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ntpd(8)                                                                ntpd(8)



NAME
       ntpd - Network Time Protocol (NTP) daemon


SYNOPSIS
       ntpd [ -46aAbdDgLmnNqx ] [ -c conffile ] [ -f driftfile ] [ -i jaildir ] [ -I iface
       ] [ -k keyfile ] [ -l logfile ] [ -p pidfile ] [ -P priority ] [ -r  broadcastdelay
       ] [ -s statsdir ] [ -t key ] [ -u user[:group] ] [ -U interface_update_interval ] [
       -v variable ] [ -V variable ]


DESCRIPTION
       The ntpd program is an operating system daemon that synchronises the  system  clock
       with  remote NTP time servers or local reference clocks. It is a complete implemen-
       tation of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) version 4, but also retains compatibility
       with version 3, as defined by RFC-1305, and version 1 and 2, as defined by RFC-1059
       and RFC-1119, respectively. The program can operate in any  of  several  modes,  as
       described  on the Association Management page, and with both symmetric key and pub-
       lic key cryptography, as described on the Authentication Options page.

       The ntpd program ordinarily requires a configuration file as described on the  Con-
       figuration  Commands  and  Options  collection above. However a client can discover
       remote servers and configure them automatically. This makes it possible to deploy a
       fleet  of  workstations  without  specifying  configuration details specific to the
       local environment. Further details are on the Automatic Server Discovery page.

       Once the NTP software distribution has been compiled and installed and the configu-
       ration  file  constructed, the next step is to verify correct operation and fix any
       bugs that may result. Usually, the command line that starts the daemon is  included
       in  the  system  startup file, so it is executed only at system boot time; however,
       the daemon can be stopped and restarted from root at any time.  Once  started,  the
       daemon will begin sending and receiving messages, as specified in the configuration
       file.


SETTING THE TIME AND FREQUENCY
       The ntpd program operates by exchanging messages with one or more servers at desig-
       nated  intervals  ranging  from about one minute to about 17 minutes. When started,
       the program requires several exchanges while the algorithms  accumulate  and  groom
       the  data  before  setting  the  clock.  The  initial delay to set the clock can be
       reduced using options on the Server Options page.

       Most computers today incorporate a time-of-year (TOY) chip  to  maintain  the  time
       during  periods when the power is off. When the machine is booted, the chip is used
       to initialize the operating system time. In case there is no TOY chip  or  the  TOY
       time  is more than 1000 s from the server time, ntpd assumes something must be ter-
       ribly wrong and exits with a panic message to the  system  operator.  With  the  -g
       option  the  clock  will be initially set to the server time regardless of the chip
       time. However, once the clock has been set, an error greater than 1000 s will cause
       ntpd to exit anyway.

       Under  ordinary  conditions,  ntpd  slews the clock so that the time is effectively
       continuous and never runs backwards. If due to extreme network congestion an  error
       spike  exceeds  the step threshold, by default 128 ms, the spike is discarded. How-
       ever, if the error persists for more than the stepout threshold, by default 900  s,
       the  system  clock is stepped to the correct value. In practice the need for a step
       has is extremely rare and almost always the result of a hardware failure. With  the
       -x  option  the  step  threshold is increased to 600 s. Other options are available
       using the tinker command on the Miscellaneous Options page.

       The issues should be carefully considered before using these options.  The  maximum
       slew rate possible is limited to 500 parts-per-million (PPM) by the Unix kernel. As
       a result, the clock can take 2000 s for  each  second  the  clock  is  outside  the
       acceptable  range.  During  this interval the clock will not be consistent with any
       other network clock and the system cannot be used for distributed applications that
       require correctly synchronized network time.

       The frequency file, usually called ntp.drift, contains the latest estimate of clock
       frequency. If this file does not exist when ntpd is started, it  enters  a  special
       mode  designed  to measure the particular frequency directly. The measurement takes
       15 minutes, after which the frequency is set and ntpd resumes normal mode where the
       time  and  frequency  are  continuously  adjusted. The frequency file is updated at
       intervals of an hour or more depending on the measured clock stability.


OPERATING MODES
       The ntpd program normally operates continuously while adjusting the time  and  fre-
       quency,  but in some cases it may not be practical to run it continuously. With the
       -q option ntpd operates as in continous mode, but  exits  just  after  setting  the
       clock for the first time with the configured servers. Most applications will proba-
       bly want to specify the iburst option with the server command. With this  option  a
       volley  of messages is exchanged to groom the data and set the clock in about 10 s.
       If nothing is heard after a few minutes, the daemon times out and exits.


POLL INTERVAL CONTROL
       NTP uses an intricate heuristic algorithm to automatically control the poll  inter-
       val  for  maximum  accuracy consistent with minimum network overhead. The algorithm
       measures the incidental offset and jitter to determine the best poll interval. When
       ntpd starts, the interval is the default minimum 64 s. Under normal conditions when
       the clock discipline has stabilized, the interval increases in steps to the default
       maximum  1024  s.  In addition, should a server become unreachable after some time,
       the interval increases in steps to the maximum in order to reduce network overhead.

       The default poll interval range is suitable for most conditions, but can be changed
       using options on the Server Options and Miscellaneous Options pages. However,  when
       using  maximum intervals much larger than the default, the residual clock frequency
       error must be small enough for the discipline loop to capture and correct. The cap-
       ture  range  is 500 PPM with a 64-s interval decreasing by a factor of two for each
       interval doubling. At a 36-hr interval, for example, the capture range is only 0.24
       PPM.


THE HUFF-N'-PUFF FILTER
       In  scenarios  where a considerable amount of data are to be downloaded or uploaded
       over telephone modems, timekeeping quality can be seriously degraded.  This  occurs
       because  the differential delays on the two directions of transmission can be quite
       large. In many cases the apparent time errors are so large as to  exceed  the  step
       threshold and a step correction can occur during and after the data transfer.

       The  huff-n'-puff  filter  is designed to correct the apparent time offset in these
       cases. It depends on knowledge of the propagation delay when no  other  traffic  is
       present,  such  as  during  other than work hours. The filter remembers the minimum
       delay over the most recent interval measured usually in hours. Under conditions  of
       severe  delay, the filter corrects the apparent offset using the sign of the offset
       and the difference between the apparent delay and minimum delay. The  name  of  the
       filter  reflects  the negative (huff) and positive (puff) correction, which depends
       on the sign of the offset. The filter is activated by the tinker huffpuff  command,
       as described in the Miscellaneous Options page.


LEAP SECOND PROCESSING
       As  provided  by  international agreement, an extra second is sometimes inserted in
       Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) at the end of a selected month,  usually  June  or
       December.  The  National  Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides an
       historic leapseconds file at time.nist.gov for retrieval via FTP. When  this  file,
       usually  called  ntp-leapseconds.list,  is copied and installed in a directory. The
       leapfile configuration command specifies the path to this file.  At  startup,  ntpd
       reads  it and initializes three leapsecond values: the NTP seconds at the next leap
       event, the offset of UTC relative to International Atomic Time (TAI) after the leap
       and  the  NTP  seconds  when  the  leapseconds file expires and should be retrieved
       again.

       If a host does not have the leapsecond values, they can be obtained  over  the  net
       using  the Autokey security protocol. Ordinarily, the leapseconds file is installed
       on the primary servers and the values flow from them via secondary servers  to  the
       clients.  When multiple servers are involved, the values with the latest expiration
       time are used.

       If the latest leap is in the past, nothing further is done other  than  to  install
       the  TAI  offset.  If the leap is in the future less than 28 days, the leap warning
       bits are set. If in the future less than 23 hours, the kernel is  armed  to  insert
       one  second  at  the  end of the current day. If the kernel is enabled, the leap is
       done automatically at that time; otherwise, the clock is  effectively  stopped  for
       one  second  at  the leap. Additional details are in the The NTP Timescale and Leap
       Seconds white paper

       If none of the above provisions are available, dsependent servers and clients tally
       the leap warning bits of surviving servers and reference clocks. When a majority of
       the survivors show warning, a leap is programmed at the end of the  current  month.
       During  the month and day of insertion, they operate as above. In this way the leap
       is propagated at all dependent servers and clients.


ADDITIONAL FEATURES
       A new experimental feature called interleaved modes can be used in NTP symmetric or
       broadcast  modes. It is designed to improve accuracy by avoiding kernel latency and
       queueing delay, as described on the NTP Interleaved Modes page. It is activated  by
       the xleave option with the peer or broadcast configuration commands. The NTP proto-
       col automatically reconfigures in normal or interleaved mode as required.  Ordinary
       broadcast clients can use the same servers as interleaved clients at the same time.
       Further details are in the white paper NTP Interleaved  On-Wire  Protocol  and  the
       briefing Interleaved Synchronization Protocols for LANs and Space Data Links.

       If ntpd, is configured with NetInfo support, it will attempt to read its configura-
       tion from the NetInfo service if the default ntp.conf file cannot be  read  and  no
       file is specified by the -c option.

       In  contexts  where a host name is expected, a -4 qualifier preceding the host name
       forces DNS resolution to the IPv4 namespace, while a -6 qualifier forces DNS  reso-
       lution to the IPv6 namespace.

       Various  internal ntpd variables can be displayed and configuration options altered
       while the ntpd is running using the ntpq and ntpdc utility programs.

       When ntpd starts it looks at the value of umask, and if  zero  ntpd  will  set  the
       umask to 022.

       Unless  the -n, -d or -D option is used, ntpd changes the current working directory
       to the root directory, so any options or commands specifying paths need to  use  an
       absolute path or a path relative to the root.


COMMAND LINE OPTIONS
       -4      Force DNS resolution of host names to the IPv4 namespace.

       -6      Force DNS resolution of host names to the IPv6 namespace.

       -a      Require cryptographic authentication for broadcast client, multicast client
               and symmetric passive associations. This  is  the  same  operation  as  the
               enable auth command and is the default.

       -A      Do not require cryptographic authentication for broadcast client, multicast
               client and symmetric passive associations. This is the  same  operation  as
               the disable auth command and almost never a good idea.

       -b      Enable the client to synchronize to broadcast servers.

       -c conffile
               Specify the name and path of the configuration file, default /etc/ntp.conf.

       -d      Specify debugging mode. This option may occur more  than  once,  with  each
               occurrence indicating greater detail of display.

       -D level
               Specify debugging level directly.

       -f driftfile
               Specify the name and path of the frequency file. This is the same operation
               as the driftfile driftfile command.

       -g      Normally, ntpd exits with a message to the system log if the offset exceeds
               the  panic  threshold,  which  is 1000 s by default. This option allows the
               time to be set to any value without restriction; however, this  can  happen
               only  once.  If the threshold is exceeded after that, ntpd will exit with a
               message to the system log. This option can be  used  with  the  -q  and  -x
               options. See the tinker command for other options.

       -i jaildir
               Chroot  the  server to the directory jaildir. This option also implies that
               the server attempts to drop root privileges at startup  (otherwise,  chroot
               gives  very little additional security), and it is only available if the OS
               supports to run the server without full root privileges. You  may  need  to
               also specify a -u option.

       -I [address | interface name]
               Open  the  network  address given, or all the addresses associated with the
               given interface name. This option may appear multiple  times.  This  option
               also  implies  not  opening other addresses, except wildcard and localhost.
               This option is deprecated. Please consider  using  the  configuration  file
               interface command, which is more versatile.

       -k keyfile
               Specify the name and path of the symmetric key file. This is the same oper-
               ation as the keys keyfile command.

       -l logfile
               Specify the name and path of the log file. The default is  the  system  log
               file. This is the same operation as the logfile logfile command.

       -L      Do not listen to virtual interfaces, defined as those with names containing
               a colon. This option is deprecated. Please consider using the configuration
               file interface command, which is more versatile.

       -M      Raise  scheduler  precision  to its maximum (1 msec) using timeBeginPeriod.
               (Windows only)

       -m      Lock memory.

       -n      Don't fork.

       -N      To the extent permitted by the operating system, run the ntpd at the  high-
               est priority.

       -p pidfile
               Specify  the  name and path of the file used to record the ntpd process ID.
               This is the same operation as the pidfile pidfile command.

       -P priority
               To the extent permitted by the operating system, run the ntpd at the speci-
               fied priority.

       -q      Exit  the  ntpd  just  after the first time the clock is set. This behavior
               mimics that of the ntpdate program, which is to be retired. The -g  and  -x
               options  can  be used with this option. Note: The kernel time discipline is
               disabled with this option.

       -r broadcastdelay
               Specify the default propagation delay from the  broadcast/multicast  server
               to  this  client.  This  is  necessary only if the delay cannot be computed
               automatically by the protocol.

       -s statsdir
               Specify the directory path for files created by  the  statistics  facility.
               This is the same operation as the statsdir statsdir command.

       -t key  Add  a  key number to the trusted key list. This option can occur more than
               once. This is the same operation as the trustedkey key command.

       -u user[:group]
               Specify a user, and optionally a group, to switch to. This option  is  only
               available  if  the  OS supports running the server without full root privi-
               leges. Currently, this option is supported  under  NetBSD  (configure  with
               --enable-clockctl) and Linux (configure with --enable-linuxcaps).

       -U interface update interval
               Number  of  seconds to wait between interface list scans to pick up new and
               delete network interface. Set to 0 to disable dynamic interface list updat-
               ing. The default is to scan every 5 minutes.

       -x      Normally, the time is slewed if the offset is less than the step threshold,
               which is 128 ms by default, and stepped if above the threshold. This option
               sets  the  threshold  to 600 s, which is well within the accuracy window to
               set the clock manually. Note: Since the slew rate of typical  Unix  kernels
               is  limited to 0.5 ms/s, each second of adjustment requires an amortization
               interval of 2000 s. Thus, an adjustment as much as 600 s will  take  almost
               14  days  to  complete. This option can be used with the -g and -q options.
               See the tinker command for other options. Note: The kernel time  discipline
               is disabled with this option and the step threshold is applied also to leap
               second corrections.


THE CONFIGURATION FILE
       Ordinarily, ntpd reads the ntp.conf configuration  file  at  startup  in  order  to
       determine  the  synchronization sources and operating modes. It is also possible to
       specify a working, although limited, configuration entirely on  the  command  line,
       obviating  the  need for a configuration file. This may be particularly useful when
       the local host is to be configured as a broadcast client, with  servers  determined
       by listening to broadcasts at run time.

       Usually,  the  configuration  file  is  installed  as/etc/ntp.conf,  but  could  be
       installed elsewhere (see the -c conffile command line option). The file  format  is
       similar  to  other Unix configuration files - comments begin with a # character and
       extend to the end of the line; blank lines are ignored.

       Configuration commands consist of an initial command keyword followed by a list  of
       option  keywords separated by whitespace. Commands may not be continued over multi-
       ple lines. Options may be host names, host addresses written  in  numeric,  dotted-
       quad  form, integers, floating point numbers (when specifying times in seconds) and
       text strings. Optional arguments are delimited by [ ] in the options  pages,  while
       alternatives are separated by |. The notation [ ... ] means an optional, indefinite
       repetition of the last item before the [ ... ].


FILES
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+
       | File                  |    Default               |   Option    |    Command      |
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+
       | configuration file    |    /etc/ntp.conf         |   -c        |    none         |
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+
       | frequency file        |    none                  |   -f        |    driftfile    |
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+
       | leapseconds file      |    none                  |             |    leapfile     |
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+
       | process ID file       |    none                  |   -p        |    pidfile      |
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+
       | log file              |    system log            |   -l        |    logfile      |
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+
       | include file          |    none                  |   none      |    includefile  |
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+
       | statistics path       |    /var/log/ntpstats/    |   -s        |    statsdir     |
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+
       | keys path             |    /etc/ntp/crypto       |   none      |    keysdir      |
       +-----------------------+--------------------------+-------------+-----------------+

EXIT CODES
       A non-zero exit code indicates an error. Any error messages are logged to the  sys-
       tem log by default.

       The  exit code is 0 only when ntpd is terminated by a signal, or when the -q option
       is used and ntpd successfully sets the system clock.


SEE ALSO
       ntp.conf(5), ntpq(8), ntpdc(8)

       The official HTML documentation.

       This file was automatically generated from HTML source.




                                                                       ntpd(8)

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