Automating tasks with Cron jobs

Hello, everyone we are back again and this time with a handy tutorial on how to schedule tasks with Cron jobs

What are Cron jobs?

Cron is utility software used for automating tasks on a server system.  “Cron” stands for chronological, jobs which are supposed to run at a particular time. So using a Cron job you could specify to run a script or a command at a specific time on a specific day, week and month.

Syntax to specify a Cron job:

To specify a Cron job, you have to specify the exact time at which you want the command to run. Here is the syntax you need to use to specify a job.

  1. The number of minutes after the hour (0 – 59)
  2. The hour in military time (0 – 23)
  3. The day of the month (1 – 31)
  4. The month (1 – 12)
  5. The day of the week (0 – 7)


The Asterisk (*) Symbol:

As can be seen in the image above each asterisk symbol is a field and has a meaning, like the first “asterisk” is for the time in minutes. If you don’t want to specify a value for a field you can leave the Asterisk symbol there (*).

Example: If you want to specify a job that needs to run every month, then leave * in the fourth position that is the month field.

Here are a few examples with description to specify a job:

  1. 00  16  *  *  5  date

        The “date” command will run at 4:00 PM in the afternoon every “Friday” of every “Month”

     2. 30  16  *  12  5  date

        The “date” command will run at 4:30 PM in the afternoon every “Friday” in December

     3. 00  16  10  12  *  date

        The “date” command will run at 4:00 PM in the afternoon on the 10th of December.

     4. 00  16  10  12  5  date

         The “date” command will run at 4:00 PM in the afternoon if the 10th day was a Friday in       December.

With that cleared out, we can move on to the next segment of the article.

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