How to change MySQL server time zone

In this article we’ll discuss how you can change the MySQL time zone on your server so that data stored in your databases will by default use the time zone that you have specified.

A lot of the time your local time zone will be different than the MySQL server’s time zone, and this could make working with data inside your databases more difficult for you. Using the following steps you can update your MySQL server’s time zone so that it matches your own to make working with this data easier.

This change would require root access to either a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or dedicated server hosting plan, or you can contact our support department to have this changed on your server. You might also simply need to know how to convert MySQL time which wouldn’t require root access and can be done on a shared server.

  1. Login to your server via SSH as the root user.
  2. You can view MySQL’s current time zone settings using the following command from the console:

    mysql -e “SELECT @@global.time_zone;”By default you should get back something similar to:

    +--------------------+
    | @@global.time_zone |
    +--------------------+
    | SYSTEM             |
    +--------------------+

    This is because by default your MySQL time zone will be set to the server’s default SYSTEM time. If you’re interested in changing the entire server’s time zone this can be accomplished by setting the time zone in WHM.

  3. You can see the server’s SYSTEM time stamp using the following command:

    dateWhich will give back:

    Mon Nov 26 12:50:07 EST 2012

  4. You can see the current time stamp reported by the MySQL server using the following command:

    mysql -e “SELECT NOW();”This should give back the current time stamp:

    +---------------------+
    | NOW()               |
    +---------------------+
    | 2012-11-26 12:50:15 |
    +---------------------+
  5. Now you can edit your MySQL configuration file with your favorite text editor:

    vi /etc/my.cnfThen add the following line to change from EST (GMT -5:00) to CST (GMT -6:00):

    default-time-zone = ‘-06:00’Now save the /etc/my.cnf file with your new default.

  6. To make the change active you’ll want to restart the MySQL service with the following command:

    service mysql restart

  7. Now if you try to see the global time zone setting again with the command:

    mysql -e “SELECT @@global.time_zone;”You should now get back your new default:

    +--------------------+
    | @@global.time_zone |
    +--------------------+
    | -06:00             |
    +--------------------+
  8. You should also see now that the NOW() function has updated as well:

    mysql -e “SELECT NOW();”This should give back the current time stamp:

    +---------------------+
    | NOW()               |
    +---------------------+
    | 2012-11-26 11:50:15 |
    +---------------------+

You should now know how to update the MySQL server’s time zone setting, to help make sure the data stored in databases is easy for you to work with. You can also used named time zones instead of the GMT -6:00 format, but this would first require you loading the time zone tables into the mysql database. More information on this can be found on the MySQL site regarding mysql_tzinfo_to_sql and loading the time zone tables.

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