NTP Issue: Diagnostics & Troubleshooting

How to get the correct time on your server

Network Time Protocol (NTP) is a networking protocol for clock synchronization between computer systems over packet-switched, variable-latency data networks. It is crucial in keeping system clocks in sync across an environment, which is critical for many operations in a Linux based server. When NTP services fail or are misconfigured, it can lead to issues such as high load, logging problems, or even network failure.

Understanding the Issue

An NTP issue on a Linux server generally means that the system is unable to synchronize its clock with the NTP server. This could be due to a variety of reasons such as network connectivity issues, misconfiguration of NTP settings, or the NTP service not running on the server.

Diagnosing the Problem

To diagnose an NTP issue on a Linux server, you can use several commands.

The ntpq -p command can be used to list the peers known to the NTP server along with some state information.

ntpq -p 

The output will show you a list of configured NTP peers, their reachability, delay, offset and jitter.

Troubleshooting the Issue

When dealing with NTP issues, the first thing you should check is whether the NTP service is running. You can use the systemctl command to check the status of the NTP service.

systemctl status ntpd

If the service isn't running, you can start it with:

systemctl start ntpd

If NTP is running but not synchronizing, check the system's NTP configuration file (/etc/ntp.conf), and ensure that it has the correct server addresses.

Applications That May Cause NTP Issues

Certain applications may interfere with NTP. Firewalls or network monitoring tools may block or interfere with NTP traffic. Also, virtualization software can sometimes interfere with timekeeping.


Understanding and troubleshooting NTP issues is essential for maintaining a healthy and synchronized server environment. With the right commands and knowledge, you can easily identify and resolve these issues.

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