How to Set or Change Timezone in Ubuntu Linux [Beginner’s Tip]

When you install Ubuntu, it asks you to set timezone. If you chose a wrong timezone or if you have moved to some other part of the world, you can easily change it later.

How to change Timezone in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions

There are two ways to change the timezone in Ubuntu. You can use the graphical settings or use the timedatectl command in the terminal. You may also change the /etc/timezone file directly but I won’t advise that.

I’ll show you both graphical and terminal way in this beginner’s tutorial:

  • Change timezone in Ubuntu via GUI (suitable for desktop users)
  • Change timezone in Ubuntu via command line (works for both desktop and servers)

Method 1: Change Ubuntu timezone via terminal

Ubuntu or any other distributions using systemd can use the timedatectl command to set timezone in Linux terminal.

You can check the current date and timezone setting using timedatectl command without any option:

abhishek@nuc:~$ timedatectl 
                      Local time: Sat 2020-01-18 17:39:52 IST
                  Universal time: Sat 2020-01-18 12:09:52 UTC
                        RTC time: Sat 2020-01-18 12:09:52
                       Time zone: Asia/Kolkata (IST, +0530)
       System clock synchronized: yes
systemd-timesyncd.service active: yes
                 RTC in local TZ: no

As you can see in the output above, my system uses Asia/Kolkata. It also tells me that it is 5:30 hours ahead of GMT.

To set a timezone in Linux, you need to know the exact timezone. You must use the correct format of the timezone (which is Continent/City).

To get the timezone list, use the list-timezones option of timedatectl command:

timedatectl list-timezones

It will show you a huge list of the available time zones.

Timezones In Ubuntu
Timezones List

You can use the up and down arrow or PgUp and PgDown key to move between the pages.

You may also grep the output and search for your timezone. For example, if you are looking for time zones in Europe, you may use:

timedatectl list-timezones | grep -i europe

Let’s say you want to set the timezone to Paris. The timezone value to be used here is Europe/Paris:

timedatectl set-timezone Europe/Paris

It won’t show any success message but the timezone is changed instantly. You don’t need to restart or log.

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