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We have a lot of users who register at the very last minute. Often, when they try to register for an event on the day of the event, but before the event has started, CiviCRM tells them registration is closed.

I'm surprised that by default registration closes for an event before the event starts. Surely the default is that you can register for an event right up to the configured start time?

I was wondering if this might be due to a time zone issue on the server. Is there a right way to set the date on the server side? It is currently 6:40 pm Pacific where our organization is. If I do a date command on our server, I get: Tue Jan 11 02:40:02 UTC 2022.

I don't see anywhere in CiviCRM administration screens that I can see what it thinks the current date/time is. Is there such a place?

If I look in Drupal's status report, I see this: The timezone has been set to America/Vancouver. and if I go to Drupal's /admin/config/regional/settings configuration I do see that it says the current date and time in our office's location. And if I look at Drupal recent log messages, it lists a log message with a date/time within 1 minute of the current time.

So that all indicates to me that Drupal (and I presume Civi) knows the correct date & time at our office.

So then why can't a user register for an event on the day of the event but an hour or two before it has started?

(I know I can fix this by just setting the "Registration End Date" field in the Online Registration tab to the day after the event starts, for example, but this is annoying to have to set for every event, I often forget to set it right, and it just "feels wrong" that this should be happening.)

Thank you!

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    I am surprised to hear that is the default have Registration Start/End Date fields, which are not auto-filled, therefore my expectation is that without values in there, registration will be available up to the start time of the event, but if these are used, then presumably the Time field needs data to correct timing. unless this is an issue of folk in different timezones have different experiences?
    – petednz - fuzion
    Jan 11, 2022 at 3:10
  • Yea, we don't ever have the Registration Start/End date fields filled in. A few times folks have done it and then I seem to remember it being difficult to remove it. So we would just set it for the next day and then go in and change it once registration should actually be closed. Jan 11, 2022 at 4:51

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Judging from this issue: https://lab.civicrm.org/dev/core/-/issues/2122#note_68300 I think you are correct that it's a timezone issue.

Specifically, date/times in civievent do not include timezones (an old design flaw!), so many calculations involving date/times will use an implicit timezone from mysql or php (both of which can be confusingly different from each other and the 'server' timezone).

You could try fixing it with a configuration in your mysql ini file to set a timezone, but that might generate new confusion.

What you're seeing in Drupal where it "knows" your timezone adds an extra layer of confusion, TBH ...

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