PHP Cron Job Examples and Libraries

Cron is a time-based job scheduler in Unix-like operating systems, they can execute a group of tasks automatically such as backing database, sending emails at certain times in the future.

Prepare a cron job to run PHP script

A cron job is is a scheduled job, listed in a crontab file. It will be run by Cron when it’s due. Here is the format to add a task to crontab:

* * * * * /path/to/php /path/to/php_script.php
//examples
* * * * * /usr/bin/php -f /usr/local/bin/run.php &> /dev/null
* * * * * /usr/local/bin/php /home/john/myscript.php

The first 5 asterisks indicates the time or period a cron job will be executed.

  • min (0 – 59)
  • hour (0 – 23)
  • day of month (1 – 31)
  • month (1 – 12)
  • day of week (0 – 6) (0 to 6 are Sunday to Saturday, or use names; 7 is Sunday, the same as 0)

These time parameter use server’s timezone.

Run hourly

#hourly
0 * * * *
#run hourly at fifteen past the hour
15 * * * *
#run hourly at 0,15,30,45 minutes past the hour
0,15,30,45 * * * *

Run daily

#daily at midnight
0 0 * * *
#daily at 6pm
0 18 * * *
#daily at 3:30, 6:30, 9:30
30 3,6,9 * * *

Run weekly

#every Thursday at 6:15am
15 6 * * 3
#every Sunday and Monday at midnight
0 0 * * 0,1

Run monthly

#monthly
0 0 1 * *
#every month on the 5th at midnight
0 0 5 * *

Run every X minutes / every X hours

#every 5 minutes
*/5 * * * *
#every 2 hours on the hour
0 */2 * * *
#every 6 hours at half past the hour
30 */6 * * *
#at 2:20am, 6:20am, 10:20pm and 2:20pm
20 2,6,10,14 * * *

PHP Cron Job Libraries

  • jobby – This is a PHP package to manage all of your cron jobs without modifying crontab. It can handle locking, logging, error emails, and more.
  • cron – Cron is a cron job scheduler for Laravel, it can can be used for easily performing cron jobs from the internet or from the local machine.
  • php-cron-scheduler – This is a framework agnostic cron jobs scheduler that can be easily integrated with your project or run as a standalone command scheduler.

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