What is Cron and How Does it Work?

Cron is a system utility that is based on Linux operations to schedule activity on jobs to be carried out at time intervals. This is used to automate repetitive task on your website like update database, fix dates, send out emails or even advanced actions like cleaning logs etc. The name Cron comes from the Greek word for time, chronos.

Cron jobs can be set to run by the minute, hour, day of the week, day of the month, month or any combination of these. GigaLayer limits cron jobs on shared servers to run in increments of no less than every 15 minutes since excessive cron jobs can cause unnecessary loads on the server.

Before Using a Cron Job

Warning: It is important that you familiarize yourself with how cron jobs work. You need to have a working knowledge of Linux commands before you can use cron jobs effectively. For most cron jobs, there are three components required.

  • The script that is to be called or executed
  • The command that executes the script on a reccurring basis (typically set in the cPanel)
  • The action or output of the script (which depends on what the script being called does)

Most scripts that require the use of a cron job will give you specific instructions on what needs to be set up. If you are unsure, check your script or contact your vendor before adding a cron job. You can talk to our support desk for assistance when you need to use Cron Jobs.

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