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How to Display Today’s Date in WordPress (2 Easy Methods)

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Do you want to display today’s date in WordPress?

Many news websites, online journals, and frequently updated blogs may want to display the current date and time. This gives users an idea about the current date and how long ago the content was published.

In this article, we will show you how to easily display today’s date or current time on your WordPress website.

Displaying current date and time in WordPress

Why Display Today’s Date in WordPress?

Many news websites display the current date in the header section of their sites, particularly smaller news sites that publish their main stories on a daily basis.

A news website showing current date in their website header

This assures users that they are viewing the latest edition of the publication’s online edition. It is a useful stylistic decision that many news websites still use despite updating their front pages several times a day.

Similarly, online journals and bloggers also adopted this style. This assures users that they are viewing the latest entries on a blog.

There are other usage scenarios where you may just want to show the current date and time.

For instance, if your live chat works at specific hours and you want to show customers what time it is in your geographic location. Or, you are running a countdown timer campaign and want to show the current date to create a stronger FOMO effect.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily display today’s date, day, or current time on your WordPress website. We will cover two methods, and you can use the quick links below to jump to the one you want to use:

Method 1: Displaying Today’s Date by Adding Code to a Template File

WordPress doesn’t come with a default widget or block to display the current date or time.

However, you can still display the current date or time using some very simple code.

You can add this simple code to your WordPress theme’s template files where you want to display the time:

<?php echo date(get_option('date_format')); ?>

This code simply prints the current date using the date format set in your WordPress settings. You can change the date format by visiting the Settings » General page.

Time format settings in WordPress

You can also use your own formatting tags to output the date in any other format. For instance, using the following code, you can print the date in month, day, and year format.

<?php echo date('F j, Y'); ?>

This is what it looked like on our demo website.

Date and time

This method allows you to directly add the code to WordPress theme files, but it is not very flexible. What if you wanted to display the current date and time inside a WordPress post, page, or sidebar widget?

This next method allows you to add the date and time anywhere on your site.

Method 2: Displaying Today’s Date Anywhere Using Shortcode (Recommended)

For this method, we will create a shortcode and then use it to display the date and time anywhere on our WordPress website.

You can add the following code to your theme’s functions.php file or by using a custom code snippets plugin such as WPCode (recommended):

function wpb_date_today( $atts, $content = null ) {
	$atts = shortcode_atts( array(
		'format' => '',
	), $atts );

	$date_time = '';

	if ( $atts['format'] == '' ) {
		$date_time .= date( get_option( 'date_format' ) );
	} else {
		$date_time .= date( $atts['format'] );
	}

	return $date_time;
}

add_shortcode( 'date-today', 'wpb_date_today' );

This code simply creates a shortcode that displays the current date. You can use it by adding this shortcode anywhere on your site:

[date-today]

By default, the shortcode will display the date in the default date format in your WordPress settings.

You can also use your own date format by modifying the shortcode like this:

[date-today format='F j, Y']

Then, it should look something like this on your website.

Date preview

Expert Guides on Displaying Dates in WordPress

Now that you know how to display today’s date in WordPress, you may like to see some other guides related to displaying dates in WordPress:

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily display today’s date in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to add a weather forecast in WordPress or our expert picks for the best quiz plugins for WordPress.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

35 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Mrteesurez says

    Thanks for sharing.
    The time is not showing, only the date is showed. I want to show both date and time beside each other on the top for all visitorsb to see including the admins.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      For that you would need to change the format in the shortcode to: format=’F j, Y h:i’

      Admin

  3. Bert Hennephof says

    Code doesn’t work anymore after upgrade from PHP 7.4 to PHP 8.2
    WPCode indicates error in line:
    if ($atts[‘format’] == ”) {

    • WPBeginner Support says

      From testing the snippet on our end it currently is working in php 8.2, it would depend on the specific error message you are seeing on the line.

      Admin

  4. Ihtisham Z says

    Thank you for the great article.

    Just wanted to note here that, if the format attribute is not provided by the user then the shortcode will fail resulting in a critical error (parsing the attribute as string) and breaking the page. So, we need to convert the string to an array.

    function wpb_date_today($atts, $content = null) {
    if ( ! is_array( $atts ) ) {
    $atts = [];
    }

    // rest of the code…
    }

    • Chris Colotti says

      Thanks for the code update!!! Snippet had been working for some time then broke as you indicated..

  5. Generosus says

    Useful Tip:

    Method 2 (listed above) yields a date output in UTC format. To change the output to Local Time format, replace “date” with “wp_date” (2 places).

    It would be great to make a notation in your above instructions.

    You’re welcome :)

  6. Kathy says

    I really wanted to use this, however, after adding it to my functions file, I get this:
    Warning: Illegal string offset ‘format’ in /XXXXXXXXXX/functions.php

    It showed the date, however, the warning showed up too.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Thank you for letting us know, we will look into this and for the time being the second shortcode with the format specified will avoid that warning.

      Admin

  7. hugo says

    Hi, thank you for the code.

    It’s possible to show the month in spanish and/or in number?

    greetings,

    • WPBeginner Support says

      For adding the date as numbers if you are using the echo date method, you would change F j, Y to m/d/Y

      Admin

  8. Rebekah says

    Is it possible to display a moving date? For instance, today’s date plus 7 days? I’d like to have something on my site that always displays the date one week from today.

  9. Henry says

    Adding this php code in the header file is OK but how can I control where I want to appear my date on the page?

  10. Jon says

    Or with Javascript:

    var dateToday = new Date(); var yearToday = dateToday.getFullYear(); document.write(yearToday);

  11. Clare says

    I’m beginning to discover that you can do anything with WP if you just take the time out to learn how – and most of it is so simple. 2011 is the year to ditch plugins and take the weight off my site!

    • Editorial Staff says

      We mentioned two solutions. One where you can use the server’s setting, or two where you can use WordPress setting. If you have a third solution, then please share it with us rather than saying that we are wrong because both solutions above work.

      Admin

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