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linux – Execute PHP script in cron job

Posted by: admin April 23, 2020 Leave a comment


In our centos6 server. I would like to execute a php script in cron job as apache user but unfortunately it does not work.

here is the edition of crontab (crontab -uapache -e)

24 17 * * * php /opt/test.php

and here is the source code of “test.php” file which works fine with “apache” user as owner.

<?php exec( 'touch /opt/test/test.txt');?>

I try to replace php with full path of php (/usr/local/php/bin/php) but also it doesn’t work

Thanks in advance,
Please Help me

How to&Answers:

Automated Tasks: Cron

Cron is a time-based scheduling service in Linux / Unix-like computer operating systems. Cron job are used to schedule commands to be executed periodically.
You can setup commands or scripts, which will repeatedly run at a set time. Cron is one of the most useful tool in Linux or UNIX like operating systems. The cron service (daemon) runs in the background and constantly checks the /etc/crontab file, /etc/cron./* directories. It also checks the /var/spool/cron/ directory.

Configuring Cron Tasks

In the following example, the crontab command shown below will activate the cron tasks automatically every ten minutes:

*/10 * * * * /usr/bin/php /opt/test.php

In the above sample, the */10 * * * * represents when the task should happen. The first figure represents minutes – in this case, on every “ten” minute. The other figures represent, respectively, hour, day, month and day of the week.

* is a wildcard, meaning “every time”.

Start with finding out your PHP binary by typing in command line:

whereis php

The output should be something like:

php: /usr/bin/php /etc/php.ini /etc/php.d /usr/lib64/php /usr/include/php /usr/share/php /usr/share/man/man1/php.1.gz

Specify correctly the full path in your command.

Type the following command to enter cronjob:

crontab -e

To see what you got in crontab.


To exit from vim editor without saving just click:


And then type q!


I had the same problem… I had to run it as a user.

00 * * * * root /usr/bin/php /var/virtual/hostname.nz/public_html/cronjob.php


You may need to run the cron job as a user with permissions to execute the PHP script. Try executing the cron job as root, using the command runuser (man runuser). Or create a system crontable and run the PHP script as an authorized user, as @Philip described.

I provide a detailed answer how to use cron in this stackoverflow post.

How to write a cron that will run a script every day at midnight?