echo "next leap year is in year $year";


next leap year is in year 2016

The mktime takes 6 arguments. The parameters are explained as below.

  1. hour - The number of the hour.
  2. minute - The number of the minute.
  3. second - The number of seconds past the minute.
  4. month - The number of the month.
  5. day - The number of the day.
  6. year - The number of year.

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