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Beginner’s Guide: How to Back Date Your WordPress Posts

Recently, one of our users asked if it was possible to back date their WordPress posts. The answer is YES. WordPress allows you to change dates on any posts that you write. You can publish a post with current date and time, back date it to a past date and time, or you can even schedule posts to be published in the future. In this article, we will show you how to back date your WordPress posts.

Back Date your WordPress Blog Posts

Video Tutorial

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If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

Start by editing the post that you want to back date in your WordPress admin area.

On the post editor screen, under the Publish meta box you will see the option to publish the post immediately. Right next to it, there is an edit link. Clicking on the edit link will display the post’s time and date settings.

Edit a post's date and time in WordPress

Using the date and time settings, you can choose any date and time in the past as well as in the future. Choosing a future date and time will allow you to schedule the post to be published on that time.

Scheduling a post in WordPress

On the other hand, choosing a date and time in the past will update the date and change the post’s position in your site’s archive pages. For example if you change the month of a post from June to January, then it will appear on the January’s monthly archive page even if you just published that post. The post will also appear accordingly on the all posts list page in the admin area.

A newly added back dated post appearing at the bottom

This is particularly useful when you want to publish an article, but don’t want it to appear on the front page of your site. You can just back date it to a date earlier than the last post on your site’s front-page.

How to Show Last Updated Date

Some users believe that they should remove dates altogether from their blogs to trick search engines into believing that their content is not time-sensitive and is always fresh.

We disagree with that opinion entirely. It does not help with your site’s SEO, and it’s terrible for user experience. See our article on why you should not remove dates from your WordPress blog posts for more information on this topic.

At WPBeginner, we show the last updated date of an article instead of the publish date. Last updated dates are particularly useful for sites where content is regularly updated. Here is how to show last updated date on your WordPress blog posts.

Sowing last updated date in WordPress

Locate the code that shows the post’s date and time in your theme files (usually in loop.php or single.php). Next replace it with this code:

Last updated on <time datetime="<?php the_modified_time('Y-m-d'); ?>"><?php the_modified_time('F jS, Y'); ?></time>

We hope this article helped you learn how to back date WordPress posts. You may also want to see our guide on how to display relative dates in WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

64 CommentsLeave a Reply

    • We do not have a specific plugin for backdating posts automatically at the moment.

      Admin

  1. ery useful, thanks! Question: if I update with a date in the past, the post will move into the corresponding archive month. How does it affect Google Analytics stats?

  2. Is there a way to backdate assets uploaded to the media library? Can’t see an edit button next to the dates. Thanks.

  3. Hi,

    thanks for the information.
    I am in search to find how to not permit the user to backdating. Is it possible somehow?

    Kind Regards,

  4. Hello! I did exactly what the video show. However, when I publish my post, it show the backdate and the current date. What am I doing wrong?

    • Your theme may have custom styling, you would want to reach out to the support for your specific theme and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  5. Since switching my site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, my blog entries now show date of publication and date of creation. Any suggestions on how to fix this? Thanks.

    • That would be determined by your theme rather than the platform your site is on. If you reach out to your theme’s support they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  6. We’re reviewing some very old blog posts on our site. There are some posts that are still relevant or will be with some minor editing, that we don’t necessarily want to re-publish, but we want them to appear more current by having a more recent date. Can we change the date on the post to be a date in the more recent past without triggering the RSS Feed as having a new post? If it is possible, is it wise to do so, SEO wise?

  7. Hello,
    If I am just going start my WP blog, can I backdate a post to prior to the date I started the blog site? For example: I start my new blog Jan 5th 2020, can I have my posts start in June 2019? I want to add lots of value and posts but don’t want it to appear that I just started my blog now. Is this possible in WP?
    Thank you.

  8. Hi, I have a question, will backing date or editing Publish Date to a more recent date affect SEO? I mean search engines may know the real publish date of a post, and may view the action of adjusting date as cheating. Or I’m just too suspicious? Thanks!

    • If you are updating the post to a newer date rather than back dating then it can bee bad for your SEO.

      Admin

  9. If I want to update my old post and change the publish date to current date…will that post display new date in google search result? Or should i depend on last updated feature which btw doesn’t show on top of my category bcz of old publish time ?

    Thank you

    • You would want to reach out to the support for your theme for replacing the published date with the last updated date to have google no longer be able to find the publish date.

      Admin

    • Our tutorials are for WordPress.org sites but you should still be able to do this on WordPress.com

      Admin

  10. How can I sort posts like I can select categories from a dropdown? : author, timestamp, event date, published date.

  11. I have switched to WordPress 5.1.1. I have a family history blog and I put the posts back when the event actually happened. So I was just entering my father’s graduation in 1959. But the new editor would not let me put in a year before about 1970. I switched back to the old editor as you describe in this blog and the problem went away. But I prefer the new editor. I do not know how to raise this as a bug/feature request.

    • For dates before January 1st 1970 you would want to use a custom field to state the date rather than backdating using this method due to a limit in PHP

      Admin

  12. What I want to know is IF I can update the internal time or internal Hemisphere.

    Something changed with the most recent update – when I asked it to schedule a post for 8:00am it would post at 8:00am. Now it’s posting it at 4:00am.

    • For setting your time zone you would want to check under Settings>General in your site settings.

      Admin

  13. How would this work on a bbpress forum page? I have added topics and replies (so are they custom posts?) recently and backdated them to, for example, September 2018 (it’s currently arch 5 2019).

    When I view the Forum topics page, I see posts I just updated that have the September published dates. There are indeed more recently dated replies (from late February 2019). Those do not show first.

    Any help with this much appreciated.

    • For reordering replies in those, you would want to reach out to bbpress’ support for their recommended method and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  14. This is exactly what I did, and while it says scheduled to publish on the date I chose in 2017, it still has the blog post set as a draft?

  15. I am very interested in this topic because I have been migrating a lot of legacy content from another CMS into Word Press, and prefer to use the original publish date.

    I am able to change the publish date easily, but I have encountered one problem. After I re-publish my articles they show the posted date and not the original published date. This is problematic because my theme is showing the republished article as a new article, even if the original publication date is from five years ago. Is there a way I can get the published article to show the original publication date only. This could be confusing for my subscribers.

  16. this is a great website for beginners, i always visit this site whenever i want to learn anything about wordpress.

  17. is this article still available? I mean, if I edit an existing article, is the publish date going to be changed?

    • No it should not be changed unless you edit the date, too.
      Hopefully, I understood your question right.

  18. Please tell me if i back date my post, will the images i have embedded in the post will also get backdated ?

  19. Thanks for sharing the great article I am really confused how to change my already published article date after reading your post I know that I am using the last date instead of publishing date it’s really helped me.

  20. Thanks for the great article! Many times I’ve rescheduled posts forward, but, never thought of the advantage of back-dating them. I do have a question about rescheduling, if you don’t mind: Several of my blogs have received excellent comments, and when I rescheduled them forward the blog post showed that there were comments (say, 4) but, then no comments were displayed. I tried to copy and paste in the comments and author’s name into the new post comments section but, this didn’t work.

    Is there any solution to this? Would the same problem happen with back-dating?

    Thanks so much for your help!

  21. Hi WP Beginner,

    I’m a big fan of your blog. Thank you for this post. I started a blog in 2010. And there are approx 100 articles till 2015. It is an education blog. So I wrote approx 2000 posts and backdated them, so that everyday from the starting day of the blog has 1 post. I use google adsense. Now I have fear that is this legal or illegal. I didn’t copy any other blog. But I’m afraid of adsense suspending me because of backdating.

    Shall I keep them like that or shall I change these posts to 2016, in which I wrote all those posts?

  22. Hi, I front dated my post vut it is not showing on my website. Can you please tell me why?

    ex: I have a post published on 2nd January and I updated it today again, so I have changed the published to 5th Jan, so it should technically show inn today’s post on my site but it is not. Can you help me?

  23. Hmm.. my wordpress page looks different than the on in the video. It’s white not dark gray and with much less options on the left of the screen.

  24. Hi thanks again for the post… However is there any plugin that can help me to rearrange the date of the posts subsequently?

    For example, I have 150 posts, then I want to reset the date for all post, each day contains 2 posts.

    So today 2 post, yesterday 2 post, and so on

    I also can change the number of 2 if maybe I want to set 3 post for each day. Is it possible and there is a plugin suitable for that?

    If not, do you mind if you create a tutorial for that since my blog is evergreen type and I use old post highliter to recycle the date.

    Thanks before…

  25. I have tried this but, for some reason, I only have a few selected previous dates to choose from (1-Jan, 2-Feb, 3-Mar, 4-Apr etc). Any ideas on how I can have free access to previous dates?

  26. Ah, great. Quite obvious really, but wasn’t sure if they would let you back-date. I am a journalist and wanting to publish old articles I’ve written, preferrably back-date them to the day they were printed, so this option is wonderful

  27. Hi, thanks for all the useful info you publish. This article/video is a good example. Quick question. If I add some backdated posts can I keep them from being published on my RSS feed?

  28. And the most amazing thing is that you can even give a post a date before the internet existed :)

  29. In your recent article “Beginner’s Guide: How to Back Date Your WordPress Posts” in the section “How to Show Last Updated Date” you say the following:

    ———————————————————————-
    Locate the code that shows the post’s date and time in your theme files (usually in loop.php or single.php). Next replace it with this code:

    1 Last updated on <time datetime="”>

    We hope this article helped you learn how to back date WordPress posts….
    ———————————————————————-

    I would like to strongly disagreed with this concept! I have NEVER agreed with putting code in the theme files because when you update the theme it is gone and you have to redo the code – IF you remember to. To me this is trouble that is waiting to happen and it WILL happen. However, I suppose the code could go into a child theme but usually the child theme is created to handle style.css and finctions.php. But I suppose the loop.php or single.php could go into the child theme?

    Thanks – Ken Cooper

  30. Very useful, thanks! Question: if I update with a date in the past, the post will move into the corresponding archive month. How does it affect Google Analytics stats?

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