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How to Calculate Time Difference with MySQL

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to calculate the difference between two date and time strings in MySQL with the TIMESTAMPDIFF() method.

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The Syntax

MySQL's TIMESTAMPDIFF() method is defined with the following syntax, accepting three required parameters:

SELECT TIMESTAMPDIFF(unit, date_time_1, date_time_2);

The parameters are:

  • unit - The unit of the date and time measurement in seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, etc.
  • date_time_1 & date_time_2 - The date and time strings in Y-m-d H:i:s format.

Code Examples

This query calculates the number of seconds between two timestamps, "2023-02-17 10:00:00" and "2023-02-17 11:30:00", resulting in 5400 seconds (or 1.5 hours):

SELECT TIMESTAMPDIFF(SECOND, '2023-02-17 10:00:00', '2023-02-17 11:30:00');

You could also calculate the difference in minutes between the same hard-coded timestamps, which returns a result of 90 minutes:

SELECT TIMESTAMPDIFF(MINUTE, '2023-02-17 10:00:00', '2023-02-17 11:30:00');

You can also run calculations between two variables with timestamp values:

SET @date1 = '2023-02-17 10:00:00';
SET @date2 = '2023-02-17 11:30:00';



This tutorial showed you how to calculate the difference between two timestamps with different units of time measurement, with both hard-coded and variable-assigned values.

Posted by: Josh Rowe
Created: February 17, 2023


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