Quickly converting a MySQL timestamp to a Unix Timestamp

Posted 5 April 2004

A commonly asked question is converting MySQL timestamps into unix timestamps. Although it’s usually easiest to do this on the mysql server with UNIX_TIMESTAMP(), you can achieve the same thing with this function.

<?php
/**
 * Convert MySQL timestamp to unix timestamp
 *
 * @author      Aidan Lister <aidan@php.net>
 * @version     1.1.0
 * @link        http://aidanlister.com/2004/04/quickly-converting-a-mysql-timestamp-to-a-unix-timestamp/
 * @param       string      $timestamp      MySQL timestamp
 */
function mysql2unixtime($timestamp)
{
    $parts = sscanf($timestamp, '%04u%02u%02u%02u%02u%02u');
    $string = vsprintf('%04u-%02u-%02u %02u:%02u:%02u', $parts);
 
    return strtotime($string);
}
?>

A quick example:

<?php
// Get a MySQL timestamp
$result = mysql_query("SELECT NOW() + 0");
$datetime = mysql_result($result, 0);
echo "MySQL Datetime: $datetime\n";
 
// Convert to unix timestamp
$timestamp = mysql2unixtime($datetime);
echo "Unix Timestamp: $timestamp\n";
 
// Better
$result = mysql_query("SELECT UNIX_TIMESTAMP(NOW())");
$datetime = mysql_result($result, 0);
echo "Unix Timestamp, from MySQL: $datetime\n";
?>

This would output: MySQL Datetime: 20090408234019.000000 Unix Timestamp: 1239198019 Unix Timestamp, from MySQL: 1239198019