How To Setup NTP Server and Client on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Setup NTP Server and Client on Ubuntu 20.04

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install a setup NTP server and client on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, NTP (stands for network time protocol) is used to synchronize the system clock of the client system with the clock of the server. The NTP server has features that allow synchronization between two systems with an accuracy of one nanosecond so that the two systems can communicate easily. System time applies not only to the user but also to the computer itself. In fact, time stamps make it easy to communicate between two or more computers and provide network services properly, as well as optimize the network card.

This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the configured NTP server and client on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.


  • A server running one of the following operating systems: Ubuntu 20.04, 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.
  • It’s recommended that you use a fresh OS install to prevent any potential issues.
  • A non-root sudo user or access to the root user. We recommend acting as a non-root sudo user, however, as you can harm your system if you’re not careful when acting as the root.

Setup NTP Server and Client on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa

Step 1. First, make sure that all your system packages are up-to-date by running the following apt commands in the terminal.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Step 2. Installing  NTP Server on Ubuntu.

Run the following command below to install the NTP server to your Ubuntu system:

sudo apt install ntp

You can verify the installation from the following command:

sntp --version

Step 3. Configure NTP server.

By default, NTP protocol comes with default NTP pool servers already configured in its configuration file as shown below in the /etc/ntp.conf file:

sudo nano /etc/ntp.conf

Setup NTP Server and Client on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa

You may consider changing to NTP server pools closest to your location. Use the NTP Pool Project website to find the closest NTP server pool to your location. Example replace NTP pool list in Singapore to the configuration files as shown:


Now restart the NTP service for the changes to take effect:

sudo systemctl restart ntp

Step 4. Configure Firewall.

If you have a firewall enabled on the Ubuntu system, you’ll need to allow the port for NTP in order to accept incoming requests:

sudo ufw allow ntp
sudo ufw reload
sudo ufw status

Step 5. NTP Client and Server Clock Synchronization.

To manually synchronize the NTP server we need to use ntpdate, Use the command below to install it:

sudo apt install ntpdate

Next, execute ntpdate use the following command below:

sudo ntpdate <your-ntp server's-IP-address>

Then, disable the systemd timesyncd service because we will be using our NTP server for this instead. Enter the following command:

sudo timedatectl set-ntp off

Step 6. Installing NTP on Client.

Now we need to install the NTP daemon on our client system:

sudo apt install ntp

After that, edit the configuration file on the client machine so that it automatically syncs with the NTP server:

sudo nano /etc/ntp.conf

Add the following file:

server <NTP-server-hostname> prefer iburst

In order to view NTP’s current synchronization status, run the following command below in Terminal:

ntpq -p

Congratulations! You have successfully configured the NTP. Thanks for using this tutorial to set up the NTP server and client on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa system. For additional help or useful information, we recommend you check the official Ubuntu website.

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r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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