The “right” JSON date format

I've seen so many different standards for the JSON date format:

"\"\\/Date(1335205592410)\\/\""         .NET JavaScriptSerializer
"\"\\/Date(1335205592410-0500)\\/\""    .NET DataContractJsonSerializer
"2012-04-23T18:25:43.511Z"              JavaScript built-in JSON object
"2012-04-21T18:25:43-05:00"             ISO 8601

Which one is the right one? Or best? Is there any sort of standard on this?

JSON itself does not specify how dates should be represented, but JavaScript does.

You should use the format emitted by Date's toJSON method:


Here's why:

  1. It's human readable but also succinct

  2. It sorts correctly

  3. It includes fractional seconds, which can help re-establish chronology

  4. It conforms to ISO 8601

  5. ISO 8601 has been well-established internationally for more than a decade

  6. ISO 8601 is endorsed by W3C, RFC3339, and XKCD

That being said, every date library ever written can understand "milliseconds since 1970". So for easy portability, ThiefMaster is right.

JSON does not know anything about dates. What .NET does is a non-standard hack/extension.

I would use a format that can be easily converted to a Date object in JavaScript, i.e. one that can be passed to new Date(...). The easiest and probably most portable format is the timestamp containing milliseconds since 1970.

There is no right format; The JSON specification does not specify a format for exchanging dates which is why there are so many different ways to do it.

The best format is arguably a date represented in ISO 8601 format (see Wikipedia); it is a well known and widely used format and can be handled across many different languages, making it very well suited for interoperability. If you have control over the generated json, for example, you provide data to other systems in json format, choosing 8601 as the date interchange format is a good choice.

If you do not have control over the generated json, for example, you are the consumer of json from several different existing systems, the best way of handling this is to have a date parsing utility function to handle the different formats expected.

From RFC 7493 (The I-JSON Message Format ):

I-JSON stands for either Internet JSON or Interoperable JSON, depending on who you ask.

Protocols often contain data items that are designed to contain timestamps or time durations. It is RECOMMENDED that all such data items be expressed as string values in ISO 8601 format, as specified in RFC 3339, with the additional restrictions that uppercase rather than lowercase letters be used, that the timezone be included not defaulted, and that optional trailing seconds be included even when their value is "00". It is also RECOMMENDED that all data items containing time durations conform to the "duration" production in Appendix A of RFC 3339, with the same additional restrictions.

Just for reference I've seen this format used:


It works with JSONP which is supported by the $.getJSON() function. Not sure I would go so far as to recommend this approach... just throwing it out there as a possibility because people are doing it this way.

FWIW: Never use seconds since epoch in a communication protocol, nor milliseconds since epoch, because these are fraught with danger thanks to the randomized implementation of leap seconds (you have no idea whether sender and receiver both properly implement UTC leap seconds).

Kind of a pet hate, but many people believe that UTC is just the new name for GMT -- wrong! If your system does not implement leap seconds then you are using GMT (often called UTC despite being incorrect). If you do fully implement leap seconds you really are using UTC. Future leap seconds cannot be known; they get published by the IERS as necessary and require constant updates. If you are running a system that attempts to implement leap seconds but contains and out-of-date reference table (more common than you might think) then you have neither GMT, nor UTC, you have a wonky system pretending to be UTC.

These date counters are only compatible when expressed in a broken down format (y, m, d, etc). They are NEVER compatible in an epoch format. Keep that in mind.

When in doubt simply go to the javascript web console of a modern browser by pressing F12 (Ctrl+K in Firefox) and write the following:

new Date().toISOString()

Will output:



JSON itself has no date format, it does not care how anyone stores dates. However, since this question is tagged with javascript, I assume you want to know how to store javascript dates in JSON. You can just pass in a date to the JSON.stringify method, and it will use Date.prototype.toJSON by default, which in turns uses Date.prototype.toISOString (MDN on Date.toJSON):

const json = JSON.stringify(new Date());
const parsed = JSON.parse(json); //2015-10-26T07:46:36.611Z
const date = new Date(parsed); // Back to date object

I also found it useful to use the reviver parameter of JSON.parse (MDN on JSON.parse) to automatically convert ISO strings back to javascript dates whenever I read JSON strings.

const isoDatePattern = new RegExp(/\d{4}-[01]\d-[0-3]\dT[0-2]\d:[0-5]\d:[0-5]\d\.\d+([+-][0-2]\d:[0-5]\d|Z)/);

const obj = {
 a: 'foo',
 b: new Date(1500000000000) // Fri Jul 14 2017, etc...
const json = JSON.stringify(obj);

// Convert back, use reviver function:
const parsed = JSON.parse(json, (key, value) => {
    if (typeof value === 'string' &&  value.match(isoDatePattern)){
        return new Date(value); // isostring, so cast to js date
    return value; // leave any other value as-is
console.log(parsed.b); // // Fri Jul 14 2017, etc...

I believe that the best format for universal interoperability is not the ISO-8601 string, but rather the format used by EJSON:

{ "myDateField": { "$date" : <ms-since-epoch> } }

As described here:


  1. Parsing performance: If you store dates as ISO-8601 strings, this is great if you are expecting a date value under that particular field, but if you have a system which must determine value types without context, you're parsing every string for a date format.
  2. No Need for Date Validation: You need not worry about validation and verification of the date. Even if a string matches ISO-8601 format, it may not be a real date; this can never happen with an EJSON date.
  3. Unambiguous Type Declaration: as far as generic data systems go, if you wanted to store an ISO string as a string in one case, and a real system date in another, generic systems adopting the ISO-8601 string format will not allow this, mechanically (without escape tricks or similar awful solutions).


I understand that a human-readable format (ISO-8601 string) is helpful and more convenient for 80% of use cases, and indeed no-one should ever be told not to store their dates as ISO-8601 strings if that's what their applications understand, but for a universally accepted transport format which should guarantee certain values to for sure be dates, how can we allow for ambiguity and need for so much validation?

In Sharepoint 2013, getting data in JSON there is no format to convert date into date only format, because in that date should be in ISO format


This may be helpful for you

The prefered way is using 2018-04-23T18:25:43.511Z...

The picture below shows why this is the prefered way:


So as you see Date has a native Method toJSON, which return in this format and can be easily converted to Date again...

it is work for me with parse Server

    "ContractID": "203-17-DC0101-00003-10011",
    "Supplier":"Sample Co., Ltd",
    "StartDate": {
                "__type": "Date",
                "iso": "2017-08-22T06:11:00.000Z"

There is only one correct answer to this and most systems get it wrong. Number of milliseconds since epoch, aka a 64 bit integer. Time Zone is a UI concern and has no business in the app layer or db layer. Why does your db care what time zone something is, when you know it's going to store it as a 64 bit integer then do the transformation calculations.

Strip out the extraneous bits and just treat dates as numbers up to the UI. You can use simple arithmetic operators to do queries and logic.

The following code has worked for me. This code will print date in DD-MM-YYYY format.


else, you can also use:


I think that really depends on the use case. In many cases it might be more beneficial to use a proper object model (instead of rendering the date to a string), like so:

"person" :
 "name" : {
   "first": "Tom",
   "middle": "M",
 "dob" :  {
         "year": 2012,
         "month": 4,
         "day": 23,
         "hour": 18,
         "minute": 25,
         "second": 43,
         "timeZone": "America/New_York"

Admittedly this is more verbose than RFC 3339 but:

  • it's human readable as well
  • it implements a proper object model (as in OOP, as far as JSON permits it)
  • it supports time zones (not just the UTC offset at the given date and time)
  • it can support smaller units like milliseconds, nanoseconds, ... or simply fractional seconds
  • it doesn't require a separate parsing step (to parse the date-time string), the JSON parser will do everything for you
  • easy creation with any date-time framework or implementation in any language
  • can easily be extended to support other calendar scales (Hebrew, Chinese, Islamic ...) and eras (AD, BC, ...)
  • it's year 10000 safe ;-) (RFC 3339 isn't)
  • supports all-day dates and floating times (Javascript's Date.toJSON() doesn't)

I don't think that correct sorting (as noted by funroll for RFC 3339) is a feature that's really needed when serializing a date to JSON. Also that's only true for date-times having the same time zone offset.


The date is represented in a standard and sortable format that represents a UTC time (indicated by the Z). ISO 8601 also supports time zones by replacing the Z with + or – value for the timezone offset:


There are other variations of the timezone encoding in the ISO 8601 spec, but the –10:00 format is the only TZ format that current JSON parsers support. In general it’s best to use the UTC based format (Z) unless you have a specific need for figuring out the time zone in which the date was produced (possible only in server side generation).

NB: var date = new Date(); console.log(date); // Wed Jan 01 2014 13:28:56 GMT- 1000 (Hawaiian Standard Time)

var json = JSON.stringify(date);
console.log(json);  // "2014-01-01T23:28:56.782Z"

to tell you that's the preferred way even though JavaScript doesn't have a standard format for it

// JSON encoded date
var json = "\"2014-01-01T23:28:56.782Z\"";

var dateStr = JSON.parse(json);  
console.log(dateStr); // 2014-01-01T23:28:56.782Z

If you are using Kotlin then this will solve your problem. (MS Json format)

val dataString = "/Date(1586583441106)/"
val date = Date(Long.parseLong(dataString.substring(6, dataString.length - 2)))