I want to verify that my cron job is executing and at what time. I believe there is a log for my sudo crontab -e jobs, but where?

I searched google and found recommendations to look in /var/log (in which I do not see anything with 'cron' in the name) and to edit the file /etc/syslog.conf which I also do not have.

On a default installation the cron jobs get logged to

/var/log/syslog

You can see just cron jobs in that logfile by running

 grep CRON /var/log/syslog

If you haven't reconfigured anything,the entries will be in there.

  • 33
    If there is no MTA installed, cron just throws the job output away. – Barry Kelly Nov 18 '13 at 23:19
  • 6
    The cron log may be in another file in the /var/log/ directory. Check for cron.log or equivalent. – Navigatron Jan 31 '14 at 10:21
  • 4
    this doesn't give me output from the job. it just gives a generic message that the cron was processed. – chovy Dec 12 '15 at 0:34
  • 2
    on AWS it was /var/log/cron – tsukimi Feb 4 '17 at 1:23
  • 4
    @shadi you could also grep -i CRON to search case-insensitive – nafg Apr 24 '17 at 2:08

You can create a cron.log file to contain just the CRON entries that show up in syslog. Note that CRON jobs will still show up in syslog if you follow the following directions.

Open the file

/etc/rsyslog.d/50-default.conf

Find the line that starts with:

#cron.*

uncomment that line, save the file, and restart rsyslog:

sudo service rsyslog restart

You should now see a cron log file here:

/var/log/cron.log

Cron activity will now be logged to this file (in addition to syslog).

Note that in cron.log you will see entries for when cron ran scripts in /etc/cron.hourly, cron.daily, etc. - e.g. something like:

Apr 12 14:17:01 cd CRON[14368]: (root) CMD (   cd / && run-parts --report /etc/cron.hourly)

However, you will not see more information about what scripts were actually ran inside /etc/cron.daily or /etc/cron.hourly, unless those scripts direct output to the cron.log (or perhaps to some other log file).

If you want to verify if a crontab is running and not have to search for it in cron.log or syslog, create a crontab that redirects output to a log file of your choice - something like:

01 14 * * * /home/joe/myscript >> /home/log/myscript.log 2>&1

This will redirect all standard output and errors that may be produced by the script that is run to the log file specified.

  • 1
    With my opinion, this answer is better in future. So your syslog file is more clear. – shgnInc Dec 22 '13 at 8:36
  • 9
    To also exclude the cron log from syslog you can change the line *.*;auth,authpriv.none -/var/log/syslog to *.*;auth,authpriv.none,cron.none -/var/log/syslog. – Koen. Feb 13 '14 at 11:35
  • On our CentOS 6, cron.* defined in /etc/rsyslog.conf, whereas i's empty in rsyslog.d folder. – Scott Chu Sep 17 '14 at 3:35
  • what is 2>&1 stand for ? – John Joe Mar 21 '17 at 2:41
  • 1
    @JohnJoe 2>&1 is used to forward stderr to stdout, this way you'll also get stderr to log file. – Sampo Sarrala Jul 25 '17 at 12:38

Sometimes it can be useful to continuously monitor it, in that case:

tail -f /var/log/syslog | grep CRON
  • 8
    Well, you probably want to use -F, which will follow the file across name changes, so that when it gets truncated/moved to, e.g. /var/log/syslog.1.gz, you're still following the current /var/log/syslog file. Per the man docs, this is the same as running tail xxxx -f --retry – Momer Dec 17 '14 at 22:24

You can also direct the output of the individual cronjobs to their own logs for better readability, you will just need to append the output of date somewhere.

 0 15 * * *    /home/andrew/daily-backup.sh >> /var/log/daily-backup.log 2>&1
  • 4
    true, but if this line fails to run due to syntax error, nothing will be written in the output log specified. – Raptor Jul 24 '15 at 2:37
  • 9
    You can solve this by appending 2>&1 after the log file is specified. It is also best practice to test your cronjobs before adding them to the crontab, and then being present for the first scheduled run to ensure that the crontab is properly formatted. – Andrew Meyer Jul 24 '15 at 16:04

This is a very old question, but none of these answers seem satisfactory.

First make your cron job run every minute, then run cron as non-daemon (temporarily, just kill any crond that may have already started) with test logging:

crond -nx test

And see the log of your program execution flowing through your terminal.

  • 5
    Does not run on 14.04 - No command 'crond' found, did you mean: Command 'cron' from package 'cron' (main) – G-. Jul 6 '17 at 9:40

It is in /var/log/syslog by default.

But it can be set up to create a separate cron.log, which is more useful.

This Q&A describes the process:

16.04: How do I make cron create cron.log and monitor it in real time?

Also in this answer is the instructions to create a wcron command that displays it is near-real-time. Plus, it links to another answer,

How to change cron log level?

that shows how to change the log level to include more than just the start of jobs - level 15 will show errors and end time, also.

You could redirect the output of cron to a tmp file

Such as: 00 11 07 * * /bin/bash /home/ubuntu/command.sh > /tmp/output 2>&1

Error and normal output, both will be redirected to the same file

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.