PHP Date and Time

The date function is used to format the date and time.

When setting the date and time, you first need to set the time zone.



date(string format, int timestamp);

The first argument is required, the second is optional. If you do not specify the timestamp, the default value is the current time.

Date & Time

The following examples print out the date and time in various ways, as there are many ways to format date and time.

Example  1

The following example outputs the date and time.

echo date(“d-F-Y – h:i:s”);


09-June-2013 – 17:53:30

Example 2

The following example prints out the date, day, month and year, followed by the time in 12 hour format.

echo date("l-d-F-Y – h:i:s");


Sunday-09-June-2013 – 05:58:15


Now we will return only the date.

Example 1

echo date("D d M Y");


Sun 09 Jun 2013

Example 2

In this example we will add one day to the current day.

echo date("D d M Y" , strtotime('+1 day'));

This adds one day to the current day. You can do the same for year  and month; simply change ‘day’ to ‘year’ or ‘month’.


Now we will return only the time.

Example 1

echo date("h:i:s A");

The A at the end outputs ante meridiem and post meridiem (AM/PM); a capital ‘A’ will force it to be upper case while a lower case ‘a’ will force it to appear lower case.


06:27:49 PM

Example 2

This time we will add an hour to the current time.

echo date("h:i:s", strtotime("+1 hour"));



You can also add minutes and seconds by simply changing ‘hour’ to ‘minute’ or ‘second’.

This table shows the various ways you can format the date and time:

Format Letter Description
d Day of the month as an integer
m Month as an integer
y Year but only the last 2 digits
D First 3 characters of the day, e.g. Sat
M First 3 characters of the month, e.g Jul
Y The year in full
l The day in full, e.g. Saturday
h Hours
i Minutes
s Seconds
H Time in 24 hour clock

For a full list, see the PHP manual:

The time zone supports other values other than UTC; please see this manual:


This tutorial covered the basics of the date function in PHP. It is relatively simple to learn, and you can format the date and time in many ways.