How to Convert DateTime to String using PHP

In PHP, you often need to work with dates and times, converting them to different formats for various purposes, such as displaying on a web page, storing in a database, or performing calculations. PHP provides several ways to convert a DateTime object to a string with the desired format.

In this article, we'll explore how to convert a DateTime object to a string using PHP.

1. Using the format() Method

The DateTime class in PHP provides the format() method, which allows you to convert a DateTime object to a string in the desired format.

Here's a basic example of how to use the format() method:

$dateTime = new DateTime("2023-10-02 14:30:00");
$formattedDate = $dateTime->format("Y-m-d H:i:s");
echo "Formatted Date: $formattedDate";

In this example:

The format string can contain various format characters, such as "Y" for the year, "m" for the month, "d" for the day, "H" for the hour, "i" for the minute, and "s" for the second.

You can customize the format string to achieve the format you need.

Common Format Characters

Here are some common format characters you can use with the format() method:

2. Using date_format() Function

PHP provides the date_format() function as a shorthand way to format a DateTime object.

This function is an alias for the format() method of the DateTime class, and it can be used in a more concise manner:

$dateTime = new DateTime("2023-10-02 14:30:00");
$formattedDate = date_format($dateTime, "Y-m-d H:i:s");
echo "Formatted Date: $formattedDate";

The result is the same as using the format() method directly on the DateTime object.


Converting a DateTime object to a string in PHP is a common operation when working with date and time values.

Whether you use the format() method of the DateTime class or the date_format() function, PHP provides a straightforward way to achieve this.

The flexibility to customize the format allows you to obtain date and time strings in various formats to suit your application's needs.