By default there's no method available on the `DateTime`

or `DateInterval`

class to get the difference between two `DateTime`

objects in seconds. Therefore, you can either get the difference of the timestamps of the two dates or calculate the number of seconds yourself:

## Comparing Timestamps to Get Number of Seconds Between Two Dates

We can simply compare timestamps of two dates to get the difference in seconds. For example:

$start = new DateTime('2011-12-31 00:00:00'); $end = new DateTime('2021-01-01 00:00:00'); echo $end->getTimestamp() - $start->getTimestamp(); // output: 284169600

Please note that comparing timestamps is could lead to problems with dates before 1970 and after 2038.

## Calculating Number of Seconds Between Two Dates

You can calculate the number of seconds between the two dates in the following way:

$start = new DateTime('2011-12-31 00:00:00'); $end = new DateTime('2021-01-01 00:00:00'); $diff = $start->diff($end); $seconds = ($diff->format('%r%a') * 24 * 60 * 60) + $diff->h * 60 * 60 + $diff->i * 60 + $diff->s; echo $seconds; // output: 284169600

The calculation works in the following way:

- Using the
`%r`

formatting character, adds the minus sign when the result is negative; - Using the
`%a`

formatting character gives us the total number of days between two dates; - Using the
`%r%a`

format together, we can get the negative/positive number of days. Using that, we can convert the number of days into seconds by multiplying it with hours in a day, minutes in an hour, and seconds in a minute (i.e.

);*days** 24 * 60 * 60 - The calculation in the last step does not take into account the hours, minutes and seconds in the date difference (as they're not included in the
`%a`

format). To include those, we simply use the hour, minute and second properties available on the`DateInterval`

object and convert them into seconds as shown in the example above.

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