I'm trying to figure out how to display the date that a post was last updated outside of the loop. I'm able to display the published date using get_the_time() but there doesn't seem to be a "loopless" function to get the date of the last update.

Does anyone know hot to do this?

6 Answers 6


It is unclear if you are looking for the last updated post or for the last updated date for some particular post. The answer by @PatJ assumes the former. To do the latter:

$qry = new WP_Query(array('p'=>1));


$date = $wpdb->get_var("SELECT post_modified FROM {$wpdb->posts} WHERE ID = 1");

Of course you need to change the post ID to match the post you are looking for.


According to the Codex page for get_the_time(), it needs to be used in The Loop. The difference between the_time() and get_the_time() is that the former echo()es the date, and the latter returns it.

There are a couple functions that do what I think you're looking for -- get the last updated date and time for a post: get_the_modified_time() and get_the_modified_date(). It looks like they too need to be used in The Loop.

Here's one way to get the updated date of the most recent post in your site:

     $args = array(
        'orderby'     => 'post_modified',
        'numberposts' => 1,
    $myposts = get_posts( $args );
    if( have_posts() ) {
        while( have_posts() ) {
            $last_update = get_the_modified_date();
    echo( "Last modified on $last_update." );

If you're sure you need to be outside of any Loops, you can always use $wpdb:

    global $wpdb;
    $sql = "SELECT post_modified
            FROM $wpdb->posts
            WHERE post_type='post'
            AND post_status='publish'
            ORDER BY post_modified DESC
            LIMIT 1";
    $last_update = $wpdb->get_var( $sql );
    echo( "Last updated $last_update." );
  • Thanks. The 2nd code block is more what I'm looking for.
    – Eckstein
    Apr 14, 2013 at 17:16
  • Glad you got your answer.
    – Pat J
    Apr 14, 2013 at 19:33

A late addition, but the following snippet can be modified to use most functions outside of the loop:

 * Returns a post's modified date, formatted according to $format.
 * @uses the_modified_time()
 * @param int $post_id Post ID.
 * @param string $format Date format Default: "F j, Y".
function wpse95769_modified_date_by_id( $post_id = 0, $format = "F j, Y" ){
    global $post;
    $post = &get_post( $post_id );
    setup_postdata( $post );

    $modified_time = get_the_modified_time( $format );

    wp_reset_postdata( $post );

    return $modified_time;
  • Ths is interesting; so how would one turn this into a shortcode to put into the page editor to show the last modified date of a page? I tried turning it into a shortcode with no luck `function last_modified_shortcode() { function wpse95769_modified_date_by_id( $page_id = 0, $format = "F j, Y" ){ global $page; $page = &get_post( $page_id ); setup_postdata( $page ); $modified_time = get_the_modified_time( $format ); wp_reset_postdata( $page ); return $modified_time; } } add_shortcode( 'last_modifed', 'last_modifed_shortcode' );' Dec 4, 2016 at 0:46

Another late addition, which may be helpful to know if anyone is looking. You can use these two functions to get the post date and modified date outside the loop.

<?php get_post_time( $d, $gmt, $post, $translate ); ?> 


<?php get_post_modified_time( $d, $gmt, $post, $translate ); ?>

You can read more about these two functions in the codex.

http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/get_post_time http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/get_post_modified_time


It may not be clear from previous answers, but get_post_time() and get_post_modified_time() can be given a post object or post ID. So, to get the published and modified dates by post ID outside the loop:

$published_time = get_post_time( $date_fmt, null, $post_id );
$modified_time = get_post_modified_time( $date_fmt, null, $post_id );



What about the get_lastpostmodified( $timezone ) function?

  • 3
    This returns the date when the last post has been modified. So this function is not post-specific but blog-specific - and hence not what was asked for.
    – tfrommen
    Feb 4, 2014 at 16:55
  • How would you tell get_lastpostmodified which post you want?
    – Tom J Nowell
    Feb 4, 2014 at 17:15

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