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How to Display the Last Updated Date of Your Posts in WordPress

Do you want to display the last updated date for your posts in WordPress?

Some websites update their posts regularly. Showing when each post was updated makes sure your readers don’t miss any content, and helps build trust.

In this article, we will show you how to display the last updated date of your posts in WordPress.

How to Display the Last Updated Date of Your Posts in WordPress

Why Display the Last Updated Date of Your Posts in WordPress?

When visitors view a post or page on your WordPress blog, your WordPress theme will show the date when the post was published. This is fine for most blogs and static websites.

However, WordPress is also used by websites where old articles are regularly updated. In these publications, it is important to display the date and time the post was last modified.

For example, on WPBeginner, we regularly update our tutorials and show the ‘last updated’ date on each post. If we only displayed the published date, our readers would skip the post, assuming the information is out of date.

Example of Showing the Update Date of a Post

Another example is news websites. They often update old stories to show new developments, add corrections, or media files. If they only added the published date, then their users would miss those updates.

Having said that, let’s take a look at how you can easily display the last updated date for your posts in WordPress.

Video Tutorial

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If you prefer written tutorial, then please continue reading the guide below.

How to Display the Last Updated Date of Your Posts in WordPress

This tutorial requires you to add code to your WordPress files. If you haven’t done this before, then we recommend you take a look at our guide on how to copy and paste code in WordPress.

Method 1: Showing Last Updated Date Before Post Content

First you need to connect to your website via FTP or your WordPress hosting file manager.

Then browse to your theme’s functions.php file which is located in the /wp-content/themes/yourthemename/ folder.

You will need to add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

function wpb_last_updated_date( $content ) {
$u_time = get_the_time('U'); 
$u_modified_time = get_the_modified_time('U'); 
if ($u_modified_time >= $u_time + 86400) { 
$updated_date = get_the_modified_time('F jS, Y');
$updated_time = get_the_modified_time('h:i a'); 
$custom_content .= '<p class="last-updated">Last updated on '. $updated_date . ' at '. $updated_time .'</p>';  
} 
 
    $custom_content .= $content;
    return $custom_content;
}
add_filter( 'the_content', 'wpb_last_updated_date' );

The code checks to see if a post’s published date and last modified dates are different. If they are, then it displays the last modified date before the post content.

You can add custom CSS to style the appearance of the last updated date. Here is a little CSS snippet that you can use as a starting point:

.last-updated {
    font-size: small;
    text-transform: uppercase;
    background-color: #fffdd4;
} 

This is how it looks on our demo WordPress website.

Preview of Displaying Update Date by Editing functions.php

Method 2: Adding Last Updated Date in Theme Templates

You can also display the updated date in place of the published date, or just below it.

This method requires you to edit specific WordPress theme file. The files you need to edit will depend on the theme you are using.

Many WordPress themes use their own template tags to show post meta data like date and time. Other themes use content templates or template parts. Simpler themes will use single.php, archive.php and other template files to show content and meta information.

You need to look for the file that contains the code responsible for displaying the date and time. You can then either replace that code with the following code or add it right after your theme’s date and time code.

$u_time = get_the_time('U'); 
$u_modified_time = get_the_modified_time('U'); 
if ($u_modified_time >= $u_time + 86400) { 
echo "<p>Last modified on "; 
the_modified_time('F jS, Y'); 
echo " at "; 
the_modified_time(); 
echo "</p> "; } 

You can delete lines 6 and 7 if you don’t want to display the time the post was updated.

This is how it looked on our demo site. With the Twenty Twenty-One theme, we added the code snippet to the template-tags.php file inside the inc folder.

Preview of Displaying Update Date by Editing Template

How to Manage the Last Updated Date of Your Posts in WordPress

Now that we have added the last updated date for each post, it will automatically update every time you make a change to any post. But what if you’re only making a small correction rather than a full update, such as fixing a spelling mistake or adding a tag.

For small changes, it is usually best to leave the modified date unchanged from SEO perspective. Your readers will then see the date when the last major update was made to the post.

Here are a few plugins that let you update a post without changing the modified date.

Method 1: Using the Limit Modified Date Plugin

First, you need to install and activate the Limit Modified Date plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Note: This plugin has not been updated recently. However, we tested it with the latest version of WordPress and it is still working.

Upon activation, you will see a new checkbox when editing posts. It is labeled ‘Don’t update the modified date’.

Checkbox Added by Last Updated Date

When you do a minor update to a post, simply check that box and the modified date will not be changed.

Method 2: Using the AIOSEO Plugin

AIOSEO also known as All in One SEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market. It helps you improve search rankings without learning complicated jargon, so you can increase your website traffic.

You can learn more in our guide on how to set up All in One SEO for WordPress correctly.

If you’re already using AIOSEO to improve your search engine rankings, then you can use it to manage the modified date of your posts as well.

Upon activation, you will find a new checkbox when editing posts, labeled ‘Don’t update the modified date’. You can check the box when making minor changes to a post.

Checkbox Added by AIOSEO

We hope this tutorial helped you learn how to display the last updated date of your posts in WordPress. You may also want to learn how to speed up WordPress performance, or check out our list of proven tips to increase your blog traffic.

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Reader Interactions

132 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Hello, this was a very helpful blog and video. But when I apply, it shows the end of the content. please tell me the solution

    • You may need to check with the support for your specific theme to check the placement of your code in case your theme has a different method for displaying the publish date.

      Admin

  2. Just a quick question, the updated date shows at the bottom of my posts, as opposed to the top.

    Is there a solution to ensure the new updated date is at the beginning of the posts?

    • It would depend on how your theme is designed. If you reach out to your theme’s support they should be able to help you place it in the correct location :)

      Admin

  3. Hi Team,

    I am able to print updated date but it’s getting rendered below the featured image, can you advise how can print the udpated date on the top of the featured image, means right below the title.

    • You would want to reach out to the support for your specific theme and they should be able to assist with that placement.

      Admin

  4. Hello,

    I want to show only post update date on page and in search results instead of publish date. How can I achieve that? I have tried everything.

    • If you are unable to remove the published date then we would recommend reaching out to your specific theme’s support and they would be able to help you remove that.

      Admin

    • If the change is recent, you would need to wait for Google’s cache to clear. Otherwise, you would want to check with your theme’s support to ensure they are not setting the specific publish date elsewhere

      Admin

  5. What if I want to show only the updated date & not the published date? The method shown here displays both published & updated date, I don’t want that, just updated date, that’s it.

    • It would depend on your theme but you would use method 2 to replace the display of the last edited date. The location of that code varies from theme to theme.

      Admin

  6. The PHP code worked great, but how do I limit it to post pages only. Once I added the code to functions.php it displayed last updated on both pages and posts. What do I need to add to limit it to just posts?

    Thanks,

    John

    • To limit it to posts you would use an if statement after the function:

      function wpb_last_updated_date( $content ) {
      if ( is_single() ) {

      and add a closing } above the add_filter line

      Admin

      • Thank you for the quick response!

        I tried the code, but it prevents my blog pages from rendering. However, my blog post pages continue to work and display last updated date.

        Do you have any idea why that is?

        • You may want to reach out to your theme’s support, this code shouldn’t prevent the rendering of content unless something theme-specific is conflicting with it.

  7. Still worked in September 2019 for one of my sites. For my Genesis based site, I needed to use the Genesis Simple Edits plugin to easily modify the post info since they put the post info in an array, instead of in a function.

  8. Hi there,

    I’m having the opposite problem – I have a new website and have backdated my posts to the date that they were originally created, but my site is showing the dates that they were last updated.

    Any advice on how to fix this, or if there is a link to another tutorial for that somewhere would be greatly appreciated, I can’t find one!

    Thanks.

    • By default, WordPress should work like this, you may want to reach out to the support for the specific theme you’re using to see if they have a setting for this.

      Admin

    • Unless I hear otherwise, we haven’t tested the SEO impact of having both displaying at the same time but your post’s metadata should let search engines know which date to look at.

      Admin

  9. Thanks.. is there a way to show the Last modified field Only After certain time from date of post?
    i.e if the next day you edited a post for some reason, doesn’t have to show as modified..

  10. i have a page that lists books that I have read and I update the page when I start a new book.

    On the sit’s homepage I have a menu link to the book list. I would like to have button, or maybe just text, next to the homepage link showing the last time the book list page has been updated.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks.

    • You could either add a text widget or edit the menu item’s title manually when you update the page.

      Admin

  11. I am using Method 1 since Method 2 doesnt seem to work on my theme. Is there a way to have the text be displayed n the bottom of the post? Your response would mean a lot. Thank you

    • For relocating the publish date you would want to reach out to the support for the theme you are currently using for how to do that with your theme.

      Admin

  12. This is great. Quick question, I can’t seem to get it to only show on post and not pages? I tried to add method 2 to the single post template, but that didnt seem to work. It doesnt contain a bit about date or time. Even though the date is displayed in header.
    Should i be adding more to show date and time in the single post template?

    • Your specific theme may be pulling that information from another file. If you reach out to your specific theme’s support they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  13. Hi, thanks so much for this guidance freely given.

    Suppose I do not want to show the published date but only the last updated date? How can I modify the code to achieve that, please?

    Thanks
    Alexander

    • You would need to modify your theme’s templates, as each theme is different you would need to check with your theme’s support for where the published date is located

      Admin

  14. Hi,

    I found your information helpful. But perhaps you can answer two more questions:

    When is it best to completely update a post aka republish it versus just provide the “last updated” information? Sometimes republishing something feels like cheating – it’s a lazy way to update my blog.

    I’ve also read that having two dates on a post can confuse Google when it is crawling your site. Of course, I would like for them to pick up the latest date so it shows next to the description in the search results. Is there a way to show one or the other?

    Right now, I have removed the entry date on posts while employing the “last updated” date (using css for both). Problem is that if I haven’t updated something, then it shows no date which is also a no-no according to the post above.

    A LOT to address here, I know! But if you would be so kind to consider a reply, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Melanie,

      It is best to simply update a post if changes are minor. However, if a post is completely outdated and a rewrite contains all new information, then you can publish it as a new article and redirect your old article.

      Admin

  15. How do you keep the “last updated” from appearing at the top of specific pages. I really only want it on blog posts, not my homepage, contact page, etc.? thanks.

  16. This code is excellent. Thanks so much. I’m following pretty much all of it, but I’m just curious what the 86400 number added to the updated time is doing.

    Thanks in advance.

  17. Thanks, this was helpful for implementing last updated text on my blog.

    One point, the theme specific code is actually incorrect. You forgot the “echo get_…” before the get_the_modified_time() function.

    Right now it just says:

    the_modified_time(‘F jS, Y’);
    echo ” at “;
    the_modified_time();

    When it should say:

    echo get_the_modified_time(‘F jS, Y’);
    echo ” at “;
    echo get_the_modified_time();

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