How to convert date to time and back

This tutorial show how to convert DATE to TIME and customize output

MySQL spits out date in YYYY-MM-DD format. The following code will show how we can customize the output.

First thing we need to do is to convert the DATE to TIME:

//Im just starting with  a date
$my_date = '2004-01-12';

//First : Convert the date to time
$my_time = strtotime($my_date);

Yes, I have used the strtotime() function to convert the string $my_date to TIME. The strtotime() function will take an English date format and convert it to a UNIX timestamp.

Now that we have the TIME in $my_time, we can change the date output format to almost anything by using the DATE () function.

The following code will take the TIME in $my_time and display the date in YYYY-MM-DD format. [ This was the original format, but we are going to check if it really works ]

//To display it as Y-m-d
echo date('Y-m-d',$my_time);
//This will give you 2004-01-12  (same as original)

Note that we have used the DATE() function to convert the time to date.

Now if you would like to view the output as DD-MM-YYYY, use the following code

//To display day-month-year
echo date('d-m-Y',$my_time);
//This will give you  12-01-2004

//To display the day, month spelled-out and Year
echo date("d , F Y", $my_time);
// This will give you  12 , January 2004

This short tutorial was aimed to convert date to time and back to date in different formats. More information on PHP functions can be found at

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