1. Introduction

Every user as well as administrator of the linux system very often needs to execute some programs on regular basis.

For example, an administrator may need to monitor a disk usage of a system. In this case a cron scheduler is very handy tool to achieve this. Let's say that root needs to execute /usr/local/sbin/ script every Sunday at 2:36AM he would edit his crontab file as shown on the figure below:

# crontab -e 

The format is simple, 6 fields separated with spaces or tabs. The rest of the line is the command, and it's parameters to be executed. The sixth field - user name (in blue) is used only in the system wide cron scheduler.linux cron

2. Cron job examples

Crontab Example 1: This crontab example runs updatedb command 35 minutes past every hour.

35 * * * * updatedb 

Crontab Example 2: This crontab example runs /usr/local/bin/ every 5 minutes (e.g. 0, 5, 10, 15, ...).

*/5 * * * * /usr/local/bin/ 

Crontab Example 3: This crontab example runs /usr/local/bin/ at 1:25 AM, 1:50 AM every Tuesday and on 15th of every month.

25,50 1 15 * 2 /usr/local/bin/ 

Crontab Example 4: This crontab example runs /usr/local/bin/ at 2:00 PM on 10th of March, June, September and December.

00 14 10 3,6,9,12 * /usr/local/bin/ 

Crontab Example 5: This crontab example runs '/usr/local/bin/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.' at 9.00 PM every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Note: Using names for the week day and months is extension in some versions of crontab.

00 21 * * Mon,Wed,Fri /usr/local/bin/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Crontab Example 6: This crontab example runs /usr/local/bin/ every 5 minutes during the 5 working days (Monday - Friday), every week and month.

*/5 * * * 1-5 /usr/local/bin/ 

Crontab Example 7: This crontab example runs /usr/local/bin/ every minute during the 4-th hour only in Sunday, every week and month. This is every minute from 0:00 till 0:59, then from 4:00 till 4:59, etc.

* */4 * * sun /usr/local/bin/ 

3. System wide cron scheduler

As a Linux administrator you can also use predefined cron directories:

/etc/cron.d /etc/cron.daily /etc/cron.hourly /etc/cron.monthly /etc/cron.weekly 

If root wishes to run script once a week he will place script into /etc/cron.weekly directory.

4. Cron Scheduler on user level

Every user can edit, view or remove his own crontab file. If the root user needs to change someone else's crontab file he must add '-u' option to specify the user name. To edit crontab file for user foobar we can use command:

# crontab -u foobar -e 

Remove foobar's crontab file:

# crontab -u foobar -r 

To view foobar's crontab content:

# crontab -u foobar -l 

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