Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Set Timezone for Crontab

Ubuntu 11

In this article, we will provide a detailed guide on how to set the timezone for Crontab. Crontab is a powerful utility in Unix-like operating systems that allows users to schedule tasks to run at specific times. However, the default timezone setting for Crontab may not always be suitable for your needs. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand how to adjust this setting.

Quick Answer

To set the timezone for Crontab, you can edit the /etc/default/cron file and add the line TZ="UTC" (replace UTC with your desired timezone). Alternatively, you can use the timedatectl command to set the system timezone and then restart the cron service. If you’re using a newer version of cron, you can edit the cron service file and add the line Environment="TZ=UTC". You can also set the CRON_TZ environment variable in each crontab file to specify a different timezone for each cron job.

Understanding Timezones in Crontab

By default, Crontab uses the system’s timezone. However, there might be situations where you need your cron jobs to run based on a different timezone. This is where setting the timezone for Crontab comes into play.

Setting Timezone in /etc/default/cron

One of the simplest methods to change the timezone for Crontab is by editing the /etc/default/cron file.

sudo nano /etc/default/cron

This command opens the cron file in a text editor. Add the following line to the file:

TZ="UTC"

Here, TZ is the environment variable that holds the timezone value, and UTC is the timezone you want to set. You can replace UTC with any valid timezone value.

After adding this line, save and close the file. Then, restart the cron service to apply the changes:

sudo service cron restart

Using the timedatectl Command

The timedatectl command is a utility that allows you to change the system time and date. You can also use it to set the timezone for Crontab.

First, check the available timezones by running the following command:

timedatectl list-timezones

This command will display a list of all available timezones. Once you’ve identified the timezone you want to use, set it with the following command:

sudo timedatectl set-timezone <timezone>

Replace <timezone> with your desired timezone. After setting the timezone, restart the cron service to apply the changes:

sudo service cron restart

Editing the Cron Service File

If you’re using a newer version of cron, you can set the timezone by editing the cron service file.

First, open the file with the following command:

sudo systemctl edit cron.service

In the file, add the following line:

Environment="TZ=UTC"

Here, Environment is a directive that sets environment variables for executed processes. TZ=UTC sets the TZ environment variable to UTC.

After adding this line, save and close the file. Then, restart the cron service:

sudo service cron restart

Setting the CRON_TZ Environment Variable

You can also set the CRON_TZ environment variable in each crontab file. This allows you to specify a different timezone for each individual cron job.

To do this, add the following line at the beginning of your crontab file:

CRON_TZ=UTC

This line sets the CRON_TZ environment variable to UTC for all cron jobs in that file.

Conclusion

Setting the timezone for Crontab is a straightforward process once you understand the various methods available. Whether you choose to edit the /etc/default/cron file, use the timedatectl command, or set the CRON_TZ environment variable, you now have the knowledge to adjust the timezone for your cron jobs as needed. Remember to always restart the cron service after making any changes to ensure they are applied correctly.

Can I set a different timezone for each individual cron job?

Yes, you can set a different timezone for each individual cron job by setting the CRON_TZ environment variable in the specific crontab file. Simply add the line CRON_TZ=<timezone> at the beginning of the crontab file, replacing <timezone> with the desired timezone for that particular cron job.

How can I check the current timezone setting for Crontab?

To check the current timezone setting for Crontab, you can run the date command in the terminal. It will display the current date and time in the configured timezone.

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