I have multiple database servers I'm querying with a query that compares an expiration column with now(). The problem is that one of the servers' expiration column is a timestamp with time zone, and all the rest are simply date. I can't change this because I don't have admin access, and in fact I'm only querying the view. Postgres is fairly new to me, so I don't really understand how the dates and times work with each other.

When I try and query the server with timestamp with time zone by casting the timestamp as a date:

        status_code = '30000'
        OR status_code = '30005'
AND CAST(expiration AS DATE) > now()

It works, but using the same query on the servers where expiration is already a date fails:

[Err] ERROR: invalid input syntax for type date: "No End Date"

Any help would be appreciated, I'd really rather not hard code an exception for this one DB server.

  • Are you sure expiration is a timestamp column? Sounds like it's a convertion problem caused by the CAST operator
    – user1822
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


This should never raise an exception with an actual date value:

WHERE status_code IN ('30000','30005')
AND   expiration > now() 

PostgreSQL can compare date and timestamp (with or without time zone) automatically. If one is a date it is cast to timestamp assuming '00:00' hours.

The error message tells a different story. You are actually trying to input a date with invalid syntax.

About handling timestamps with or without time zone in PostgreSQL:

As it turns out, your expiration is a column of type text. You need to cast it to date or timestamp (whichever fits your need). For valid format:

AND   expiration::timestamptz > now() 

Invalid strings like 'No End Date' in that text column need to be cleaned or treated specially in a CASE construct. Like:

AND   CASE expiration
         WHEN 'No End Date' THEN 'infinity'::timestamp
         WHEN 'foo'         THEN '-infinity'::timestamp
         ELSE expiration::timestamp
      END > now()

The manual about the special value infinity.

If the format of the timestamp literal can be ambiguous, use to_date() or to_timestamp() and define the format explicitly:

to_date('07/08/2013', 'DD/MM/YYYY')
to_timestamp(expiration, 'yyyy-mm-dd')

Use the AT TIME ZONE construct if expiration is supposed to be a local timestamp of a given time zone:

expiration::timestamp AT TIME ZONE 'UTC'  -- desired time zone here
  • I get the following error with your query: [Err] ERROR: operator does not exist: text > timestamp with time zone. This was my original query on all databases until I ran into this original error when querying this one machine with expiration stored as a timestamp+timezone. I'm also querying a view, does the view convert datatypes to text or something?
    – Chris
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 12:20
  • @Chris: I added a bit to my answer. Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 15:29

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