Set your server timezone to UTC

By David Mytton,
CEO & Founder of Server Density.

Published on the 30th November, 2011.

We host our servers in the US but have them all configured to use UTC as the timezone. This has a number of benefits:

  • The time never changes. It’s not subject to any daylight savings nor any adjustments in local time (like Samoa did this year). That means you won’t get any strange bugs with outdated timezone definitions or unexpected changeovers.
  • It’s easy to convert into your local time by using the simple UTC offset. This is just addition or subtraction rather than having to work out the relative time difference if your servers are in one timezone and you are in another (plus daylight savings!).
  • It simplifies troubleshooting with vendors – you can let them deal with conversion.
  • Code can use the simplest path because it doesn’t have to do any conversion itself if it knows the local server is set to UTC.

It seems like a simple, fire and forget configuration option but doing some log based troubleshooting recently made me think about this and how much more difficult it would’ve been if the timezones were different! Especially since I was travelling in Germany and then to Japan at the time.

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