System Administration

Friday, 25 March 2022 09:31

How to Set or Change the Time Zone in Linux

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A time zone is a geographic region that has the same standard time. Typically the time zone is set during the installation of the operational system, but it can be easily changed at a later time.

Using the correct time zone is essential for many systems related tasks and processes. For example, the cron daemon uses the system’s time zone for executing cron jobs. The time zone is also used for logs timestamps.

This tutorial covers the steps necessary to set or change the time zone in Linux.

Checking the Current Time Zone
timedatectl is a command-line utility that allows you to view and change the system’s time and date. It is available on all modern systemd-based Linux systems.

To view the current time zone, invoke the timedatectl command without any options or arguments:

timedatectl

Local time: Tue 2019-12-03 16:30:44 UTC
Universal time: Tue 2019-12-03 16:30:44 UTC
RTC time: Tue 2019-12-03 16:30:44
Time zone: Etc/UTC (UTC, +0000)
System clock synchronized: no
systemd-timesyncd.service active: yes
RTC in local TZ: no

The output above shows that the system’s time zone is set to UTC.


The system time zone is configured by symlinking the /etc/localtime file to a binary time zone’s identifier in the /usr/share/zoneinfo directory.

Another way to check the time zone is to view the path the symlink points to using the ls command:

ls -l /etc/localtime
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 27 Dec 3 16:29 /etc/localtime -> /usr/share/zoneinfo/Etc/UTC

Changing the Time Zone in Linux
Before changing the time zone, you’ll need to find out the long name of the time zone you want to use. The time zone naming convention usually uses a “Region/City” format.

To view all available time zones, use the timedatectl command or list the files in the /usr/share/zoneinfo directory:

timedatectl list-timezones

...
America/Montserrat
America/Nassau
America/New_York
America/Nipigon
America/Nome
America/Noronha
...
Once you identify which time zone is accurate to your location, run the following command as root or sudo user:

sudo timedatectl set-timezone <your_time_zone>

For example, to change the system’s timezone to America/New_York you would type:

sudo timedatectl set-timezone America/New_York

To verify the change, invoke the timedatectl command again:


timedatectl

Local time: Tue 2019-12-03 13:55:09 EST
Universal time: Tue 2019-12-03 18:55:09 UTC
RTC time: Tue 2019-12-03 18:02:16
Time zone: America/New_York (EST, -0500)
System clock synchronized: no
systemd-timesyncd.service active: yes
RTC in local TZ: no

Mission accomplished! You’ve successfully changed your system’s time zone

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