NTPD(8) The Network Time Protocol (NTP) Distribution NTPD(8)
ntpd - Network Time Protocol (NTP) daemon
ntpd [ -46aAbgLmnNqx ] [ -c conffile ] [ -f driftfile ] [ -i jaildir ] [ -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 ]
The ntpd program is an operating system daemon which sets and maintains the system time of
day in synchronism with Internet standard time servers. It is a complete implementation
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. ntpd does most computations in 64-bit floating-point arithmetic and does
relatively clumsy 64-bit fixed-point operations only when necessary to preserve the ulti-
mate precision, about 232 picoseconds. While the ultimate precision is not achievable
with ordinary workstations and networks of today, it may be required with future gigahertz
CPU clocks and gigabit LANs.
The daemon can operate in any of several modes, including symmetric active/passive,
client/server broadcast/multicast and manycast. A broadcast/multicast or manycast client
can discover remote servers, compute server-client propagation delay correction factors
and configure itself automatically. This makes it possible to deploy a fleet of worksta-
tions without specifying configuration details specific to the local environment.
Ordinarily, ntpd reads the ntp.conf configuration file at startup time in order to deter-
mine 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 appropriate when the local host is to
be configured as a broadcast/multicast client or manycast client, with all peers being
determined by listening to broadcasts at run time.
Various internal ntpd variables can be displayed and configuration options altered while
the daemon is running using the ntpq and ntpd utility programs.
When ntpd starts it looks at the value of umask, and if it is zero ntpd will set the umask
-a Require cryptographic authentication for broadcast client, multicast client and
symmetric passive associations. This is the default.
-A Do not require cryptographic authentication for broadcast client, multicast client
and symmetric passive associations. This is almost never a good idea.
-b Enable the client to synchronize to broadcast servers.
Specify the name and path of the configuration file, default /etc/ntp.conf.
Specify the name and path of the frequency file, default /etc/ntp.drift. This is
the same operation as the driftfile driftfile configuration 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.
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). 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 depre-
cated. Please consider using the configuration file interface command, which is
Specify the name and path of the symmetric key file, default /etc/ntp.keys. This
is the same operation as the keys keyfile configuration command.
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 configuration command.
-L Do not listen to virtual IPs. The default is to listen.
-n Don't fork.
-N To the extent permitted by the operating system, run the ntpd at the highest prior-
Specify the name and path of the file used to record the ntpd process ID. This is
the same operation as the pidfile pidfile configuration command.
To the extent permitted by the operating system, run the ntpd at the specified pri-
-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
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
Specify the directory path for files created by the statistics facility. This is
the same operation as the statsdir statsdir configuration command.
-t key Add a key number to the trusted key list. This option can occur more than once.
Specify a user, and optionally a group, to switch to.
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 updating. The
default is to scan every 5 minutes.
-v variable, -V variable
Add a system variable listed by default.
-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 manu-
ally. 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. Note: The kernel time discipline is disabled
with this option.
default name of the configuration file
default name of the drift file
The complete documentation can be found at /usr/share/doc/ntp-doc/html/ntpd.html in the
Debian 2007-12-07 NTPD(8)