I had a situation lately with a host that need up to date ntp servers. We had during the weekend a crash of our internet router. When everything came back to hte normal our application was still complaining about NTP.

We discovered that the ntp client took 9h to get sync. Here is the ntpd's logs :

Aug 19 15:31:15 host ntpd[26550]: kernel time sync status 0040
Aug 19 15:31:15 host ntpd[26550]: frequency initialized 97.149 PPM from /tmp/drift
Aug 20 00:29:24 host ntpd[26550]: synchronized to, stratum 3
Aug 20 00:29:24 host ntpd[26550]: kernel time sync disabled 0001

When the issue occured here is the output of peers state :

# ntpq
ntpq> peers
remote refid st t when poll reach delay offset jitter
srv1 3 u 31 64 377 0.714 -685.16 6.388
srv2 3 u 5 64 377 0.652 -1385.7 12.165

Someone told me that I should use minpoll and maxpoll settings to solve this issue.

What should I do to avoid 9H NTP synchronisation ?

  • Your information is very "out of whack". Your log says you're synced to, yet ntpq peers says, and that peer is listed twice as 2 different servers, with different offsets. (P.S. it's better to use ntpq -p as it indicates which server you're currently syncing to).
    – phemmer
    Sep 24, 2013 at 1:24
  • is srv1. srv1 is prefered ntp server in ntpd.conf It seems that when the ntp is synced reach filed is at 377.
    – Hugo
    Oct 7, 2013 at 12:49
  • You need to post your ntp.conf. Why are you storing the drift file in tmp?
    – dfc
    Jan 18, 2014 at 0:08

2 Answers 2


The offset is way too large; make sure to synchronise the clock “one-shot” before you start xntpd, e.g. with rdate (sudo rdate -nv 2.pool.ntp.org) or xntpd’s very own ntptime utility.

  • 1990 called they want their rdate example back. Use sntp on a modern system. On an older system use ntpdate. use rdate on the computers in museum displays.
    – dfc
    Jan 18, 2014 at 0:08
  • 1
    @dfc please read the rdate manpage again: the -n option does precisely that, it uses the SNTP protocol – and that in a manner much better than xntpd's ntpdate – to set the time. Just thinking for a second would have shown that, as 2.pool.ntp.org surely doesn't offer RFC868 rdate service, only NTP.
    – mirabilos
    Jan 19, 2014 at 12:36
  • I don't have the rdate manpage installed; the 90s are over. xntpd? Seriously are you from the past?
    – dfc
    Jan 19, 2014 at 16:25
  • 1
    @dfc that's why I made that into a link… sigh
    – mirabilos
    Jan 19, 2014 at 22:52

The other alternative is to add the following to ntp.conf:

tinker panic 0

or adding -g to your ntpd startup options.

This will allow ntpd to deal with the offset no matter how big it gets.

One more thing; two time servers is the worst possible configuration for acquiring the time. Your ntpd will have no idea which clock is better when they report different times. Use a minimum of three clocks.

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

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