NTP client setup

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NTP (network time protocol) is a way of sending time across the internet. If a machine has an NTP client, it will keep its clock synchronised with various atomic clocks.

The default ntupdate system synchronises the clock on every boot, but for long-running machines the clock can drift quite a bit between boots. A better option is to install the ntp daemon, which reset the clock every few minutes to prevent it getting too far adrift.

  • Install the daemon
root@server:~# aptitude install ntp
  • Update /etc/ntp.conf to point to nearby servers
server ntp.ubuntu.com
server uk.pool.ntp.org
(find a nearby server from the list of NTP server pools).
  • Restart the ntp daemon so it knows about the new server
root@server:~# systemctl restart ntp
  • If the clock is a few minutes off, it may confuse other server processes when ntp resets it the first time, so you may need to restart those servers. It may be easier to just reboot the machine.

See also