WordPress Date Format: How to Change Date and Time in WordPress

WordPress Date Format: How to Change Date and Time in WordPress

Your WordPress posts automatically display your website date and time. However, as the WordPress site owner, you may want to change or customize the date and time format to your preferences.

Fortunately, WordPress has a function that lets you freely configure your site’s date and time format, including the one on your homepage and each post. Keep reading this article to learn how to change or customize your WordPress time and date format easily.

Download all in one WordPress cheat sheet

How to Change the Date and Time Format in WordPress

  1. In the WordPress dashboard, go to Settings -> General.
The general menu in WordPress settings
  1. In the General settings page, scroll down until you find the Date Format and Time Format menu.
Date Format and Time Format options in WordPress settings
  1. Feel free to choose the date and time format that suits your WordPress site the most. You can also input an alternate format in the Custom box. In the next section, we will explain format strings that can help you create your ideal custom format.
  2. Check the preview to make sure you chose the correct format. If you use punctuation marks like commas or dashes, keep note that they will be used literally.
WordPress date format settings preview
  1. Click Save Changes to apply the new date and time formatting.

Alternatively, you can change your website date and time format using the WordPress template file. This option is especially useful when your theme or plugin files have their own default date and time format.

In the template file, find the WordPress tag functions the_date() and the_time(). These functions display the date and time format set in your WordPress dashboard.

WordPress Time and Date Formats

In this section, you will learn more about the WordPress time and date format strings and characters.

On the Settings’ General page, next to each option in Date Format and Time Format, there is a series of characters called the format string.

WordPress date and time format string options

These format characters represent different elements of date and time structure. For example, here’s what each character in the m/d/Y format string represents:

  • m – the numeric month with a leading zero.
  • d – the numeric day of the month with a leading zero.
  • Y – the four-digit year.

Therefore, this string will output:


Since WordPress is written in the PHP programming language, you can create your own custom structure string using the following date and time format characters:

FThe month’s full nameJanuary – December
MThe month’s three-letter abbreviationJan – Dec
mThe numeric month with leading zeros01 – 12
nThe numeric month without leading zeros1 – 12
Day of the month
nThe numeric day of the month with leading zeros1 – 12
dThe numeric day of the month with leading zeros01 – 31
jThe numeric day of the month without leading zeros1 – 31
SThe English suffix for the numeric day of the monthst (in 1st), nd (in 2nd)
Day of the week
IThe day of the week’s full nameMonday – Sunday
DThe day of the week’s three-letter abbreviationMon – Sun
YThe four-digit year2022
yThe two-digit year22
aLower case am or pmam, pm
AUppercase AM or PMAM, PM
gThe hour in 12-hour format without leading zeros1 – 12
hThe hour in 12-hour format with leading zeros01 – 12
GThe hour in 24-hour format without leading zeros0 – 23
HThe hour in 24-hour format with leading zeros0 – 23
iMinutes with leading zeros00 – 59
sSeconds with leading zeros00 – 59
TThe timezone abbreviationPST, EDT
Full date and time
cISO 8601 format2022-08-29T18:56:24+00:00
rRFC 2822 formatMon, 29 August 2022 18:56:24+0200
UUnix Timestamp (seconds since the Unix epoch, January 1, 1970 00:00:00 GMT)1661842310

There are additional customization options you can set from WordPress dashboard’s Settings page or in the template file code, such as:

  • Escaping – to use a literal alphabet without it being translated to a format character, use the backlash. For example, if you want to display the word at, enter \a\t.
  • Localizing – to change the month and day names into your website’s current locale, replace date() with wp_date(). For example, instead of date( ‘F jS, Y’ ), it should be wp_date( ‘F jS, Y’ ).

Suggested Reading

Learn about setting PHP timezone for an easier website management.

Examples of Time and Date Format Strings

You can incorporate various characters into your string and create different date and time format options. Here are some format string examples and their outputs.

Format StringOutput
F j, Y g: i aAugust 29, 2022 10:45 am
F, YAugust, 2022
l, F jS, YMonday, August 29th, 2022
Y/m/d \a\t g:i A2022/08/29 at 10:45 AM
\t\i\m\e\: G:itime: 23:45
F j, YAugust 29, 2022
M j, Y @ H:iAug 29, 2022 @ 09:30


In this article, you have learned to customize your WordPress site’s date and time format using the built-in function on the dashboard. Aside from the default date and time formats, you can customize your date or time format using strings.We hope this article has helped you learn about formatting the date and time in WordPress. To learn more about WordPress, check out our WordPress tutorial.

The author

Mulan G.

Mulan is a Digital Marketing enthusiast experienced in creating social media content. She is eager to help people learn in the simplest way possible. During her free time, Mulan likes to cook and watch sci-fi or documentaries.