How do I add jobs to cron under Linux or UNIX oses?

Cron job are used to schedule commands to be executed periodically i.e. to setup commands which will repeatedly run at a set time, you can use the cron jobs.

crontab is the command used to install, deinstall or list the tables used to drive the cron daemon in Vixie Cron. Each user can have their own crontab, and though these are files in /var/spool/cron/crontabs, they are not intended to be edited directly. You need to use crontab command for editing or setting up your own cron jobs.

To edit your crontab file, type the following command:
$ crontab -e

Syntax of crontab

Your cron job looks like as follows:
1 2 3 4 5 /path/to/command arg1 arg2

Where,

  • 1: Minute (0-59)
  • 2: Hours (0-23)
  • 3: Day (0-31)
  • 4: Month (0-12 [12 == December])
  • 5: Day of the week(0-7 [7 or 0 == sunday])
  • /path/to/command – Script or command name to schedule

Same above five fields structure can be easily remembered with following diagram:

* * * * * command to be executed - - - - - | | | | | | | | | ----- Day of week (0 - 7) (Sunday=0 or 7) | | | ------- Month (1 - 12) | | --------- Day of month (1 - 31) | ----------- Hour (0 - 23) ------------- Minute (0 - 59)

Example(s)
If you wished to have a script named /root/backup.sh run every day at 3am, my crontab entry would look like as follows:
(a) Install your cronjob:# crontab -e(b)Append following entry:0 3 * * * /root/backup.shRun five minutes after midnight, every day:5 0 * * * /path/to/commandRun at 2:15pm on the first of every month:15 14 1 * * /path/to/commandRun at 10 pm on weekdays: 0 22 * * 1-5 /path/to/command Run 23 minutes after midnigbt, 2am, 4am …, everyday:23 0-23/2 * * * /path/to/commandRun at 5 after 4 every sunday:5 4 * * sun /path/to/command

Use of operators

An operator allows you to specifying multiple values in a field. There are three operators:

  1. The asterisk (*) : This operator specifies all possible values for a field. For example, an asterisk in the hour time field would be equivalent to every hour or an asterisk in the month field would be equivalent to every month.
  2. The comma (,) : This operator specifies a list of values, for example: “1,5,10,15,20, 25?.
  3. The dash (-) : This operator specifies a range of values, for example: “5-15? days , which is equivalent to typing “5,6,7,8,9,…,13,14,15? using the comma operator.

How do I disabling Email output?

By default the output of a command or a script (if any produced), will be email to your local email account. To stop receiving email output from crontab you need to append >/dev/null 2>&1. For example:0 3 * * * /root/backup.sh >/dev/null 2>&1To mail output to particluer email account let us say vivek@nixcraft.in you need to define MAILTO variable to your cron job:MAILTO="vivek@nixcraft.in"
0 3 * * * /root/backup.sh >/dev/null 2>&1

Task:To list your crontab jobs use the command

Type the following command:# crontab -l To remove or erase all crontab jobs use the command:# crontab -e

Example Command

For example: To run a command at 5 past the hour every second hour, every day except Sunday:5 */2 * * 1-6 <command>Crontrab every 5 minutes */5 * * * * /some/script

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