PHP: How to Get Date and Time and Format It

If you’re working with PHP in WordPress and need to handle date and time information, this guide will help you understand how to retrieve the current date and time, format it to your desired output, and even perform calculations with dates.

Getting the Current Date and Time

In PHP, you can obtain the current date and time using the date function. It returns a string representing the current date and time based on a specified format.

$currentDateTime = date('Y-m-d H:i:s');

The date function accepts various format characters to represent different parts of the date and time. For example, Y represents the four-digit year, m represents the two-digit month, d represents the two-digit day, and so on.

Formatting Dates and Times

If you want to display the date and time in a specific format, you can use the date_format function. It allows you to format a given date and time according to a specified format string.

$formattedDateTime = date_format($dateObject, 'F j, Y, g:i a');

In the above example, $dateObject should be a valid DateTime object representing the date and time you want to format. The format string 'F j, Y, g:i a' specifies the desired format, where F represents the full month name, j represents the day of the month without leading zeros, Y represents the four-digit year, g represents the hour in 12-hour format without leading zeros, i represents the minutes, and a represents the lowercase Ante meridiem and Post meridiem indicator.

Calculating with Dates

PHP provides various functions and classes to perform calculations with dates. For example, you can calculate the difference between two dates, add or subtract days, months, or years from a given date, and more.

To calculate the difference between two dates, you can use the DateTime class along with the diff method. This method returns a DateInterval object representing the difference between two dates.

$date1 = new DateTime('2023-01-01');
$date2 = new DateTime('2023-05-29');
$interval = $date1->diff($date2);
$daysDifference = $interval->days;

In the above example, $date1 and $date2 represent two different dates. The diff method calculates the difference between these two dates, and the days property of the resulting DateInterval object gives you the number of days between them.

You can also add or subtract a specific number of days, months, or years from a given date using the modify method of the DateTime class.

$date = new DateTime('2023-01-01');
$date->modify('+1 week');
$formattedDate = $date->format('Y-m-d');

In the above example, the modify method adds one week to the initial date. The resulting date is then formatted using the format method with the format string 'Y-m-d'.


Handling dates and times in PHP for your WordPress website is essential for various tasks. By understanding how to retrieve the current date and time, format them to your desired output, and perform calculations, you can effectively manage date-related operations in your PHP code.





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