Please wait


Timezones are essential for handling dates and times correctly across different regions of the world. In PHP, the DateTime and DateTimeZone classes make working with timezones simple and accurate. They allow you to represent, convert, and manage time in various time zones in an easy-to-understand way.

A timezone is a region of the globe that observes a uniform standard time for legal, commercial, and social purposes. Timezones are crucial in programming to ensure that the time and date are correct, no matter where users are located.

The DateTimeZone class is used to represent the timezone. It helps in performing timezone conversions and ensures that you get the correct time based on a specific timezone.

Understanding Timezone Formats

PHP supports various timezones, like America/New_York. A list of supported timezone formats can be found here:

Timezones can be represented using predefined string identifiers rather than constants. These identifiers are based on the Time Zone Database maintained by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority).

You can get a list of all supported timezones in PHP using the DateTimeZone::listIdentifiers() method. The function returns an array containing all the supported timezone identifiers.

Here's an example of how you could retrieve them:

$timezones = DateTimeZone::listIdentifiers();
foreach ($timezones as $timezone) {
  echo $timezone . "<br>";

These identifiers are generally in the form of "Area/Location," such as:

  • America/New_York
  • Europe/London
  • Asia/Tokyo

They represent various cities or regions around the world, and by using the appropriate identifier, you can ensure that your DateTime objects reflect the correct time and date for that specific region.

Creating a Timezone

We can create a timezone by using the DateTimeZone class. This instance should be created before an instance of the DateTime class. The reason is that you can pass on the timezone to the DateTime class as you're creating it.

$timezone = new DateTimeZone('America/New_York');
$date = new DateTime('now', $timezone);
echo $date->format('Y-m-d H:i:s');

Alternatively, you can use the setTimezone() method to change the timezone after an instance of the DateTime class is created. The setTimezone() method in PHP is used to set the timezone for a DateTime object. It takes a DateTimeZone object as a parameter, representing the desired timezone.

$timezone = new DateTimeZone('America/New_York');
$date = new DateTime('now');
echo $date->format('Y-m-d H:i:s'); // Outputs the current time in the New York timezone

DateTimeZone Methods

The DateTimeZone class has a few handy methods you can use for learning more about the timezone you're working with.

getLocation()Returns location information for a timezone, such as country code, latitude, and longitude.
getName()Returns the name of the timezone, like 'Europe/London'.
getOffset(DateTime $datetime)Returns the timezone offset (in seconds) from GMT for a specific date and time.
getTransitions()Returns all known transitions (changes in offset due to daylight saving time, etc.) for the timezone.

Here's a simple example:

$timezone = new DateTimeZone('America/New_York');
$name = $timezone->getName();
echo $name; // Outputs 'America/New_York'

Key Takeaways

  • The DateTimeZone class is used to represent a timezone. It provides methods to create, query, and manipulate timezones.
  • Timezone identifiers like America/New_York or Europe/London are used to create DateTimeZone objects.
  • You can get the offset of a timezone from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) using the getOffset() method.
  • PHP allows retrieving timezone transitions (e.g., daylight saving changes) using the getTransitions() method.
  • You can get location data like latitude, longitude, and country code for a timezone using the getLocation() method.
  • PHP provides static methods like listIdentifiers() to list all available timezone identifiers.
  • The DateTime class has methods like setTimezone() that work with DateTimeZone objects, allowing you to display and calculate dates and times in different timezones.
  • When formatting dates using DateTime or the date function, the timezone affects the output, ensuring that the displayed time corresponds to the chosen region.
  • PHP automatically takes into account the rules for daylight saving time in the specified timezone, ensuring accurate calculations.


Please read this before commenting