[ntp:questions] 3 Questions about setting up NTP

Danny Mayer mayer at ntp.isc.org
Wed Apr 9 03:04:05 UTC 2008

Richard B. Gilbert wrote:
> Danny Mayer wrote:
>> Unruh wrote:
>>> unix2266 at charter.net (unix2266) writes:
>>>> Folks;
>>>> I'm setting up a new NTP server to sync time for our network. I
>>>> have  one Linux server that needs to point to that NTP server
>>>> My 3 questions are:
>>>> 1. I added the IP address for the NTP server to the "/etc/hosts"
>>>> file  on the Linux server. Is that all i need to do to make the Linux server
>>>> point to the NTP server?
>>> Yup. If your ntp server was in some dns server, you did not even have to do
>>> that. 
>> You should not be touching etc/hosts for this purpose. If you want to 
>> use a specific IP address for a server you can do that in the ntp.conf 
>> file. If you have a DNS server you can put it in there and specify the 
>> FQDN on the server line but you shouldn't be messing with /etc/hosts. 
>> That's a long obsolete file and it really should be empty under normal 
>> circumstances.
> /etc/hosts is a perfectly OK thing to use.  It's not the only tool for 
> the job and in most circumstances it's not the best tool but it works!

In this case it's not necessary and causes unnecessary maintenance 
tasks. You can use the FQDN or the IP address of the NTP servers to use 
so why mess with hosts files?

> For example, I have, I think, eleven computers in the house.  I'll be 
> damned if I'll take off my shoes just to count the computers! I have an 
> RFC-1918 private network.  I have not gone to the trouble of setting up 
> a DNS server for my home.  Those of my computers that need to talk to 
> the others have hosts files!  All have DNS resolvers and use my ISP's 
> DNS servers in the usual manner in order to talk to the outside world.

Setting up DNS doesn't take much effort to set up though admittedly I 
also have worked on the source code.

> The host files do have a few key addresses of internet systems that I 
> might want to talk to even when my ISP is having a bad day!  They are 
> much better than they used to be but I sometimes think they should have 
> stuck to cable television!!

The things that your provider has done makes me leary of anything that 
they might provide.


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