Linux cron command

The cron command in Linux is used to schedule and automate the execution of tasks or commands at specific time intervals. It is commonly used for scheduling recurring tasks, such as backups, system maintenance, or running scripts at predefined times.

Here’s an overview of how to use the cron command:

  1. Accessing the Cron Configuration:
    The cron command utilizes the system’s cron daemon to schedule and execute tasks. To access the cron configuration, use the following command:
   crontab -e

This command opens the cron configuration file for editing. Each user has their own cron configuration file.

  1. Defining a Cron Job:
    Within the cron configuration file, you can define cron jobs using a specific syntax. The general format of a cron job entry is as follows:
   * * * * * command_to_be_executed

Each field represents a time or frequency unit, and the command_to_be_executed specifies the task or command to run. Here’s a breakdown of the time units:

  • Minute (0-59)
  • Hour (0-23)
  • Day of the month (1-31)
  • Month (1-12)
  • Day of the week (0-6, where 0 represents Sunday)
  1. Scheduling Cron Jobs:
    You can schedule cron jobs based on specific time or frequency requirements. Here are some examples:
  • Run a command every day at 2:30 PM: 30 14 * * * command_to_be_executed
  • Run a script every Monday at 9:00 AM: 0 9 * * 1 command_to_be_executed
  • Run a script every 15 minutes:
    */15 * * * * command_to_be_executed
  1. Saving and Exiting:
    After defining your cron jobs, save the file and exit the editor. The cron daemon will automatically pick up the changes.
  2. Listing Cron Jobs:
    To view the list of cron jobs associated with your user, use the following command:
   crontab -l

This command lists all the cron jobs defined in your cron configuration file.

  1. Managing Cron Jobs:
    You can edit or remove cron jobs using the crontab command. Here are some useful options:
  • Edit the cron configuration:
    crontab -e
  • Remove all cron jobs:
    crontab -r
  • Edit another user’s cron configuration (requires root privileges):
    sudo crontab -u username -e
  1. Examples:
  • Schedule a backup script to run every day at 3:00 AM: 0 3 * * * /path/to/
  • Run a system cleanup script every Sunday at 12:00 PM: 0 12 * * 0 /path/to/
  • Run a command every hour: 0 * * * * command_to_be_executed
  • Run a command every 5 minutes:
    */5 * * * * command_to_be_executed

The cron command is a powerful tool for automating repetitive tasks in Linux. It allows you to schedule commands or scripts to run at specific intervals, providing convenience and efficiency in managing recurring tasks.

Note: The cron configuration file and behavior may vary slightly depending on the Linux distribution and version you are using. It is recommended to consult