In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to schedule regular email reminders using a cron job. This is a powerful functionality that can automate repetitive tasks, such as sending out regular email reminders to a group of people.
Yes, it is possible to schedule regular email reminders using a cron job. By setting up a cron job with the appropriate schedule and specifying a script that sends the email reminders, you can automate the process of sending regular reminders to a group of people.
Understanding Cron Jobs
A cron job is a time-based job scheduler in Unix-like operating systems. Users can schedule jobs (commands or scripts) to run periodically at fixed times, dates, or intervals. The name “cron” comes from the Greek word for time, “chronos”.
Before we begin, ensure that you have the ability to send emails from the terminal. If you’re unsure how to do this, you can refer to this post for instructions.
Step 1: Open the Crontab File
Start by opening the crontab entries using the
crontab -e command. This command opens the crontab file where we will specify the details of the cron job.
Step 2: Add a New Cron Job
In the crontab file, add the following line:
0 0 * * 1,3,5 $HOME/scripts/send_email.sh >> $HOME/tmp/out 2>&1
Here’s what each part of this line means:
0 0 * * 1,3,5specifies the schedule of the cron job. This particular pattern means the cron job will run at midnight (0 0) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (1,3,5).
$HOME/scripts/send_email.shis the path to the script that the cron job will execute. In this case, we’re pointing to a script named
scriptsdirectory of the current user’s home directory.
>> $HOME/tmp/out 2>&1redirects the output of the cron job to a log file. This is useful for troubleshooting if something goes wrong.
Step 3: Create the Email Script
Next, create the
send_email.sh script with the following content:
#!/bin/bash recipients="email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com" subject="...Subject..." cat $HOME/email_message | mail -s $subject $recipients
In this script:
recipientsis a variable that holds the email addresses of the people you want to send the email to. Replace
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org the actual email addresses.
subjectis a variable that holds the subject of the email. Replace
...Subject...with your desired subject.
cat $HOME/email_message | mail -s $subject $recipientsis the command that sends the email. It reads the message from the file
$HOME/email_messageand sends it to the recipients with the specified subject.
Step 4: Grant Execute Access to the Script
Finally, grant execute access to the script by running the following command:
chmod +x $HOME/scripts/send_email.sh
This command changes the permissions of the
send_email.sh file to allow it to be executed.
And that’s it! You’ve now set up a cron job to send regular email reminders. Remember to replace the email addresses, subject, and email message with your own values.
If you encounter any issues, you can check the log file at
$HOME/tmp/out for any error messages. And if the method above doesn’t work for you, an alternative solution is to use the
sendEmail tool. You can find more information about it here.
A cron job is a time-based job scheduler in Unix-like operating systems. It allows users to schedule jobs (commands or scripts) to run periodically at fixed times, dates, or intervals.
You can send emails from the terminal by following the instructions in this post. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to send emails using various methods.
To open the crontab file, use the command
crontab -e in the terminal. This command opens the crontab entries where you can specify the details of the cron job.
0 0 * * 1,3,5 means that the cron job will run at midnight (0 0) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (1,3,5).
To redirect the output of a cron job to a log file, use the
>> operator followed by the path to the log file. For example,
>> $HOME/tmp/out redirects the output to a log file located at
2>&1 part redirects both standard output and standard error to the log file.