ntpd - Network Time Protocol Daemon

NTP is installed by default on FreeBSD.

When the NTP daemon is running and synced with external time sources, you can configure your Intranet PCs and connected devices to sync their time with it.


The daemon can be enabled at boot time by adding to /etc/rc.conf



To configure the the NTP daemon edit /etc/ntp.conf

Substitute your own preferred public time servers in this example configuration:

server clock.uregina.ca
server clock.fmt.he.net
server clock.nyc.he.net
server time.nrc.ca
server clock.nyc.he.net

# IPv4
restrict -4 default limited kod nomodify notrap nopeer noquery
restrict mask

# IPv6
restrict -6 default limited kod nomodify notrap nopeer noquery
restrict ::1
restrict 2001:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:: mask ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff::

NOTE: ntpd will by default bind to all available interfaces in the system. On your firewall do not permit ingress NTP connections (port UDP 123) from the Internet to your server unless you have a specific need to do so.

When choosing public NTP servers to configure, select the ones that is geographically close and review its usage policy. Web search for 'public ntp stratum 1' + 'your country'

minpoll and maxpolI values default to: minpoll 6 (64 seconds) and maxpoll 10 (1024 seconds)
Should you desire to use different min and max polling intervals, this chart displays the calculated times of all valid values (4 - 17)

Chart of valid minpoll and maxpoll values with respective time intervals

Adjust the server line(s) in /etc/ntp.conf to include your user defined values.

server time.nrc.ca minpoll 8 maxpoll 16

NTP by default logs to the default system syslog facility.
To specify a specific log file location add the logfile option to /etc/ntp.conf

logfile /var/log/ntpd.log

Start the service with service ntpd start


You can view the current status of the running ntpd with ntpq -p

     remote           refid      st t when poll reach   delay   offset  jitter
*CLOCK.UREGINA.C .GPS.            1 u 119m  18h  377   16.334  -114.07 211.040
+clock.fmt.he.ne .CDMA.           1 u  11h  18h  357  103.994   87.410  87.084
-clock.nyc.he.ne .CDMA.           1 u  13h  18h  377   98.231  115.145 145.857
+time12.nrc.ca   2 u  12h  18h  377   46.890  101.514 124.000
-d24-150-203-150 .PPS.            1 u  12h  18h  377   54.767  107.637 135.019

Columns Defined:
* = current time source
# = source selected, distance exceeds maximum value
o = source selected, Pulse Per Second (PPS) used
+ = source selected, included in final set
x = source false ticker
. = source selected from end of candidate list
– = source discarded by cluster algorithm
blank = source discarded high stratum, failed sanity

remote: the time source peer specified in ntp.conf

refid: remote source’s synchronization source

st: stratum level of the source

t: the type of connected time source
l = local (i.e. GPS)
u = unicast (most common type)
m = multicast
b = broadcast
– = netaddr

when: number of seconds passed since last response

poll: polling interval, in seconds, for source

reach: indicates success/failure to reach source, 377 all attempts successful

delay: indicates the roundtrip time, in milliseconds, to receive a reply

offset: indicates the time difference, in milliseconds, between the client server and source

jitter: indicates the difference, in milliseconds, between two samples