How to: Set the Timezone on Ubuntu Server

How to: Set the Timezone on Ubuntu Server

If you are using a VM hosted with a public cloud provider you probably have realized that they generally are deployed using UTC as the default timezone. In Windows I was very familiar modifying that but now that I have deployed an Ubuntu server I wasn’t sure where to begin. Every time I executed a php script on the terminal I got a warning that I should not rely on the server timezone (UTC) but set the right one on my php.ini file. I ended up doing that but I realized all the logs, etc are still based on the UTC timezone so I decided it was time to set my timezone on my Ubuntu server.

It turns out it is rather simple, just a few commands and considerations and you are set and done!

I. Verify the current settings and time using date (there is also a timezone file in /etc/timezone):

Wed Dec 10 04:10:03 UTC 2013

or as mentioned you should also check what is your current time zone (in my case, I was originally in UTC)

more /etc/timezone

II. To change the timezone you need to execute sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata. 

This will launch an interface for you to select the timezone from a number of options. If you have installed Ubuntu Server before it is the same screen as when you install your server. When you are done you´ll receive the following output on the terminal:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Current default time zone: ‘America/Mexico_City’
Local time is now: Tue Dec 09 22:12:45 CST 2013.
Universal Time is now: Wed Dec 10 04:12:45 UTC 2013.

as you can see this is rather simple.

III. Don’t forget to restart cron

Otherwise it won’t pick up the timezone change. If possible I recommend a whole server restart just to make sure everything picks up the change:

sudo service cron restart

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