How To: Enable NTP In Linux

Time is very important to the Linux operating system so keeping accurate time is important, which is why we want to enable NTP in Linux. This won’t be a major article and it should be simple enough to follow along. It’s pretty easy to enable NTP in Linux.

If you don’t know, NTP stands for Network Time Protocol. This allows your computer to connect to a networked device that tells your computer the accurate time and then syncs your computer’s clock with that accurate time.

This networked time server is usually just on the public web, but you could do things like run your own NTP server with a GPS device. (GPS uses really, really, really accurate time. In fact, that really accurate time is how GPS works.) Your company may even run its own NTP servers, but there are plenty of public servers available.

While we’re on the subject, your Linux computer keeps time in a very funny fashion. It counts the seconds since the epoch. The “UNIX Epoch” is an arbitrary date and time. Specifically, it counts the seconds since January 1st, 1970 at 00:00:00 UTC. I’ll write an article on the subject at some point. It is also sometimes referred to as “POSIX Time”. In the meantime, you can always look it up at your favorite search engine. 

Time is very important to Linux. After all, the kernel is a task scheduler. It’s also important for accurate record keeping, among other things. It’s also not difficult to enable NTP in Linux.

NOTE: This article assumes you’re using systemd, as most mainstream distros do. If this isn’t true, this article isn’t for you.

Enable NTP In Linux:

Yes, this is another article that requires an open terminal. You can usually just press CTRL + ALT + T to open your default terminal. If that’s not true, fix the keybindings!

If you’re a desktop user, you can probably skip this article. If you’re a desktop Linux user, odds are good that your distro came preconfigured to sync the time already. Let’s go ahead and verify that with this command:

What you’re looking for is these lines:

You’re especially interested in the last line. If that line says that the NTP service is active, you can ignore this article and read one of the prior articles on the timedatectl command:

How To: Find Your Timezone In The Terminal
How To: Change The Timezone

If the NTP service is not active, you can start the service with this command:

That’s all you need to do to enable NTP in Linux.

If you want to disable NTP, that’s just as easy. That command looks like this:

Next, you can run this command to confirm that you’ve enabled NTP:

That should output information that says the NTP service is active. It may not say that the clock has synchronized as that may take some time before the scheduled task runs and syncs your time with a dedicated time-keeping server.

If you want to muck about with the settings, they’re viewed here:

You’d edit that file with Nano, or some other terminal text editor. Before doing so, you should first read the man page, with this command:

There you go! You can enable NTP in Linux!

Closure:

It seems that I’ve developed a few different styles for my article writing. Longer articles get treated differently, as in they’re formatted differently. The shorter articles have been formatted like this for quite a while. I think that’s a comfortable mix, though it is (as always) subject to change. As I learn and grow, so too may the formatting.

Anyhow, this seemed like a fun article to write. I doubt it’ll be all that popular. It’s unlikely to rank all that well in the search engines. Still, it’ll be information that’s on the site, and the more information I have the better I think I’ll be doing.

It’s not always about the traffic. Indeed, it was never really about the traffic. The traffic is secondary. My primary objective is to share information. Today’s article covered how to enable NTP in Linux. Further, it is limited to just those who use systemd.

Most of my readers will have no use for this information. But, there will be someone – and maybe only that one someone – who will find this information and need it to enable NTP on their Linux device. Good. To that reader and my regulars, I say thanks for visiting.

Now my usual blurb at the bottom of every article…

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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How To: Change The Timezone

In today’s article, I’m going to show you how to change the timezone. This isn’t a task you’ll need to do often, but it’ll be nice to know how to do it when you do need to change the timezone.

Personally, I find myself mostly needing to change the timezone when I lease a VPS and want the system timezone to match my own timezone. All in all, the  computer doesn’t actually care what timezone it is in, so you can set it to your local timezone and not have any issues. Normally, I’d configure the timezone during the installation process.

I suppose this is probably only going to work in systems that make use of systemd. It makes use of timedatectl and I’m pretty sure that’s a systemd thing. If this was a good site, the author would actually go verify this. You get what you pay for! Still, you may need another tool if you don’t use systemd.

It’s also going to be a fairly easy article. If you want to change the timezone, it’s not all that difficult. There really isn’t a whole lot to it. So, without further ado, let’s get into the article…

Change The Timezone:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

I suppose you should first know what timezone you’re currently using. To learn that information, you can use this command:

Your output might look something like this:

timedatectl output
Your timedatectl output may look different, obviously. You might not be in my timezone!

Anyhow, to change it, the format of the command is:

I suppose you might not know your timezone options. You can generate a giant list of ’em with this command:

If you don’t know your timezone options, you can use ‘grep’ to narrow it down. For example, if you’re pretty sure you’re in America, your command might look a little like:

That’ll narrow it down. By the way, the  “America” in this case actually more like ‘the Americas’ and far more than just the United States – or even  more than North America. That information might come in handy for some of you.

Closure:

Whelp, there you have it… You have another article. This one will show you how to change the timezone, which might be something you need to know from time to time. It’s probably not something you need to remember, but now you can easily search for it.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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