# How to calculate the difference between two dates using PHP?

###### Posted By: gnanesh

I have two dates of the form:

```
Start Date: 2007-03-24
End Date: 2009-06-26
```

Now I need to find the difference between these two in the following form:

```
2 years, 3 months and 2 days
```

How can I do this in PHP?

## Solution

Use this for legacy code (PHP < 5.3). For up to date solution see jurka’s answer below

You can use strtotime() to convert two dates to unix time and then calculate the number of seconds between them. From this it’s rather easy to calculate different time periods.

```
$date1 = "2007-03-24";
$date2 = "2009-06-26";
$diff = abs(strtotime($date2) - strtotime($date1));
$years = floor($diff / (365*60*60*24));
$months = floor(($diff - $years * 365*60*60*24) / (30*60*60*24));
$days = floor(($diff - $years * 365*60*60*24 - $months*30*60*60*24)/ (60*60*24));
printf("%d years, %d months, %d daysn", $years, $months, $days);
```

**Edit:** Obviously the preferred way of doing this is like described by jurka below. My code is generally only recommended if you don’t have PHP 5.3 or better.

Several people in the comments have pointed out that the code above is only an approximation. I still believe that for most purposes that’s fine, since the usage of a range is more to provide a sense of how much time has passed or remains rather than to provide precision – if you want to do that, just output the date.

Despite all that, I’ve decided to address the complaints. If you truly need an exact range but haven’t got access to PHP 5.3, use the code below (it should work in PHP 4 as well). This is a direct port of the code that PHP uses internally to calculate ranges, with the exception that it doesn’t take daylight savings time into account. That means that it’s off by an hour at most, but except for that it should be correct.

```
<?php
/**
* Calculate differences between two dates with precise semantics. Based on PHPs DateTime::diff()
* implementation by Derick Rethans. Ported to PHP by Emil H, 2011-05-02. No rights reserved.
*
* See here for original code:
* http://svn.php.net/viewvc/php/php-src/trunk/ext/date/lib/tm2unixtime.c?revision=302890&view=markup
* http://svn.php.net/viewvc/php/php-src/trunk/ext/date/lib/interval.c?revision=298973&view=markup
*/
function _date_range_limit($start, $end, $adj, $a, $b, $result)
{
if ($result[$a] < $start) {
$result[$b] -= intval(($start - $result[$a] - 1) / $adj) + 1;
$result[$a] += $adj * intval(($start - $result[$a] - 1) / $adj + 1);
}
if ($result[$a] >= $end) {
$result[$b] += intval($result[$a] / $adj);
$result[$a] -= $adj * intval($result[$a] / $adj);
}
return $result;
}
function _date_range_limit_days($base, $result)
{
$days_in_month_leap = array(31, 31, 29, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31);
$days_in_month = array(31, 31, 28, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31);
_date_range_limit(1, 13, 12, "m", "y", &$base);
$year = $base["y"];
$month = $base["m"];
if (!$result["invert"]) {
while ($result["d"] < 0) {
$month--;
if ($month < 1) {
$month += 12;
$year--;
}
$leapyear = $year % 400 == 0 || ($year % 100 != 0 && $year % 4 == 0);
$days = $leapyear ? $days_in_month_leap[$month] : $days_in_month[$month];
$result["d"] += $days;
$result["m"]--;
}
} else {
while ($result["d"] < 0) {
$leapyear = $year % 400 == 0 || ($year % 100 != 0 && $year % 4 == 0);
$days = $leapyear ? $days_in_month_leap[$month] : $days_in_month[$month];
$result["d"] += $days;
$result["m"]--;
$month++;
if ($month > 12) {
$month -= 12;
$year++;
}
}
}
return $result;
}
function _date_normalize($base, $result)
{
$result = _date_range_limit(0, 60, 60, "s", "i", $result);
$result = _date_range_limit(0, 60, 60, "i", "h", $result);
$result = _date_range_limit(0, 24, 24, "h", "d", $result);
$result = _date_range_limit(0, 12, 12, "m", "y", $result);
$result = _date_range_limit_days(&$base, &$result);
$result = _date_range_limit(0, 12, 12, "m", "y", $result);
return $result;
}
/**
* Accepts two unix timestamps.
*/
function _date_diff($one, $two)
{
$invert = false;
if ($one > $two) {
list($one, $two) = array($two, $one);
$invert = true;
}
$key = array("y", "m", "d", "h", "i", "s");
$a = array_combine($key, array_map("intval", explode(" ", date("Y m d H i s", $one))));
$b = array_combine($key, array_map("intval", explode(" ", date("Y m d H i s", $two))));
$result = array();
$result["y"] = $b["y"] - $a["y"];
$result["m"] = $b["m"] - $a["m"];
$result["d"] = $b["d"] - $a["d"];
$result["h"] = $b["h"] - $a["h"];
$result["i"] = $b["i"] - $a["i"];
$result["s"] = $b["s"] - $a["s"];
$result["invert"] = $invert ? 1 : 0;
$result["days"] = intval(abs(($one - $two)/86400));
if ($invert) {
_date_normalize(&$a, &$result);
} else {
_date_normalize(&$b, &$result);
}
return $result;
}
$date = "1986-11-10 19:37:22";
print_r(_date_diff(strtotime($date), time()));
print_r(_date_diff(time(), strtotime($date)));
```

###### Answered By: Emil H

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