Today I tried to install a new ESXi 7.0 server for my homelab and I bumped into an issue with NTP.
I wanted to make sure this is really a bug, so I’ve used three different ISO’s to install ESXi: (same result)

  • VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0.0-15843807.x86_64
  • VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0b-16324942.x86_64
  • VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0.0-16324942.x86_64-DellEMC_Customized-A02
ESXi 7.0 standalone - The service ntpd failed to start
ESXi 7.0 standalone – The service ntpd failed to start

This tends to happen if you’re using a standalone ESXi host instead of connecting it to a vCenter Server.
Follow these steps to fix the issue:

  • Configure the time settings via ESXi > System > Time & date
  • Configure the ESXi firewall
  • Start the ESXi NTP services
  • Test the time configuration

Configure the time settings

  • Navigate to ESXi > System > Time & Date
  • Select “Use Network Time Protocol (enable NTP client)”
    • NTP service startup policy > Start and stop with host
    • NTP servers >
Navigate to ESXi time configuration

Configure the ESXi firewall

If you’re still in the services screen, search for the ntpd service and choose the related firewall rule on the right side of your screen: “ntpClient”

If you already left the scren, navigate to ESXi > Networking > Firewall rules > Search ntpClient

Select the firewall rule > Actions > Enable

Start the ESXi NTP services

  • Navigate to ESXi > Services > ntpd
  • Select ntpd and choose Start

The result will look like this:

Test the time configuration

  • Navigate to ESXi > System > Time & Date
  • Verify if the time mentioned in current date and time is correct
  • Check if the NTP service status is Running

Alternatively you can use SSH, login and type “date”

The problem “The service ntpd failed to start” is solved now!

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