FreeKB - Linux Commands crontab (schedule reoccurring jobs)
Linux Commands - crontab (schedule reoccurring jobs)

Ensure the cron daemon in running

Before using cron, ensure the cron daemon is enabled and running. The ps command can be used to determine if your system is using init or systemd. If PID 1 is init, then you will use the service command. If PID 1 is systemd, then you will use the systemctl command.

If your system is using systemd, use the systemctl command to start and enable crond.

systemctl start crond
systemctl enable crond

 

If your system is using init, use the service command to start and enable crond.

service crond start
service crond enable

 

 

Viewing the cron table

The crontab -l (list) command can be used to view the entries in crontab. If the -u (user) option is not included, the current users cron table will be displayed.

crontab -l

 

Or the -u option can be used to display a certain users cron table.

crontab -l -u john.doe

 

Something like this could be returned.

00 01 * * * bash /etc/cron.daily/example.sh

 

If there are no crontab entries, the /var/spool/cron directory will be empty, or the /var/spool/cron/username file will be empty, and be 0 bytes.

ls -l /var/spool/cron

-rw-------. 1 root root    0 Aug  7 21:20 root

 

. On the other hand, if there are crontab entries, the /var/spool/cron/username file can be viewed to view each users cron table.

cat /var/spool/cron/root

00 01 * * * bash /etc/cron.daily/Example.sh

 


Creating a crontab job

The crontab command with the -e (edit) option can be used to edit the cron table. Each user has their own cron table. Editing the cron table as root will edit root's cron table. 

[root@server1 ~]# crontab -e

 

Editing the cron table as john.doe will edit John's cron table.

[john.doe@server1 ~]# crontab -e

 


Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Reboot

The @ symbol can be used to run a command or script once every hour, once every day, once every week, once every month, or when the server is restarted.

@hourly  bash /home/JohnDoe/scripts/Example.sh
@daily   bash /home/JohnDoe/scripts/Example.sh
@weekly  bash /home/JohnDoe/scripts/Example.sh
@monthly bash /home/JohnDoe/scripts/Example.sh
@reboot  bash /home/JohnDoe/scripts/Example.sh

 

The sleep option can be used to wait a while before running a script after reboot. In this example, Example.sh is run 1 minute after reboot.

@reboot sleep 60 && bash /home/JohnDoe/scripts/Example.sh

 


Specific date time

You can specify an exact date and time to run a command or script. The syntax of the lines in the cron table is: <minute> <hour> <day of the month> <month> <day of the week> <command or script to execute>. For example, to run Example.sh every day at 1:00 am:

00 01 * * * bash /home/JohnDoe/scripts/Example.sh

 

Or, to remove every file in the /tmp directory every day at 1:00 am.

00 01 * * * /bin/rm /tmp/*

 

The first 5 fields of crontab are:

  • minute (0-59)
  • hour (0-23)
  • day of the month (1-31)
  • month (1-12)
  • day of the week (0-7)
    • 0 = Sunday
    • 1 = Monday
    • 2 = Tuesday
    • 3 = Wednesday
    • 4 = Thursday
    • 5 = Friday
    • 6 = Saturday
    • 7 = Sunday

 


Ranges

Each field can accept a range. For example, to run Example.sh at 1:00 am, Monday through Friday:

00 01 * * 1-5 bash /etc/cron.daily/Example.sh

 


Comma separated lists

Fields can also accept a comma separated list. For example, to run Example.sh at 1:00 am on Saturday and Sunday:

00 01 * * 6,7 bash /etc/cron.daily/Example.sh

 


Once every x minutes

All astericks can be used to run a cron job once every minute.

* * * * * bash /etc/cron.daily/Example.sh

 

Or, in this example, Example.sh will be run once every 15 minutes.

*/15 * * * * bash /etc/cron.daily/Example.sh

 

Or, in this example, Example.sh will be run once every 15 minutes as long as minute is 2-59. In other words, Example.sh will not run at 00 or 01 minutes.

2-59/15 * * * * bash /etc/cron.daily/Example.sh

 


Variables

Variables can be defined in the cron table. In this example, the FOO variable contains a value of bar. In this example, bar would be appended to out.txt once every minute.

FOO="bar"
* * * * * echo $FOO >> out.txt

 


Removing cron tables

The crontab -r (remove) command can be used to remove a users entire cron table. For example, to remove user1 cron table:

crontab -r

 


Cron log

Refer to Linux Files - cron log.



Add a Comment




We will never share your name or email with anyone. Enter your email if you would like to be notified when we respond to your comment.




Please enter 78ae3 in the box below so that we can be sure you are a human.




Comments

Web design by yours truely - me, myself, and I   |   jeremy.canfield@freekb.net   |