#include <curl/curl.h>

time_t curl_getdate(char * datestring , time_t *now );


datestring Pointer to a date string.
now Pointer to the current time. Not used in this release; use NULL for this parameter.

Return Values

This function returns -1 when it fails to parse the date string. Otherwise it returns the number of seconds as described.

If the year is larger than 2037 this function will return 0x7fffffff.


This function returns the number of seconds since January 1st 1970 in the UTC time zone, for the date and time that the datestring parameter specifies. The now parameter is not used, pass a NULL for this parameter.

This function was rewritten for the 7.12.2 release and this documentation covers the functionality of the new one. The new one is not feature-complete with the old one, but most of the formats supported by the new one was supported by the old too.

Parsing Dates and Times

A "date" is a string containing several items separated by whitespace. The order of the items is immaterial. A date string may contain many flavors of items:

Calendar date items

Can be specified several ways. Month names can only be three-letter english abbreviations, numbers can be zero-prefixed and the year may use 2 or 4 digits. Examples: 06 Nov 1994, 06-Nov-94 and Nov-94 6.

Time of the day items

This string specifies the time on a given day. Specified with 6 digits and two colons: HH:MM:SS. Not including the time in a date string, will make the function assume 00:00:00. Example: 18:19:21.

Time zone items

Specifies international time zone. There are a few acronyms supported but in general, use the specific relative time compared to UTC instead. Supported formats include: -1200, MST, +0100.

Day of the week items

Specifies a day of the week. Days of the week may be spelled out in full (using english): `Sunday', `Monday', etc or they may be abbreviated to their first three letters. This is usually not info that adds anything.

Pure numbers

If a decimal number of the form YYYYMMDD appears, then YYYY is read as the year, MM as the month number and DD as the day of the month, for the specified calendar date.


Sun, 06 Nov 1994 08:49:37 GMT 
Sunday, 06-Nov-94 08:49:37 GMT 
Sun Nov 6 08:49:37 1994 
06 Nov 1994 08:49:37 GMT 
06-Nov-94 08:49:37 GMT 
Nov 6 08:49:37 1994
06 Nov 1994 08:49:37 
06-Nov-94 08:49:37 1994 
Nov 6 08:49:37 GMT 
08:49:37 06-Nov-94 
Sunday 94 6 Nov 
08:49:37 1994 Nov 6 
06-Nov-94 Sun Nov 6 
94 1994.Nov.6 Sun/Nov/6/94/GMT 
Sun, 06 Nov 1994 08:49:37 CET 
06 Nov 1994 08:49:37 EST 
Sun, 12 Sep 2004 15:05:58 -0700 
Sat, 11 Sep 2004 21:32:11 +0200 
20040912 15:05:58 -0700 
20040911 +0200 


This parser was written to handle date formats specified in RFC 822 (including the update in RFC 1123) using time zone name or time zone delta and RFC 850 (obsoleted by RFC 1036) and ANSI C's asctime format. These formats are the only ones that RFC 2616 states that HTTP applications may use.

Do Not Call From


See Also

HTTP Client Library (libcurl)
libcurl API Functions
libcurl Error Codes

Revision History

2013/09/18 Conversion
2013/05/08 Automated cleanup pass.
2012/05/04 Initial version.