Is Datetime and Timestamp Are Same Data Type?


Heather Bennett

Is Datetime and Timestamp the Same Data Type?

When working with databases, you may come across the terms “datetime” and “timestamp.” While both represent a specific point in time, they are not the same data type. In this tutorial, we will explore the differences between datetime and timestamp in detail.


The datetime data type is used to store a specific date and time. It includes both the date and time components, allowing for precise calculations and comparisons. The format for a datetime value is YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS.

Datetime values are particularly useful when dealing with events that have occurred or will occur at a specific moment in time. For example, recording the exact date and time of a customer purchase or logging system activity.


The timestamp data type also represents a specific point in time but has some key differences compared to datetime. Unlike datetime, which stores an absolute value, timestamp stores a relative value based on a predefined starting point.

A timestamp typically represents the number of seconds or milliseconds that have passed since January 1, 1970 (also known as the Unix Epoch). This starting point allows for easy calculations of elapsed time or intervals between two timestamps.

Datetime vs. Timestamp – Key Differences

  • Precision: Datetime offers microsecond precision while timestamp usually has second or millisecond precision.
  • Range: Datetime supports a wider range of dates from 1000-01-01 to 9999-12-31, whereas timestamp is more limited in its range due to its relative nature.
  • Storage size: Datetime requires more storage space than timestamp due to its additional components.
  • Conversion: Datetime values can be converted to a timestamp, and vice versa, allowing for flexibility in storing and manipulating data.

In summary, while datetime and timestamp both represent points in time, they have distinct characteristics. Datetime provides more precise and flexible date and time storage, while timestamp offers relative time calculations and a smaller storage footprint. The choice between the two depends on the specific requirements of your application or database.

Hopefully, this article has clarified the differences between datetime and timestamp data types. Understanding these distinctions will help you make informed decisions when working with dates and times in your database.

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