Crontab basics

cron is a unix, solaris utility that allows tasks to be automatically run in the background at regular intervals by the cron daemon. These tasks are often termed as cron jobs in unix , solaris.
Crontab (CRON TABle) is a file which contains the schedule of cron entries to be run and at specified times.


Crontab syntax


A crontab file has five fields for specifying day , date and time  followed by the command to be run at that interval.

*     *   *   *    *  command to be executed
–     –    –    –    –
|     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     +—– day of week (0 – 6) (Sunday=0)
|     |     |     +——- month (1 – 12)
|     |     +——— day of month (1 – 31)
|     +———– hour (0 – 23)
+————- min (0 – 59)

* in the value field above means all legal values as in braces for that column.
The value column can have a * or a list of elements separated by commas. An element is either a number in the ranges shown above or two numbers in the range separated by a hyphen (meaning an inclusive range).

Crontab Example

min      hour      day/month      month      day/week       Execution time
30     0     1     1,6,12     *     — 00:30 Hrs  on 1st of Jan, June & Dec.

0     20     *     10     1-5     –8.00 PM every weekday (Mon-Fri) only in Oct.

0     0     1,10,15     *     *     — midnight on 1st ,10th & 15th of month

5,10     0     10     *     1     — At 12.05,12.10 every Monday & on 10th of every month


By default cron jobs sends a email to the user account executing the cronjob. If this is not needed put the following command At the end of the cron job line .

>/dev/null 2>&1


To collect the cron execution execution log in a file :

30 18  *    *   *    rm /home/someuser/tmp/* > /home/someuser/cronlogs/clean_tmp_dir.log

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