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Troubleshooting Time Sync Issues in Ubuntu 18.04

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In this article, we will delve into the process of troubleshooting time synchronization issues in Ubuntu 18.04. Time synchronization is crucial for many system processes and applications. If your Ubuntu system’s time is not syncing correctly, it can lead to various problems.

Understanding Time Sync in Ubuntu

Ubuntu uses the systemd-timesyncd service for time synchronization. This service implements an SNTP (Simple Network Time Protocol) client for synchronizing the system clock across the network. It’s important to ensure that this service is running correctly to maintain accurate system time.

Checking the Status of systemd-timesyncd Service

Firstly, we need to check the status of the systemd-timesyncd service. This can be done by running the following command in the terminal:

systemctl status systemd-timesyncd

This command will display the current status of the systemd-timesyncd service. If the service is active but failed, it may provide additional information about the issue.

Reviewing the Logs

The next step in our troubleshooting process is to review the logs of the systemd-timesyncd service. To do this, we can use the journalctl command as follows:

journalctl -u systemd-timesyncd

This command will display the logs of the systemd-timesyncd service. Any error messages in these logs can help identify the specific problem causing the synchronization failure.

Verifying the Internet Connection

Time synchronization requires an active internet connection to reach the NTP servers. Therefore, it’s important to verify that your internet connection is working properly.

Checking the NTP Server Configuration

If the time is still not syncing, the next step is to check if any NTP servers are configured in the /etc/systemd/timesyncd.conf file. This can be done by opening the file in a text editor with root privileges:

sudo nano /etc/systemd/timesyncd.conf

If the NTP= line is commented out (starts with a #) or empty, you can add NTP servers to it. For example:

NTP=0.pool.ntp.org 1.pool.ntp.org 2.pool.ntp.org 3.pool.ntp.org

After making the changes, save the file and exit the text editor.

Restarting the systemd-timesyncd Service

To apply the changes, we need to restart the systemd-timesyncd service. This can be done by running the following command:

sudo systemctl restart systemd-timesyncd

Verifying the Synchronization Status

Finally, we can verify the synchronization status by running the timedatectl command:

timedatectl status

If the “System clock synchronized” field shows “no”, it means the synchronization is still not successful.

Additional Solutions

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, there are a couple of additional solutions that you can try.

Solution 1: Set the Correct Permissions

Sometimes, the issue can be caused by incorrect permissions for the /var/lib/private directory. You can set the correct permissions by running the following command:

sudo chmod 0700 /var/lib/private

Then restart the systemd-timesyncd service and check the synchronization status again.

Solution 2: Remove the systemd Directory

If the issue persists, you can try removing the /var/lib/private/systemd directory by running:

sudo rm -r /var/lib/private/systemd

This solution should be used as a last resort and may or may not be necessary depending on your specific situation.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve covered a systematic approach to troubleshooting time sync issues in Ubuntu 18.04. If none of the above solutions work, it may be helpful to consult the official documentation for systemd-timesyncd and review any relevant forum threads or articles specific to your Linux distribution. Remember, maintaining accurate system time is crucial for many applications and processes, so it’s important to resolve any time sync issues promptly.

How do I check the status of the systemd-timesyncd service in Ubuntu 18.04?

To check the status of the systemd-timesyncd service, run the command systemctl status systemd-timesyncd in the terminal.

How can I review the logs of the systemd-timesyncd service?

To review the logs of the systemd-timesyncd service, use the command journalctl -u systemd-timesyncd.

What should I do if the systemd-timesyncd service is active but failed?

If the systemd-timesyncd service is active but failed, you can check the logs using the journalctl command to get more information about the issue.

How can I verify if my internet connection is working properly for time synchronization?

You can verify your internet connection by checking if you can access websites or use other network-dependent services. A working internet connection is necessary for time synchronization.

How do I check the NTP server configuration in Ubuntu 18.04?

To check the NTP server configuration, open the /etc/systemd/timesyncd.conf file in a text editor with root privileges (e.g., sudo nano /etc/systemd/timesyncd.conf). Look for the NTP= line. If it is commented out or empty, you can add NTP servers to it.

How can I restart the systemd-timesyncd service in Ubuntu 18.04?

To restart the systemd-timesyncd service, run the command sudo systemctl restart systemd-timesyncd in the terminal.

How can I verify the synchronization status in Ubuntu 18.04?

To verify the synchronization status, use the command timedatectl status in the terminal. If the "System clock synchronized" field shows "no", the synchronization is not successful.

What can I do if none of the above steps resolve the time sync issue?

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, you can try setting the correct permissions for the /var/lib/private directory or removing the /var/lib/private/systemd directory as mentioned in the additional solutions. However, these solutions should be used with caution and as a last resort.

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