How to Set/Change the Timezone in Linux

Linux set timezone

This simple tutorial will show you how to view, set, or update the timezone on your Linux system.

You may also want to check out our article on changing the date/time in Linux.

Find out the Current Timezone

Before you change the timezone, it’s worth checking what it’s currently set to – it may already be correct!

The following command will display information about the time and timezone as it is currently set on your system:

timedatectl

The returned information will look something like this:

Local time: Mon 2021-08-02 12:27:41 BST
Universal time: Mon 2021-08-02 11:27:41 UTC
RTC time: Mon 2021-08-02 11:27:41    
Time zone: Europe/London (BST, +0100) 
System clock synchronized: yes                        
NTP service: active                     
RTC in local TZ: no  

The timezone as set on your system is displayed on the 4th line.

Listing Timezones

Timezones must be specified in the correct format. To print a list of available timezones, use the following command:

timedatectl list-timezones

…you will get a list of timezones in the following format:

Africa/Abidjan
Africa/Accra
Africa/Addis_Ababa
Africa/Algiers
Africa/Asmara
Africa/Asmera
Africa/Bamako
Africa/Bangui
Africa/Banjul
...

Scroll until you find your timezone – when changing the timezone, you must enter it exactly as displayed in this list.

Changing/Setting the Timezone in Linux

Now we know what the timezone is and what it needs to be set to, it can be changed. Again, the timedatectl command comes into play:

sudo timedatectl set-timezone YOUR/TIMEZONE

For example, if I were in Addis Ababa, I’d enter:

sudo timedatectl set-timezone Africa/Addis_Ababa

Note the use of sudo – changing the system timezone requires root/administrative privileges.

Confirm the change by again running:

timedatectl

And you’re good to go!

You can view the full user manual for timedatectl by running:

man timedatectl

 

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Brad Morton

I'm Brad, and I'm nearing 20 years of experience with Linux. I've worked in just about every IT role there is before taking the leap into software development. Currently, I'm building desktop and web-based solutions with NodeJS and PHP hosted on Linux infrastructure. Visit my blog or find me on Twitter to see what I'm up to.

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