Oct 20, 2023 3 min read

How to Generate Unix timestamps?

Generate unix timestamps with our step-by-step tutorial. It is widely used in programming to represent dates and times as single numerical value.

Generate Unix timestamps
Table of Contents


Before we begin talking about how to generate Unix timestamps, let's briefly understand-What is a Timestamp ?

A Unix timestamp denotes the number of seconds since January 1, 1970, at 00:00:00 UTC. It is widely used in programming to represent dates and times as a single numerical value.

Linux generates timestamps, commonly referred to as epoch time, to maintain the data record for the specific event that is occurring. On Linux, timestamps can be created in a number of ways, including with the date command, a bash script, or a python module.

This tutorial will explain how to generate Unix timestamps using various methods. We will also address a few FAQs on how to generate Unix timestamps.

Method 1: Using the “date” Command

The "date" command is used to print the date and time. This may also be taken into account for Linux timestamp generation. The date command below, for instance, produces the format "Year-Month-Day Hour-Minutes-Seconds."

date +'%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S'

The screen displays the current timestamp, which is "2023-03-28 07:03:15".

Method 2: Using the Bash script

On Linux, the user can also create the timestamp using a bash script. Run the following script after opening it in the nano editor:

stamp=$(date +'%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')
echo  "The timestamp is $stamp"

The script is described as

  • The bash script is represented by the shebang "#!/bin/bash".
  • The output of the command "date +'%Y-%m-%d%H:%M:%S'" is saved in the "stamp" variable.
  • The timestamp stored in the "$stamp" variable is displayed by the "echo" command.

Exit after saving the script file.

Use the "bash" command to run the script:

bash script.sh

It prints "2023-03-28 07:20:22" as the current timestamp.

Method 3: Using the Python Module

Using the python module is another way to create the timestamp on Linux. Type "python3" into the terminal to launch the Python module, then run the following code to create the time stamp:

>>> import datetime
>>> time = datetime.datetime.now()
>>> time_stamp = time.timestamp()
>>> date_time = datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(time_stamp)
>>> print(date_time)

The definition of the Python code is

  • Import the "datetime" module.
  • The "datetime.datetime.now()" module can be used to get the current time and date.
  • Use the "time.timestamp()" module to turn the current time into a timestamp.
  • Use the "datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(time_stamp)" module to convert timestamps into date and time format.

The time stamp "2023-03-28 07:11:50.441331" is generated at the moment.

FAQs to Generate Unix Timestamps

Why are Unix timestamps used? 

Unix timestamps provide a standardized and easily calculable way to represent dates and times across different platforms and programming languages

How can I generate a Unix timestamp in Python? 

In Python, you can use the time module or the datetime module to generate a Unix timestamp. The time module provides functions like time() and mktime(), while the datetime module has the timestamp() method.

How can I generate a Unix timestamp in JavaScript?

In JavaScript, you can generate a Unix timestamp using the getTime() method of the Date object or the now() method of the Date constructor.

Can I generate a Unix timestamp using the command line? 

Yes, you can generate a Unix timestamp on the command line using the date command with the appropriate format specifier. For example, date +%s will output the current Unix timestamp on Linux.

Can I convert a Unix timestamp to a more readable date and time format? 

Yes, you can convert a Unix timestamp to a human-readable format using programming languages or command-line tools that provide date and time conversion functions or methods.

Are Unix timestamps always represented in seconds? 

Yes, Unix timestamps are universally represented in seconds and do not include fractions of a second.

Are Unix timestamps based on a specific time zone? 

Unix timestamps are based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and are not associated with any particular time zone. They represent the time elapsed since January 1, 1970, at 00:00:00 UTC.


A timestamp can be generated on Linux using the date command, a bash script, or a python module in a variety of formats, such as "Year-Month-Day Hour-Minutes-Seconds."

By following the approaches mentioned in this tutorial, you can obtain Unix timestamps for specific dates and times in your preferred programming language or via the command line.

If you have any queries, you can mention below, and we would be happy to solve your queries.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to DevOps Tutorials - VegaStack.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.