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CompTIA Linux+ XK0-005 - 1.7 - Configure Common System Services: Network Time Protocol (NTP)

The Network Time Protocol (NTP) is a protocol used to synchronize the time of computer systems over a network. It allows computers to maintain accurate and consistent time, which is essential for various system operations, including log synchronization, authentication, and distributed file systems. This guide will walk you through the configuration of the NTP service on a Linux system.

Configuration File

The main configuration file for the NTP service is /etc/ntp.conf. This file contains the settings and options that determine how the NTP service operates.

Here are some important configuration settings:

  • server: Specifies the NTP servers to synchronize the local system's time with. You can list multiple servers, and the NTP service will automatically select the most accurate time source.
  • restrict: Controls access restrictions for NTP clients. You can specify which clients are allowed to query or synchronize with the NTP service.
  • driftfile: Specifies the location of the drift file, which is used to store the frequency offset of the system's clock. It helps the NTP service adjust the system's time accurately.
  • logfile: Defines the file where NTP-related log messages are recorded. It can be useful for troubleshooting and monitoring the NTP service.

Make sure to edit the /etc/ntp.conf file with administrative privileges using a text editor such as nano or vi.

Service Management

To apply the changes made in the NTP configuration file, you need to restart the NTP service. On most Linux distributions, you can use the following commands to manage the NTP service:

  • To restart the NTP service:

    sudo service ntp restart


Let's say you want to configure the NTP service to synchronize with two specific NTP servers and restrict access to only certain clients. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Open the NTP configuration file with root privileges:

    sudo vi /etc/ntp.conf
  2. Locate the line that specifies the NTP servers and replace it with the desired server addresses. For example:

  3. Find the line that controls access restrictions and add the necessary configuration. For example, to allow only the local network ( to synchronize with the NTP service:

    restrict mask nomodify notrap
  4. Save the changes and exit the text editor.

  5. Restart the NTP service for the changes to take effect:

    sudo service ntp restart

After completing these steps, the NTP service will be configured to synchronize with the specified NTP servers and only allow clients from the local network to access the service.


Configuring the Network Time Protocol (NTP) is crucial for maintaining accurate time synchronization across a network of systems. By modifying the NTP configuration file, you can specify the NTP servers to use, set access restrictions, and control various other aspects of the service. Having properly synchronized time on your Linux system is essential for numerous system operations and ensures consistency and reliability.

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