In this article we will learn what the NTP is, how to sync your server time and date using systemd-timesyncd network time service, and how to set the timezone in Linux.
You can easily keep your system’s date and time accurate by using NTP (Network Time Protocol). It lets you to synchronize computer clocks through network connections and keep them accurate. Basically a client requests the current time from a remote server, and uses it to set its own clock.
How to synchronize time with NTP using systemd
The majority of Linux distributions have adopted systemd, and with it comes the systemd-timesyncd daemon. That means you have an NTP client already preinstalled, and there is no need to run the full-fledged ntpd daemon anymore. The built-in systemd-timesyncd can do the basic time synchronization job just fine.
To check the current status of time and time configuration via timedatectl and timesyncd, run the following command.
Local time: Thu 2021-05-13 15:44:11 UTC Universal time: Thu 2021-05-13 15:44:11 UTC RTC time: Thu 2021-05-13 15:44:10 Time zone: Etc/UTC (UTC, +0000) System clock synchronized: yes NTP service: active RTC in local TZ: no
If you see
NTP service: active in the output, then your computer clock is automatically periodically adjusted through NTP.
If you see
NTP service: inactive, run the following command to enable NTP time synchronization.
timedatectl set-ntp true
That’s all you have to do. Once that’s done, everything should be in place and time should be kept correctly.
In addition, timesyncd itself is still a normal service, so you can check its status also more in detail via.
systemctl status systemd-timesyncd
systemd-timesyncd.service - Network Time Synchronization Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/systemd-timesyncd.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled) Active: active (running) since Thu 2021-05-13 18:55:18 EEST; 3min 23s ago ...
If it is disabled, you can start and make systemd-timesyncd service active like this:
systemctl start systemd-timesyncd systemctl enable systemd-timesyncd
How to change timezone
Before changing your time zone, start by using
timedatectl to find out the currently set time zone.
Local time: Thu 2021-05-13 16:59:32 UTC Universal time: Thu 2021-05-13 16:59:32 UTC RTC time: Thu 2021-05-13 16:59:31 Time zone: Etc/UTC (UTC, +0000) System clock synchronized: yes NTP service: inactive RTC in local TZ: no
Now let’s list all the available time zones, so you know the exact name of the time zone you’ll use on your system.
The list of time zones is quite large. You do need to know the official time-zone name for your location. Say you want to change the time zone to New York.
timedatectl set-timezone America/New_York
This command creates a symbolic link for the time zone you choose from
In addition, you can skip the command shown above, create this symbolic link manually and achieve the same result.
ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/New_York /etc/localtime