What Is the Data Type for TIMESTAMP?


Heather Bennett

The TIMESTAMP data type in SQL is used to store date and time values. It is commonly used to represent a specific point in time, such as a record creation or update timestamp. The TIMESTAMP data type can be found in various database management systems, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and SQL Server.

How is the TIMESTAMP Data Type Structured?

The structure of the TIMESTAMP data type varies slightly depending on the database system being used. In most cases, it consists of both date and time components, accurately representing a specific moment.


In MySQL, the TIMESTAMP data type has a range from ‘1970-01-01 00:00:01’ UTC to ‘2038-01-19 03:14:07’ UTC. It can store dates with up to microsecond precision.

In PostgreSQL:

In PostgreSQL, the TIMESTAMP data type has a range from ‘4713 BC’ to ‘294276 AD’.

In Oracle:

In Oracle, the TIMESTAMP data type has a range from ‘0001-01-01 00:00:00’ to ‘9999-12-31 23:59:59’. It can store dates with up to fractional seconds precision.

In SQL Server:

In SQL Server, there are two types related to timestamps – DATETIME and DATETIME2. The DATETIME type has a range from ‘1753-01-01 00:00:00.000’ to ‘9999-12-31 23:59:59.997’ with a precision of milliseconds. The DATETIME2 type, introduced in SQL Server 2008, has a larger range and can store dates with up to nanosecond precision.

Working with TIMESTAMP Data Type

The TIMESTAMP data type allows for various operations, including:

  • Storing Dates and Times: You can use the TIMESTAMP data type to store both date and time values in a single column.
  • Comparing Timestamps: You can compare TIMESTAMP values to determine which occurred earlier or later.
  • Date Arithmetic: With the TIMESTAMP data type, you can perform arithmetic operations such as adding or subtracting time intervals.
  • Date Formatting: You can format TIMESTAMP values into different date and time formats for display purposes.


The TIMESTAMP data type is a valuable tool for storing and manipulating date and time values in SQL databases. Its flexibility allows for precise representation of timestamps, making it useful for tracking events and managing temporal data. Understanding its structure and capabilities will help you effectively work with timestamps in your database applications.

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