Active server numbers looks pretty static


Given recent events I thought it might be useful to try and get a few more sign ups. I posted a story on Slashdot ( ) - if you’ve got a sec please could you vote it up so we are more likely to get on the front page. Thanks.


Good work!

It’s good to take any opportunity to get people interested in becoming a member of the pool and giving back to the community :smile:


Good initiative, but what about more local channels - especially in the regions that have very few servers. I doubt many of the local system admins, where I live, would visit slashdot very often.


Hi, good idea! I did manage to get a story in The Register here in the UK over the Christmas period but there didn’t seem to be a noticeable increase in sign ups! Maybe people weren’t reading over the break.

I remembered someone mentioning Slashdot and the dates of previous articles about the NTP Pool seem to tie in pretty well with huge increases in pool signups.

I’m not clued up on which sites are the best places to use in other countries, maybe people could try to get stories in their local ones and post here so as not to duplicate? Maybe Ask could email the existing server operators in the zones that are really low to see if they can advise which channels are good to use?


During last January to April the TW pool once dropped to only 1~2 IPv4 servers available, then in May I posted an article (surely in Chinese; web read-only version) in local console-based (login using telnet or ssh) bulletin board system. Now we have about 15 IPv4 servers in TW pool.

In underserved pool, local supporter can help newcomers solve tuning problems, reducing the possibility of score drop and eventually removal out of the pool.


Sounds great! I’m also going to start campaigning people in Mainland China to join the pool during the Spring holiday, let’s wait and see.


Nice one, @alica - TW looks a lot healthier! Knowing where to find volunteers locally and being able to post in the local language is definitely important!


Could it be an idea to describe how the community will come together and help getting a zone running and how little it actually takes to run a time server? That is is not required to purchase expensive hardware and how far you can get with a humble ARM based machine like Raspberry Pi?



Yes! It’s hard to tell what will help. The Hacker News links brought surprisingly many people to read the posts here, but didn’t add a lot of servers. As someone else pointed out years ago one of the times the NTP Pool was referenced in a slashdot post it brought a tremendous number of servers.

I suspect documentation and articles in languages other than English would be particularly helpful to expand our coverage of the world. I wish we could help more with that than what we already have on the NTP Pool website.

(Actually, help managing and encouraging translations is something I really could use).


I’d love to join and add my server to the pool, but it seems to be impossible to become a member. I signed up days ago but it seems I have to receive a confirmation email before I can log into the ‘Manage servers’ section. I emailed yesterday for help, waiting for a reply.


I found my confirmation mail in the spam folder (using gmail).


I can see what comes into my junk folder and it never arrived. Ask had the email resent and I got it this time, all is well again :slight_smile:


Great… Welcome aboard…


Hi Danny, thank you for your persistence! I think there’s something wrong with the system sending the verification emails, but I haven’t been able to reproduce it. :frowning:



It is possible the problem was at my end (I have had mail server problems this past week), but I couldn’t see any evidence in my logs that anything with ntp in the address had been sent to me


A Raspberry Pi is actually extremely fast!

One of my time servers is a 1987 SUN 3/60, SunOS 4.1.1 !!!

The Sun 3/60 has a 32-bit MC68020 main processor and a 80-bit MC68881 FP coprocessor, running at 20MHz (approx. 3 MIPS, 0.4 MFLOPS), with 24 Mb of RAM. Presently I have 7 disk partitions of 2 Gb each (the max. size the OS can address), that is 14 Gb. Originally it was shipped with a 80 Mb or 120 Mb hard disk (including the whole OS, man pages, X-server and Openview WM, SunView windowing environment and a C compiler; previous OS versions had also a Fortran and Pascal compiler included). On 120 Mb there was quite a lot of space for private data.

The time-server net speed is set to 10Mb/s, which is the actual speed of the SUN 3/60 ethernet, and running in mid-europe (HR, EU, Global), it manages on average with around 10% of processor load, with maximums of around 25-30%! The machine is also a web server (

This particular machine is almost constantly on the net from the early days of Janet in UK (around 1988/1989), and in Croatia from 1991/1992! During the 1990-ies it was a training machine for tens and tens of students connecting over terminals or X-terminals to it. I included it into the ntp pool in 2009.

So I wouldn’t say a Raspberry Pi is a humble machine, except for the size and cost :slight_smile: (though the SUN 3/60 is just like a sligltly overgrown pizza-box, that was the nickname of the housing for them anyway).

Sorry for the off-topic expose, but it is really that running a time-server must not be a hardware problem! :sunny:


On topic:

I just made a post in another thread which actually is primarily for this one:


NTP servers and clients are unevenly distributed around the world and this uneven distribution makes it difficult to become a new NTP provider in regions without an already existing dense server grid.

Adding servers in especially the Asian region is a difficult task. My nine NTP servers in Europe each get an average of 450 requests per second with a Net speed setting of 1000 Mbps. Two days ago I added a server in Indonesia which already gets an average of 2k requests per second at 100 Mbps setting with peeks of 15k RPS sustained over five minutes. My India based server which was started yesterday gets 2k requests per second at 25 Mbps which would translate to 80 k RPS at full net speed. My estimation is that that would burn 40 TB bandwidth per month which is significant looking at the capacity of many Asian networks. My previous attempts to add Asian servers resulted in clashes with hosting providers who didn’t want huge amounts of non-human traffic on their expensive mediocre network. I also ran into problems with too strictly configured firewalls after the winter 2013/2014 amplification attacks. Firewalling NTP packets somewhere upstream practically blocked the NTP check packets from Ask’s monitor server in Los Angeles giving bad score to my server in Kazakhstan and eventually kicking the server from the pool, even though the server was working OK within the country borders.

Searching reliable stratum 1 servers is another challenge and for now I synchronize my India server with my own stratum 1 server in Europe at a ping distance of 180 msec because it proved to give the best accuracy.

When it comes to hardware, my beefiest server is a 8 core dual Xeon with 48GB Ram with an average power usage of 200 Watt, my smallest is a 4 core ARMv7 based server with 2GB Ram using an average of 2.5 Watt. Both are on a 1GBit network connection at the highest NTP net speed of 1000 Mbps and for NTP the ARM performs slightly better than the dual Xeon when it comes to CPU usage, accuracy and latency for the ntpd process. Performance of the Raspberry Pi may be a bit worse because the network interface of the Pi is 100 Mbit/sec bridged over USB, but practically spoken, hardware is not an issue anymore for a lightweight CPU and network interface bound protocol like NTP.

Adding servers to the China zone