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Time Ago System in PHP

PHP Project

This PHP tutorial is for converting given date into a time ago string like 2 hours age, 3 years ago. In a previous tutorial, we have seen date format conversion by using PHP inbuilt functions. In this example, we are having a custom function to change a date format into time ago string.

The date/time functions allow you to get the date and time from the server where your PHP script runs. You can then use the date/time functions to format the date and time in several ways.

Note: These functions depend on the locale settings of your server. Remember to take daylight saving time and leap years into consideration when working with these functions.

The PHP date/time functions are part of the PHP core. No installation is required to use these functions.

The PHP date() function formats a timestamp to a more readable date and time.

Get a Date in PHP

The required format parameter of the date() function specifies how to format the date (or time).

Here are some characters that are commonly used for dates:

  • d - Represents the day of the month (01 to 31)
  • m - Represents a month (01 to 12)
  • Y - Represents a year (in four digits)
  • l (lowercase 'L') - Represents the day of the week

Other characters, like"/", ".", or "-" can also be inserted between the characters to add additional formatting.

The example below formats today's date in three different ways:

echo "Today is " . date("Y/m/d") . "<br>";
echo "Today is " . date("Y.m.d") . "<br>";
echo "Today is " . date("Y-m-d") . "<br>";
echo "Today is " . date("l");

It will show dates like this :

Today is 2020/02/05
Today is 2020.02.05
Today is 2020-02-05
Today is Wednesday

But if you want to show this in Time Ago system then we have to add this date into a function which will convert it into time ago system, below is an example of time ago system in php.


function time_ago_in_php($timestamp){
  $time_ago        = strtotime($timestamp);
  $current_time    = time();
  $time_difference = $current_time - $time_ago;
  $seconds         = $time_difference;
  $minutes = round($seconds / 60); // value 60 is seconds  
  $hours   = round($seconds / 3600); //value 3600 is 60 minutes * 60 sec  
  $days    = round($seconds / 86400); //86400 = 24 * 60 * 60;  
  $weeks   = round($seconds / 604800); // 7*24*60*60;  
  $months  = round($seconds / 2629440); //((365+365+365+365+366)/5/12)*24*60*60  
  $years   = round($seconds / 31553280); //(365+365+365+365+366)/5 * 24 * 60 * 60
  if ($seconds <= 60){

    echo "Just Now";

  } else if ($minutes <= 60){

    if ($minutes == 1){

      echo "one minute ago";

    } else {

      echo "$minutes minutes ago";


  } else if ($hours <= 24){

    if ($hours == 1){

      echo "an hour ago";

    } else {

      echo "$hours hrs ago";


  } else if ($days <= 7){

    if ($days == 1){

      echo "yesterday";

    } else {

      echo "$days days ago";


  } else if ($weeks <= 4.3){

    if ($weeks == 1){

      echo "a week ago";

    } else {

      echo "$weeks weeks ago";


  } else if ($months <= 12){

    if ($months == 1){

      echo "a month ago";

    } else {

      echo "$months months ago";


  } else {
    if ($years == 1){

      echo "one year ago";

    } else {

      echo "$years years ago";


time_ago_in_php("2018-06-02 15:5:00");

You can easily download this script by clicking on the download button bellow.

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