Excessive NTP query event, December 2016

I sent the mail below to about 340 server operators that have servers more likely to have been affected by the recent “event” (most notably by having a server either marked deleted or with a current low score). I tried balancing getting information out and the emailing everyone something that might not be relevant to them.

If you’ve already been using the new forum here then there’s nothing new, but many operators aren’t reading along here or subscribed to the currently broken mailing list.


You’re getting this mail because you might have been impacted by a recent event regarding the NTP Pool system.

If your server was removed from the NTP Pool for during this “event”, I hope that you’ll consider adding it back now. In many parts of the world we very much could use any extra resources available.

Your account has the email address […].

On December 13th, Snapchat released a version of their app that made more than 30 NTP requests (to separate servers). It put a huge load on many servers, likely including yours.

It was quickly noticed, but it took about 5 days to track down what had happened. Snapchat didn’t use a vendor zone in their app. After informing Snapchat they quickly got a new version of their app released without this bug and the traffic started subsiding in the days after.

You can read more at https://community.ntppool.org/.

During this week of excessive NTP requests, servers in regions with lower coverage got a large amount of “international” queries and many servers withdrew from the NTP Pool system to protect their local services.

I also want to highlight the “net speed” configuration option on the management portal. It doesn’t need to reflect your actual connection speed, but rather it’s a relative metric for how often your server will be given to NTP clients by the DNS system. If you have extra capacity, feel free to experiment with making it higher (it’ll take 5-15 minutes to take effect). You can also make it lower to continue to contribute, but with fewer queries going to your IP.

If you have questions, please email [server-owner-help address] or post to the NTP Pool Forum.

Thank you for your work and efforts for the NTP Pool project and community,

Ask Bjørn Hansen

You are getting this email because your email address has registered one or more servers for the NTP Pool system. If you haven’t logged in for more than a year, there are some simple instructions for the new authentication system.

1 Like

I was one of the operators who got the email :slight_smile: While I was very aware of the event, thanks for sending this out to others who might not have been.

It’s good to see in the AU zone that the server numbers are back up to where we were prior to the incident, but we are still well under served.

A server in the AU zone with “Net Speed” 50Mbps will receive 10x the queries of a server with the same “Net Speed” in the US zone.