The WWW Clock (beta)
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About the WWW Clock

How It Works

The WWW Clock is a simple web page embedded with the current time that refreshes itself once every minute. There are no messy Java applets or open streams downloading continuous animated gifs. The time is inserted by the web server which is synchonized via the NTP time protocol to a master time server (which is why the clock on your computer may not show the exact same time). Once the WWW Clock web page has been loaded into a browser, it reloads itself every 60 seconds, pulling down a new page with the updated time. The time is inserted into the web page using something called PHP which, if it can ever be figured out by mere mortals, can do some really neat other stuff as well.


The accuracy of the WWW Clock is nominally +/- 1 minute. Other factors may affect the accuracy of the time received such as internet connection speed, computer CPU speed, web browser rendering time, caching proxy servers, daylight savings time, NTP synchronization of the host server, gaseous anomalies, "the others" and wild killer rabbits barking at the moon on a Tuesday. I'm sure we forgot something. As a result, we only guarantee our web pages for the first 60 seconds of their life and during that time we do not guarantee their suitability for anything useful. If you do manage to tell the time using it, or bend the rules of astrophysics, celestial mechanics, nonlinear mathematics or spatio-temporal chaos theory, then consider that a nice bonus. Remember, this web site is still officially a beta release so any problems, misplaced event horizons, or even black holes generated through the use of this web site are regarded experimental features and not bugs!


The WWW Clock was first created in early 1995 after a private beta release of the Netscape Navigator web browser (v1.1b1). This launched a new feature called a Meta tag which included a page refresh function (http-equiv="refresh"). This was paired with an experimental CGI from Maxum Development called NetCloak that we were already alpha testing, which, among other things, could insert the time and date into HTML on the fly. Literally, within a few hours of the web browser's beta release, the first working clock was published on the Internet at$Time and was announced to the world very shortly afterward on on Friday March 17th 1995. Soon afterwards, the WWW Clock became a fully embedded web page with randomized quotes and ads at (none of these URLs work anymore). Back then, these URLs ran on a sprightly 25MHz Macintosh Centris with 24MB memory running Mac OS 7.5.5 and MacHTTP/WebStar. Or it did, until it blew up, as it had the dubious honour of being the world's most secure web server running on top of the world's most unstable operating system. In late 1995, the domain name was obtained and the WWW Clock has resided there ever since.

As of January 2006, this web site is still little more than a grand experiment. It now runs on significantly faster hardware, using a descendent of Mitel's telecom-grade port of CentOS. Over time, we'll be adding lots of new code and some bits & bytes begged, and borrowed along the way. This site is officially beta and probably will stay that way until we find a principle sponsor.

Fortunately, the time, more or less, resembles exactly what it's supposed to look like (we're a Stratum-2 time server), but we have lots of ideas and still need to make the site look a lot prettier and more functional. We know we still have a lot of work to do to make it even remotely close to something resembling "cool".


Site Credits


Simon Higgs (Higgs Communications)


Links to those that have helped us create this site in some way or another. Whether they know it or not (probably not):

The Network Time Protocol
The PHP Group
Brandon Cash (The PHP Analog Clock)



Fun Fact:

Giraffes and rats can last longer without water than camels.


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Note: A number of web sites have linked directly to our clock images and have used an overly excessive amount of our bandwidth.
As a result, we have been forced to deny all external image requests. We apologise for any inconvenience.