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8th April 2018

crontab entry format


The format of the "crontab" file

For some reason, many people (myself included) find it very hard to remember which column is which in the crontab file.

The columns are, in order:

10-59Minute(s) past the hour
20-23Hour(s) of the day
31-31Day(s) of the Month
41-12Month(s) of the year
50-7 or Sun-SatDay(s) of the Week

You can provide multiple values in one line. This can be a list of discrete values seperated by commas (such as 0,15,30,45 to specify every 15 minutes) or a range (like Mon-Fri, which is the same as 1-5; see the "Days of the Week" table below).

Every 15 minutes between 9-5 on Monday to Friday

For example, this will run at 0,15,30 and 45 minutes past the hour, between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. The stars indicate any value, so this will run on any day of the month, and any month of the year, so long as the other criteria are also satisfied:

0,15,30,45 9-17 * * Mon-Fri /path/to/script

3am every Sunday morning

This will run every Sunday morning at 3am:

0 3 * * 0 /path/to/script

6am and 9pm every Weekday

This will run at 6am and 9pm every weekday:

0 6,9 * * 1-5 /path/to/script

Every Single Minute

The "five star" image below shows that cron will run the following job every minute. No, it's not really a review, it's a cron job:

* * * * * /path/to/script

Days of the Week

For the Day(s) of the Week, you can use 0-7 or Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, where:


Notice that Sunday can be 0 or 7.


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Steve Parker - Linux / DevOps Consultant
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