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How Daylight Saving Time Affects Events

Do some of your events appear to be incorrectly offset by an hour? And does this seem to tie in with the change to or from daylight saving time? If so, and if any of the following are true, this article could be for you:

  • The “Use site-wide time zone everywhere” time zone mode is currently enabled
  • Your WordPress timezone is a UTC offset (such as UTC-5) but your individual events use a geographic timezone (such as America/New_York)
  • Or the reverse: Your WordPress timezone is geographic, and individual events are using a UTC offset
  • Or if none of the above apply but you are using a plugin called Series Engine

🔔 Note: This article assume a basic level of knowledge of The Events Calendar’s time zone capabilities. If you’re not familiar with those, or just need a refresher, check out Working with Time Zones and then come back to this article.

🔔 Series Engine users: Please reference this knowledgebase post to learn about compatibility with that plugin, they have a special setting you should make use of.

An Example Explained

Let’s say your WordPress site time zone is UTC-5, but you have a recurring event whose event time zone is America/New_York. Some of the events happen before DST starts, some after.

If the time zone mode is “Use site-wide time zone everywhere”, then events will display as shown in the following screenshot:

DST Example

An example of events in a recurring event series happening before and after a DST change.

What’s happened is as follows:

  • The first event happens in the America/New_York time zone before DST starts, so the clock time for that region is UTC-5
  • The next event happens in the America/New_York time zone after DST starts; for this region, DST changes its offset to UTC-4
  • So the first event is 8am UTC-5 in local time, while the second time is 8am UTC-4 in local time
  • Since the time zone mode is “Use site-wide time zone everywhere”, the times will all display in terms of the site-wide time zone, which is UTC-5 in this case
  • So 8am UTC-5 will display as-is for the first event, because 8am UTC-5 = 8am UTC-5. But 8am UTC-4, the start time for the second event, will actually be displayed as 7am UTC-5, since 7am UTC-5 = 8am UTC-4
  • DST has made the event’s UTC offset change from UTC-5 to UTC-4, but the site time zone is still UTC-5, so the times will display in terms of UTC-5

Other Examples

Time Zone Mode Site Time Zone Event Time Zone Expected Output
Site-wide UTC-5 New_York Screenshot
Local Event UTC-5 New_York Screenshot
Site-wide UTC-5 Los_Angeles Screenshot
Local Event UTC-5 Los_Angeles Screenshot
Site-wide New_York UTC-5 Screenshot
Local Event New_York UTC-5 Screenshot
Site-wide Los_Angeles UTC-5 Screenshot
Local Event Los_Angeles UTC-5 Screenshot

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