Was my server time changed?


davidblaise
Asked:
2013-10-30 12:33 pm EST

Hits: 618
I am in the Eastern US time zone and running programs that depend on the server time being accurate and consistent. Was my server time changed recently? Daylight savings time is scheduled to end this Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 2 AM. Is it possible the DST change was processed a week early? Please advise.

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JacobIMH
Staff
9,521 Points
2013-10-30 1:21 pm EST
Hello David, and thank you for your question.

With the domain name you provided us with this question, it would appear you're on a dedicated server that has its time zone set to PDT currently, so Daylight savings time adjustments haven't taken place yet or it would have switched to PST. You can set the server time zone in WHM if you needed to update this.

You can also inspect your cron logs to see if there was a lapse during any specific time period, and I don't appear to be seeing one:

cat /var/log/cron | awk '{ gsub(":"," "); print $1,$2,$3":00"}' | uniq


This gives output like:

Oct 27 03:00
Oct 27 04:00
Oct 27 05:00
Oct 27 06:00
Oct 27 07:00
...
Oct 30 08:00
Oct 30 09:00
Oct 30 10:00


Your /var/log/cron-20131027 log has the logged activity from Oct 20 03:00 to Oct 22 02:00. So at least from October 20th, it doesn't appear there was a skipped hour of cron activity.

Was there any specific process, or scheduled cron job that you see being off? There could possibly be an issue with the script itself causing it to talk longer to run, or something of that nature making it seem like the time on the server is off.

- Jacob

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Hi Jacob, thanks for the quick response.

Yes, the specific process having issues is a registration form and delivery system for an automated webinar. I was in touch with tech support for the software first and we have been able to determine that the registration time on the user's computer and the time based on the user's IP address all appear to be in synch. However, for some reason, the scheduled webinar times are off by exactly one hour. That's why I was asking about the actual server time. So do/will the daylight savings time changes happen automatically at the appropriate time on our dedicated server?

David
davidblaise
17 Points
2013-10-30 1:35 pm EST
Hello David,

Yes the changes for daylight savings time should be automatic on your server. I'm not sure why your automated webinar would be affected at all, as the time is current and correct on your server.

Are the scheduled times ahead or behind by exactly one hour, and how are they getting set? For instance are you using a PHP script to set these up, where possibly you've defined the time zone differently than the server-wide time zone which is what a cron job would run based off? For instance if your PHP script has the time zone hard coded, it wouldn't respect daylights savings time, and could be causing it to be an hour off.

If I'm looking at the right cron job, it would seem you have it set to run a PHP script every 15 minutes, so if something is exactly an hour off than it would seem to be coming from the PHP application handling it, and not the server's time or cron job settings.

I see that script is interacting with a MySQL database, and it's possible that your MySQL time-stamps stored in your database are off causing the issues. You can read my article on how to convert MySQL time to do it at the script level. Or you can also read about how to change the MySQL server time zone to make this setting globally for your MySQL server in your /etc/my.cnf file, but right now it should simply default to the server's time zone setting.

- Jacob
JacobIMH
9,521 Points
Staff
2013-10-30 4:16 pm EST
Hi Jacob,

The registration form seems to reflect the correct time, but the webinars actually run an hour later than indicated in my time zone (but not all.) I am still working back and forth with the software vendor to try to determine where it is pulling the time data. It appears to me that some clock, somewhere, must have been updated, as this problem didn't exist a week ago. We just need to determine which clock and where. Now that I know it's not the server, we will continue to look elsewhere. Will definitely look into the MySQL databases.

Thanks again for the help.

David
davidblaise
17 Points
2013-10-30 5:09 pm EST
Hello David,

No problem, hopefully working with the application developer you can narrow down where the time difference is possibly coming from. If they needed us to look into anything specific to help please let us know, and if you're able to get it resolved please let us know what the outcome was!

- Jacob
JacobIMH
9,521 Points
Staff
2013-10-30 6:00 pm EST
Hi Jacob,

I got the answer. According to the software vendor, the timezone is being pulled from the timezone database from the php on our server. They tell me that we have timezone database 2012.3, rather than 2013.4 or something more current. How do we go about updating this?

David
davidblaise
17 Points
2013-11-04 9:17 am EST
Hello davidblaise,

If you have root access on a Dedicated, or VPS server, you can change the MySQL time by editing /etc/my.cnf and define MySQL's time zone there, otherwise it will pull off of the system.

You can also submit a ticket to Live Tech Support, requesting that your server's timezone is updated. Be sure to include either your current Amp password, or the last 4 digits of the current credit card that we have on file for account verification.

If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below.
Thank you,

-John-Paul
johnpaulb-imhs1
7,266 Points
Staff
2013-11-04 11:53 am EST
OK, I'll get in touch with Live Tech support to get it corrected.
Thanks,
David
davidblaise
17 Points
2013-11-04 12:04 pm EST
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