How to Add Days to a Date in MySQL: Easy Steps for Database Management

By Cristian G. Guasch • Updated: 09/22/23 • 9 min read

If you’re like me, managing dates in MySQL has probably given you a headache at some point. Whether it’s for scheduling tasks, generating reports or tracking user activity, the ability to manipulate dates is crucial when dealing with databases. The good news? Adding days to a date in MySQL isn’t as hard as it might seem.

MySQL provides several handy functions that make working with dates a breeze. One of these is the DATE_ADD() function, which lets us add specific time intervals – such as days – to any date value. It’s versatile and easy to use once you get the hang of it.

In this article, I’ll be showing you exactly how to use this helpful tool so that you can add days to a date with ease. Whether you’re new to MySQL or just need a quick refresher, stick around and we’ll conquer this task together!

Understanding the Concept of Dates in MySQL

Let’s dive right into the heart of understanding dates in MySQL. It’s a fundamental concept that often confuses many, especially beginners. But don’t worry, I’m here to demystify it for you.

MySQL utilizes three main data types when dealing with dates and times: DATE, DATETIME, and TIMESTAMP. Each one carries its own unique characteristics and uses:

  • The DATE type is used for values with a date part but no time part. It supports dates from ‘1000-01-01’ to ‘9999-12-31’.
  • DATETIME is employed when you need values containing both date and time parts. With this type, we can represent dates from January 1st of year 1000 through December 31st of year 9999.
  • TIMESTAMP also contains both date and time parts but has a narrower range (‘1970-01-01 00:00:01’ UTC to ‘2038-01-19 03:14:07’ UTC).

Now, let’s look at how MySQL stores these date types internally (it’s quite intriguing!). Both DATE and DATETIME are stored as strings in the YYYY-MM-DD format or YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS format respectively. On the other hand, TIMESTAMP is stored as seconds since the Unix epoch (‘1970-01-01 00:00:00’ UTC).

Adding days to a specific date might seem like complex wizardry if you’re new to SQL scripting, but it’s actually straightforward once you get the hang of it! Here’s an example code snippet using DATE_ADD function:

DATE_ADD('2022-11-10', INTERVAL 7 DAY);

In this example above, we’re adding seven days to November 10th, which will return November 17th.

A common mistake happens when folks forget to specify the interval type (like DAY, MONTH, YEAR). So always ensure you’ve written your query correctly. For example:

DATE_ADD('2022-11-10', INTERVAL 7); --This will throw an error!

The code snippet above would result in an error since we didn’t specify what “7” refers to – is it seven days, seven months, or perhaps seven years? MySQL needs this information to perform the operation accurately.

By mastering these fundamentals and understanding common pitfalls, you’ll be manipulating dates in MySQL like a pro in no time!

Importance of Adding Days to a Date in MySQL

Let’s dive right into why adding days to a date in MySQL is such an essential skill. When managing databases, you’ll often find yourself working with dates. They’re integral to tracking events, user activity, sales data – you name it! But sometimes we need to manipulate these dates for different analyses and functions.

Consider this scenario: I’m running an online store and want to analyze my sales data. I want to know the average number of days between when a customer first visits my website and when they make their first purchase. To get this information, I’d need to subtract the date of first visit from the date of first purchase. But what if I wanted also wanted to forecast future sales based on past trends? Well, then I’d need to add certain number of days (like 30 or 60) into the future.

Here’s how that might look:


This code adds 30 days to September 1, 2021 – so it would return October 1, 2021.

Adding days can also help with scheduling tasks or reminders. Let’s say a user signs up for a trial period on your platform that lasts for two weeks. You could set up automated emails reminding them about the expiration by adding 14 days onto their sign-up date:

UPDATE users SET reminder_date = DATE_ADD(sign_up_date, INTERVAL 14 DAY);

Beware though! A common mistake is thinking MySQL will automatically account for months with fewer than 31 days when adding intervals. This isn’t always true! If you’re adding more than one month at a time (say INTERVAL '2' MONTH), MySQL calculates strictly by counting months rather than total number of days.

So there you have it – that’s why adding days to a date in MySQL is critical, and how you can do it. It’s more than just data manipulation, it’s about gaining useful insights and creating efficient automations. While there are things to watch out for (like that tricky month interval), the benefits far outweigh those minor challenges.

Steps on How to Add Days to a Date in MySQL

Let’s dive into the world of MySQL, and more specifically, how to add days to a date. I’m sure you’ll find this process easier than you might think.

First off, we’ll use the DATE_ADD() function in MySQL. This function is built explicitly for performing operations like adding or subtracting values from dates. Let’s say we’ve got a date ‘2022-03-01’, and we want to add 5 days to it. Here’s how it’s done:

SELECT DATE_ADD('2022-03-01', INTERVAL 5 DAY) as NewDate;

When you run this command, MySQL adds five days to the original date and returns the new date as ‘2022-03-06’.

Now comes an interesting variation: what if we need to add different intervals like weeks or months? Don’t fret! We just replace DAY with WEEK or MONTH. For example:

SELECT DATE_ADD('2022-03-01', INTERVAL 1 MONTH) as NewDate;

This command will give us ‘2022-04-01’—a month added!

But be careful not to fall into some common traps here. One mistake that people often make is forgetting the keyword INTERVAL. If you miss out on that word, your query won’t work.

Another pitfall is mixing up order of parameters in DATE_ADD(). The first argument has always got be the date followed by interval specification.

Remember, practice makes perfect! So don’t worry if you’re feeling overwhelmed at first—it’s all part of learning something new. Stick with it, and soon enough you’ll have mastered how to manipulate dates in MySQL.

Common Errors and Solutions When Adding Days to Dates

Sometimes, in the world of MySQL, things don’t always go as planned. Maybe you’re trying to add days to a date and you run into an error. It’s frustrating, but it happens even to the best of us. Let me guide you through some common errors and their solutions when adding days to dates in MySQL.

A frequent mistake is using the wrong function for addition. In MySQL, if we want to add days, we’d use DATE_ADD() or ADDDATE(). However, there’s a tendency for folks new to SQL land to mix up these functions with others like ADDTIME() which is meant for time increments not dates! For instance:


This would lead us straight into an error! The correct way should be:


Another common pitfall is messing up the syntax of the INTERVAL clause. Remember that INTERVAL comes right after your date or datetime expression followed by the quantity of time units you wish to add then finally, the unit itself – DAY in our case! An example of this mistake could look something like:

SELECT DATE_ADD('2022-01-01', 10 DAY);

With this one we’ll also find ourselves face-to-face with an error message because ‘DAY’ is expected right after ‘INTERVAL’. So here’s how it should be done instead:


Lastly, I’ve seen many get tripped up by attempting operations on NULL or invalid dates. Make sure your date data isn’t null before trying any operations on it! And remember: MySQL accepts dates in ‘YYYY-MM-DD’ format only. If you try something like:


You’ve guessed it – another error! Be careful with your date formats and ensure they’re correct before proceeding. Here’s the correct way:


So, remember: use the right function, keep your syntax in check and watch out for null or incorrectly formatted dates. With these tips under your belt, you’ll be adding days to dates in MySQL without a hitch!

Conclusion: Mastering Date Manipulation in MySQL

So here we are at the end of our journey, having delved into the intricacies of date manipulation in MySQL. I hope it’s clear now how adding days to a date isn’t as daunting as it might first appear.

Take a look at this example again:

DATE_ADD('2022-01-01', INTERVAL 5 DAY);

In this simple line of code, we’ve managed to add five days to January 1, 2022. It’s crucial to remember the syntax, especially the ‘INTERVAL’ and ‘DAY’ parts – that’s where some beginners often trip up.

And while I’m on about common mistakes: don’t forget that MySQL counts from zero! If you’re looking to move forward by one day, an interval of zero won’t cut it.

Now let’s think about variations. There are numerous ways you can modify dates in MySQL beyond simply adding days. For instance:

  • Subtracting days:

    DATE_SUB('2022-01-01', INTERVAL 4 DAY);
  • Adding weeks:

    DATE_ADD('2022-01-01', INTERVAL 1 WEEK);

By mastering these techniques, you’ll have much more flexibility when dealing with dates in your databases. And remember – practice makes perfect! The more you play around with these functions and understand their quirks, the better you’ll get at manipulating dates swiftly and correctly.

So there we have it; armed with this knowledge, you’re well on your way to becoming proficient in date manipulation within MySQL!

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