[Linux] Crontab every 5 minutes

Well, if you are searching How to set a cron job? or want to schedules to run a cron job every 5 minutes. Then proceed reading.
Here, I will show how to schedule a cron and run that every five minutes to execute some desired results.

To edit the crontab i use the following command:

$ crontab -e

To list my currnet crontab

$ crontab -l

The following is the format entries in a crontab must be. Note all lines starting with # are ignored, comments.

So in terminal print ‘Hello’ every 5 minutes..

   */5     *      *     *    *    echo 'Hello' 

MIN Minute 0-60
HOUR Hour [24-hour clock] 0-23
MDAY Day of Month 1-31
MON Month 1-12 OR jan,feb,mar,apr …
DOW Day of Week 0-6 OR
COMMAND Command to be run Any valid command-line


Here are a few examples, to see what some entries look like.

#Run command at 7:00am each weekday [mon-fri]
00 07 * * 1-5 mail_pager.script ‘Wake Up’

#Run command on 1st of each month, at 5:30pm
30 17 1 * * pay_rent.script

#Run command at 8:00am,10:00am and 2:00pm every day
00 8,10,14 * * * do_something.script

#Run command every 5 minutes during market hours
*/5 6-13 * * mon-fri get_stock_quote.script

#Run command every 3-hours while awake
0 7-23/3 * * * drink_water.script

Special Characters in Crontab

You can use an


in any category to mean for every item, such as every day or every month.

You can use commas in any category to specify multiple values. For example: mon,wed,fri

You can use dashes to specify ranges. For example: mon-fri, or 9-17

You can use forward slash to specify a repeating range. For example: */5 for every five minutes, hours, days
Special Entries

There are several special entries, some which are just shortcuts, that you can use instead of specifying the full cron entry.

The most useful of these is probably @reboot which allows you to run a command each time the computer gets reboot. This could be useful if you want to start up a server or daemon under a particular user, or if you do not have access to the rc.d/init.d files.

Example Usage:

# restart freevo servers
@reboot freevo webserver start
@reboot freevo recordserver start

The complete list:

Entry Description Equivalent To
@reboot Run once, at startup. None
@yearly Run once a year 0 0 1 1 *
@annually (same as @yearly) 0 0 1 1 *
@monthly Run once a month 0 0 1 * *
@weekly Run once a week 0 0 * * 0
@daily Run once a day 0 0 * * *
@midnight (same as @daily) 0 0 * * *
@hourly Run once an hour 0 * * * *

Miscelleanous Issues

Script Output
If there is any output from your script or command it will be sent to that user’s e-mail account, on that box. Using the default mailer which must be setup properly.

You can set the variable MAILTO in the crontab to specify a separate e-mail address to use. For example:

Redirect Output to /dev/null
You can redirect the output from a cron script to /dev/null which just throws it away. By redirecting to /dev/null you will not receive anything from the script, even if it is throwing errors.
* * * * * /script/every_minute.pl > /dev/null 2>&1

Missed Schedule Time
Cron does not run a command if it was missed. Your computer must be running for cron to run the job at the time it is scheduled. For example, if you have a 1:00am scheduled job and your computer was off at that time, it will not run the missed job in the morning when you turn it on.

Related Links
[mkaz.com] At Command Mac OS X and eBay – at is similar to cron but for one time jobs, not reoccuring


About Tanveer
RIA (Rich Internet Application) Developer with a wide variety of business applications. Particularly interested in client/server and relational database design. Always interested in migration projects, as well as close interaction with the DB manufacturers.

50 Responses to [Linux] Crontab every 5 minutes

  1. Pingback: Jonathon Hill » Excellent cron tutorial

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial … 😉

  3. Tanveer says:

    hi jarabelo,
    you welcome..
    btw, thanks for visiting my weblog… 😉

  4. Ravi says:

    Nice tutorial

  5. Tanveer says:

    Thanks Ravi 🙂

  6. Vijay pal says:

    Nice stuff !!!!!!Really helpful

  7. Pingback: 2010 in review « Tanveer's Weblog

  8. aim says:

    Thank you Tanveer. Good stuff.

  9. somsuksri says:

    Can i use 00,05,10,15,20,25,30,35,40,45,50,55 * * * * for every 5 minute

  10. sabrina says:

    how to redirect the output to a file we want to keep/view later?

    • Tanveer says:

      If I understand it correctly, you want to create a output file every time the job is run, so in crontab you use “>” as

      * * * * /home/myhome/some_cron_job.sh > /home/myhome/cron_job_output

      Now, within some_cron_job.sh, you use “>>” to append to the output file

      (within shell script)
      echo “Testing” >> /home/myhome/cron_job_output

  11. Gowtham says:

    I am a newbie to UNIX.
    I want to schedule a cron job for every 30 mins between 9:30 AM to 9:30 PM.
    I Tried the following options , but it is incorrect, all starts at 9 am.
    a) */30 9-21 * * *
    b) 30,00 9-21 * * *

    I want it to start cron at 9:30 am and run every 30 mins thereafter till 9:30 PM.

    Could you help with that ?

  12. manjrem says:

    i want to run a script every 5 mins between 9:30 am to 5:30 am … any clue?

    • Tanveer says:


      Thanks for visiting my blog.

      Please read the article again. For every 5 minis you may need to use (*)/5 and range in hours like 9-17 or as per required. You can try something like:

      */5 9-17 * * * your_command

      • manjrem says:

        hi, thanks for your prompt reply.
        This entry would stop the cronjob at 17:55 but ineed it to end at 17:30
        Also, the script should run every five mins

      • manjrem says:

        Sorry for that typo . . . With the time but I believe you get essense of it

      • Tanveer says:

        hmm.. okay then you can try
        05,10,15,20,25,30,35,40,45,50,55 9-17 * * *

  13. tarun says:

    how to set cron on localhost server,give me step by step procedure on linux

    • Tanveer says:

      If you are using Ubuntu then you can proceed these steps
      Step 1: Go to terminal/console (or press Alt+Ctrl+t) then write
      Step 2: $ sudo crontab -l (it will show your existing cron jobs if you have any)
      Step 3: $ sudo crontab -e (it will open a section where you can write your cron job like; */5 * * * * echo ‘Hello’)
      Step 4: Save your file (if you opened it in vi editor then use Esc+:wq command to save)

      You will see this line:
      crontab: installing new crontab

      Hope these will work 🙂

  14. Mohamed says:

    Hi Every body, I am unsing Ubuntu. I am working in a University and we have 10 license for a program and I am trying to schedule running this program every 5 minutes. I did the following but it didn’t work so please help:

    sudo crontab -e

    then inside the editor I worte the following:

    */5 * * * * gridgen

    then Exit and save

    and I am wainting it to run the program but it didn’t work.
    Please help me

    Thank you so much

    • Tanveer says:


      Please make sure your program is executable file. For example, if it’s something like file.sh then your crontab command would be something like this:

      */5 * * * * sh file.sh

      Thanks for visiting my weblog.

      • Mohamed says:

        Thank you so much for your kindest respond. Yes my program is executable file. normally I write only gridgen in an open terminal and the program open. even if I tried the following example but nothing happend:

        */1 * * * * echo ‘Hallo’

        I expected that Hallo will be writen every 1 minute but nothing happend also.

        do you have an idea?

        Kindest regards
        Mohamed Sayed

      • Tanveer says:

        To see output, you either need to pipe the results to a file,

        */1 * * * * echo “hello” > /home/myuser/test.out

  15. Mohamed says:

    ok but this is to see the result. what about to run the program? it didn’t work. should I run crontab or should I save the crontab in a certain directory?

  16. Ankit Gupta says:

    Thank you Tanveer, very helpful
    if you have any IMP stuff kindly share

    • Tanveer says:

      Thanks for visiting my web log. At this moment I don’t have any IMP stuff. But I am considering your request. Will post on this soon. 🙂

  17. Eloise says:

    Hi i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i resad this paragraph
    i thought i could also make comment due to this
    sensible piece of writing.

  18. Matt N says:

    Any idea on how to run a command every 5 minutes, but NOT at 0, 5, 10, 15, etc.? Such as every 5 minutes starting at 2, 7, 12, 17, etc.?


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  20. Eric says:

    This is really good stuff!! Question – how would I output the contents of a MySQL script to an FTP site after putting it into a file?

    • Tanveer says:

      Let me understand what you are trying to do. You need a cron job that will dump mysql database first and then upload that output file to your FTP server.

      If that so then you may need to write a bash script or any other script (i.e:php) and then the cron will run the script which will dump the database and then send it to your FTP using your user credentials.

      Hope this idea gonna help you to figure out your requirements.

      Thanks for visting my site.

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  26. Lekhulal says:

    How to set cron on localhost server for reboot my system automatically on every day at 5am. Can you help me please?

    • Tanveer says:

      Extremly sorry for my late replay. Just saw your comment. My apologies.

      For example you have a script that can reboot the system
      0 5 * * * path/of/your/script

  27. boris b says:

    This is nice article!
    But what if you want make your cron run every few seconds?

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