The Events Calendar provides simple but robust timezone capabilities, allowing you to have events in many different timezones. Use this article to get familiar with all of the controls available to you, and to learn what kinds of output to expect from certain timezone configurations.
Two types of timezones
There are two primary types of time zone in WordPress: locations (a.k.a. “named timezones”), and UTC offsets.
- Location timezones are usually in the format of
Europe/Zurich. These are often the recommended time zones to use, as they accommodate daylight saving time.
- UTC offsets, meanwhile, are usually in the format of
UTC+4:30. UTC offsets do not accommodate daylight saving time.
Location timezones are contextual, and say, “this is the time in this location.”
UTC offsets are absolute, meanwhile, and simply add or subtract hours from Coordinated Universal Time; no matter where the event is taking place, or whether daylight saving time is in effect, a timezone of
UTC-5 simply says, “get the UTC value and subtract five hours from it.”
Whenever possible, we recommend that our users use a location time zone and avoid using UTC offsets. Using UTC offsets can cause problems with Daylight Saving Time and event imports.
It can happen that you will not find a specific city in the dropdown list. No need to panic, just choose a different city in the same time zone and you’re set.
Choosing a timezone mode
If you go to Events → Settings in your wp-admin and scroll down to the Time Zone Settings section, you’ll see that there are two settings for the Time Zone Mode option: “use site-wide time zone everywhere”, and “use manual time zones for each event”.
The Time Zone Mode tells The Events Calendar what time zone to display the event times in.
The Events Calendar’s Time Zone Settings
- In the “Use manual time zones for each event” mode, event times will be displayed in whatever timezone is selected for the event. Every event can use a different timezone (which we’ll cover in the next section), and will have their time displayed in terms of that timezone. You don’t have to manually set a timezone for every event. The default timezone will be whatever time zone you set in your WordPress general settings . Then, if you want to change that on any given event, you can.
- In the “Use site-wide time zone everywhere” mode, all event times will be displayed in terms of whatever time zone you set in your WordPress general settings. For example, if your site timezone is set to Los Angeles (PST) and you create an event at 3:00pm and set the timezone in the event editor to New York (EST), that event will show on the calendar at 12:00pm PST because it is adjusted to be in the site time zone.
If you’re not sure which option is best for you, we generally recommend “Use manual time zones for each event” mode. In this mode, you don’t have to specify event time zones — set your site time zone in your WordPress general settings. But then if you ever want to adjust the time zone for an individual event, the ability to do so is there.
Setting the timezone for an individual event
If you’d like to change an event’s time zone, view the “edit” screen for the event and locate the time and date fields — you should notice a link that labels the event’s time zone, as shown in the following screenshot.
Click that link to reveal a drop-down menu of all of the available timezones; choose one for the event, then save the event for the new time zone to take effect.
If you are using the Block Editor, the drop-down menu of time zones will appear at the right when editing the time zone.
👋 If your site is in the “Use site-wide time zone everywhere” mode, changing an individual event’s time zone will make no difference in how the time displays on the front end; you’ll have to change the time zone mode to “Use manual time zones for each event.”
Updating timezone data
In some cases, like if you’ve just updated your version of The Events Calendar after a long time of not updating it, it will be necessary to update your time zone data before you can fully take advantage of The Events Calendar’s time zone features.
Don’t worry if that sounds complicated! It’s a one-click process:
- Simply return to the “Time Zone Settings” section at the bottom of Events → Settings → General in your wp-admin
- Look for the “Update Time Zone Data” button there
- If it’s not visible, your time zone data is up-to-date and no action is required
- If it is visible, you can click the button to perform the update
What timezone configuration is right for me?
The exact time zone you choose is, of course, dependent on your location (or the location of your events, etc.) but we highly recommend that you use a location-based timezone. Even if you do need to use a UTC offset, please make sure that your WordPress site time zone and individual event time zones are in the same format.
So instead of having a WordPress site time zone of
UTC-5, but then using
Europe/Zurich on individual events, we’d recommend either using UTC offsets in both cases or “named” time zones in both cases.
👋 You can install our free Extension for The Events Calendar, Allow Only Location-Based Timezones for Events, to ensure that UTC offsets are never used in your events, which may help to reduce confusing time outputs.
How Daylight Saving Time affects events
If you’re curious about how Daylight Saving Time affects your events and the display of event times, please check out this article.