Setup Timezone and NTP on Ubuntu 14.04

Published on: Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm EST
Linux Guides System Admin Ubuntu

Vultr servers may not be deployed with the timezone/date/time that you need on your server. Luckily, we can manually set the timezone to prevent issues with your server.

Step 1: Check current timezone

First off, check the date and time your server is currently set to:

date

This will return one line, such as:

Tue Sep  1 17:31:29 UTC 2015

Tue being the day, Sep being the month, 1 being the day, 17:31:29 being the time, UTC being the timezone, and 2015 being the year.

Step 2: Changing the timezone

In order to change the timezone, we'll need to reconfigure the package tzdata. We can do this by typing:

dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

This will open a menu. Select the timezone you want to use by using your arrow keys and pressing tab to select the "OK" button.

For example, say that we changed our timezone to "GMT-4", you will see the following message confirming that you changed the timezone:

Current default time zone: 'Etc/GMT-4'
Local time is now:      Tue Sep  1 21:35:42 GMT-4 2015.
Universal Time is now:  Tue Sep  1 17:35:42 UTC 2015.

You can double-check by executing the date command again:

Tue Sep  1 21:38:37 GMT-4 2015

Step 3: Installing ntpd

Ntpd is a daemon that synchronizes the time to remote NTP time servers so that the time on your server is always correct. Ntpd is installed on Ubuntu by default. To check the version you're currently using, type:

ntpd --version

If NTP is not installed yet, install it with apt-get:

apt-get install ntp

Step 4: Configuring ntpd

You will now need to add a remote NTP time server. Open the config file:

vi /etc/ntp.conf

You can add servers in this format:

server 0.pool.ntp.org
server 1.pool.ntp.org
server 2.pool.ntp.org
server 3.pool.ntp.org

Servers can be found on the NTP website.

Step 5: Opening the port 123

ntpd requires being able to communicate over the port 123. Open this port with iptables:

iptables  -A  INPUT -m state --state NEW -m udp -p udp --dport 123 -j ACCEPT

Or, if you use ufw:

ufw allow 123

Congratulations! You have now installed and configured ntpd.

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