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Difference between DATETIME and TIMESTAMP in MySQL

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MySQL
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Data types Cookbook
schedule Jul 1, 2022
Last updated
local_offer MySQL
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MySQL's DATETIME and TIMESTAMP data types are very similar in that both are used to store date and time information, however, each data type does have its own advantages which are discussed below.

TIMESTAMP

  • The TIMESTAMP type in MySQL is often used to track changes to records such as keeping track of the last modified time of a record.

  • This is possible by setting a column to auto-update.

  • The reason the TIMESTAMP type is suited for this is because everything is stored in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), which allows for tracing back to a single point in time.

DATETIME

  • The DATETIME type does not necessarily allow us to trace back to a single point in time as we do not necessarily know the timezone for the DATETIME value.

  • However, the advantage of the DATETIME type is that the supported range of values '1000-01-01 00:00:00' to '9999-12-31 23:59:59' is much larger than that of TIMESTAMP '1970-01-01 00:00:01' UTC to '2038-01-09 03:14:07' UTC.

  • This makes it more suited for storing date and time information that is likely to fall outside the range of TIMESTAMP (e.g. storage of Date of Birth information).

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Published by Arthur Yanagisawa
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