ntpdate into cron seems to be no longer a good idea.
What is an
- environmental friendly ;-)
way of keeping a (debian) server's time clock up to date?
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apt-get install ntp. If you've never had it installed before, you should be good to go. If you have, and therefore, might have stale config files, you could
apt-get remove --purge ntp and
apt-get install ntp again to get new config files. Or if you want to keep your config files, I recommend checking that
NTPD_OPTS='-g'. This says to ntpd "try to correct the time, even if it is way off", and make sure at least one good server in
/etc/ntp.conf has the
iburst option, like:
server 0.debian.pool.ntp.org iburst
This allows a burst of packets to be sent which will get your time synced quicker.
If you ever need to have something wait for time sync before proceeding, run
ntp-wait. If, for example, you have a service which shouldn't start until you are sure you have your time corrected. (which you previously might have used ntpdate for)