Mysql – How to set a default value for a MySQL Datetime column


How do you set a default value for a MySQL Datetime column?

In SQL Server it's getdate(). What is the equivalant for MySQL? I'm using MySQL 5.x if that is a factor.

Best Solution

IMPORTANT EDIT: It is now possible to achieve this with DATETIME fields since MySQL 5.6.5, take a look at the other post below...

Previous versions can't do that with DATETIME...

But you can do it with TIMESTAMP:

mysql> create table test (str varchar(32), ts TIMESTAMP DEFAULT CURRENT_TIMESTAMP);
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> desc test;
| Field | Type        | Null | Key | Default           | Extra |
| str   | varchar(32) | YES  |     | NULL              |       | 
| ts    | timestamp   | NO   |     | CURRENT_TIMESTAMP |       | 
2 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> insert into test (str) values ("demo");
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> select * from test;
| str  | ts                  |
| demo | 2008-10-03 22:59:52 | 
1 row in set (0.00 sec)


CAVEAT: IF you define a column with CURRENT_TIMESTAMP ON as default, you will need to ALWAYS specify a value for this column or the value will automatically reset itself to "now()" on update. This means that if you do not want the value to change, your UPDATE statement must contain "[your column name] = [your column name]" (or some other value) or the value will become "now()". Weird, but true. I am using 5.5.56-MariaDB