What time zone do Stack Overflow's servers operate in?

I noticed that it couldn't be my time zone, or the ones before me (I'm in North American Eastern Time), because I logged into SO earlier today (around 12 pm), then I logged in just a few minutes ago (around 8 pm), then about a minute later I got the Fanatic badge (yay me!).

  • 3
    While the accepted answer is right, I feel like it's worth pointing out that Fanatic is not awarded in real-time.
    – Pops
    Commented Jun 6, 2010 at 9:10

3 Answers 3


I believe that everything is calculated based on UTC. All the times, for instance, are in UTC. The "day" for close votes begins at 0:00:00Z (UTC).

Ironically, I clicked the envelope icon to see why my rep had changed, and saw this:

all times are in UTC; the current time is 2010-03-14 02:34:41Z

  • ah, that's what I thought
    – matt
    Commented Mar 14, 2010 at 2:24
  • I have never noticed that when I clicked it. edit: oh I see why. The text color blends in too well with the background
    – matt
    Commented Mar 14, 2010 at 3:06

I asked a similar question on travel.se, which go migrated to this meta, which in turn got marked as being a duplicate of this question.

However I believe the accepted answer to this question is incorrect or there is a bug in the time calculation on se.

The following time notation made me asking my question on meta.travel.se Screen dump explaining time notation differences

It currently is 13:52 GMT/UTC, so 23 hours ago it would have been 14:52 GMT/UTC yesterday and not as indicated "Today".

I have seen more of these time glitches in the past.

  • 1
    "Today" on this context means actually "less than 24 hours ago". When it will be 24 hours, you'll see it changing to "yesterday". :) Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 14:00
  • Your question was closed as dupe of wrong source, should be this one instead. I'll flag to ask for this. Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 14:04

I just got a hat for posting something on new years day 2014. It is 13.00 dec 31st utc.

The timezone most be either australian or new zealand

enter image description here

  • 4
    the reason for this is explained here: Why are date-based hats awarded too early? "we over-awarded the hat so that people in Auckland / Tokyo / Shanghai / Vanuatu wouldn't have to wait until their midday to receive it..."
    – gnat
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 13:38

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