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Computer Time Synchronization
A Beginner's Guide to Network Time Protocol (NTP)

Note: This page is still accurate.


I hope that you've found these pages a useful introduction to NTP. When I first found the University of Delaware NTP site, I found the quantity of information somewhat intimidating but am glad I spent the time necessary to get NTP servers and clients running on my various systems. I'v never learned about the many NTP options including the authentication, monitoring and access control options that I've completely ignored here as well as what the ntpq, query program really does.

As a practical matter though, I accomplished my original goal of synchronized time on all my computers as well as the optional goal of accurate time. Its authors describe ntpd as "fat" but its memory footprint is less than half a megabyte and there is no perceptible CPU load.

After a lifetime of calling the local phone company's time service to set a variety of clocks, watches and time sensitive devices, it's really nice to have local time sources that will always be much more accurate than the phone company. Since I started investigating time synchronization software, I learned that the phone company time was consistently about ten seconds off. The phone company has not provided this service for some years now.

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