(PHP 3>= 3.0.12, PHP 4 >= 4.0.0)

strtotime --  Parse about any English textual datetime description into a UNIX timestamp


int strtotime ( string time [, int now])

The function expects to be given a string containing an English date format and will try to parse that format into a UNIX timestamp relative to the timestamp given in now, or the current time if none is supplied. Upon failure, -1 is returned.

Because strtotime() behaves according to GNU date syntax, have a look at the GNU manual page titled Date Input Formats. Described there is valid syntax for the time parameter.

Example 1. strtotime() examples

echo strtotime ("now"), "\n";
echo strtotime ("10 September 2000"), "\n";
echo strtotime ("+1 day"), "\n";
echo strtotime ("+1 week"), "\n";
echo strtotime ("+1 week 2 days 4 hours 2 seconds"), "\n";
echo strtotime ("next Thursday"), "\n";
echo strtotime ("last Monday"), "\n";

Example 2. Checking for failure

$str = 'Not Good';
if (($timestamp = strtotime($str)) === -1) {
    echo "The string ($str) is bogus";
} else {
    echo "$str == ". date('l dS of F Y h:i:s A',$timestamp);

Note: The valid range of a timestamp is typically from Fri, 13 Dec 1901 20:45:54 GMT to Tue, 19 Jan 2038 03:14:07 GMT. (These are the dates that correspond to the minimum and maximum values for a 32-bit signed integer.)