Crontab Path and User

How to get CRON to call in the correct PATHs

I used /etc/crontab. I used vi and entered in the PATHs I needed into this file and ran it as root. The normal crontab overwrites PATHs that you have set up. A good tutorial on how to do this.

The systemwide cron file looks like this:

This has the username field, as used by /etc/crontab.
# /etc/crontab: system-wide crontab
# Unlike any other crontab you don't have to run the `crontab'
# command to install the new version when you edit this file.
# This file also has a username field, that none of the other crontabs do.


# m h dom mon dow user command
42 6 * * * root run-parts --report /etc/cron.daily
47 6 * * 7 root run-parts --report /etc/cron.weekly
52 6 1 * * root run-parts --report /etc/cron.monthly
01 01 * * 1-5 root python /path/to/

Where is user's cron job stored after crontab -e?

It is stored in the directory:


Containing one file per user.

From man crontab (at least on my Ubuntu 13):

There is one file for each user's crontab under the
/var/spool/cron/crontabs directory. Users are not allowed to edit the
files under that directory directly to ensure that only users allowed
by the system to run periodic tasks can add them, and only
syntactically correct crontabs will be written there. This is
enforced by having the directory writable only by the crontab group
and configuring crontab command with the setgid bid set for that
specific group.

how to set path for crontab in ubuntu

Always use absolute paths when adding cronjobs:

24 20 09 11 * /usr/bin/python3 /bin/

Where can I set environment variables that crontab will use?

Have 'cron' run a shell script that sets the environment before running the command.


#   @(#)$Id: crontab,v 4.2 2007/09/17 02:41:00 jleffler Exp $
# Crontab file for Home Directory for Jonathan Leffler (JL)
#Min Hour Day Month Weekday Command
0 * * * * /usr/bin/ksh /work1/jleffler/bin/Cron/hourly
1 1 * * * /usr/bin/ksh /work1/jleffler/bin/Cron/daily
23 1 * * 1-5 /usr/bin/ksh /work1/jleffler/bin/Cron/weekday
2 3 * * 0 /usr/bin/ksh /work1/jleffler/bin/Cron/weekly
21 3 1 * * /usr/bin/ksh /work1/jleffler/bin/Cron/monthly

The scripts in ~/bin/Cron are all links to a single script, 'runcron', which looks like:

:       "$Id:,v 2.1 2001/02/27 00:53:22 jleffler Exp $"
# Commands to be performed by Cron (no debugging options)

# Set environment -- not done by cron (usually switches HOME)
. $HOME/.cronfile

base=`basename $0`

if [ ! -x $cmd ]
then cmd=${HOME}/bin/$base

exec $cmd ${@:+"$@"}

(Written using an older coding standard - nowadays, I'd use a shebang '#!' at the start.)

The '~/.cronfile' is a variation on my profile for use by cron - rigorously non-interactive and no echoing for the sake of being noisy. You could arrange to execute the .profile and so on instead. (The REAL_HOME stuff is an artefact of my environment - you can pretend it is the same as $HOME.)

So, this code reads the appropriate environment and then executes the non-Cron version of the command from my home directory. So, for example, my 'weekday' command looks like:

:       "@(#)$Id:,v 1.10 2007/09/17 02:42:03 jleffler Exp $"
# Commands to be done each weekday

# Update ICSCOPE

The 'daily' command is simpler:

:       "@(#)$Id:,v 1.5 1997/06/02 22:04:21 johnl Exp $"
# Commands to be done daily

# Nothing -- most things are done on weekdays only

exit 0

Using Relative Paths in Crontab

After many trials and research, I discovered that the solution was using the HOME= variable, not the PATH= variable, like so:


And then each of the lines would just look like:

*/2 * * * * root /usr/bin/php cronfile.php >> logs/cronfile_`date +\%Y\%m\%d`.log

Hope this helps someone else with the same issue I had in the future.

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