I went to /var/log/cron but this file is empty.

How to check if crontab is enabled or is running properly or not in ubuntu



4 Answers 4


If you want to know if it's running you can do something like sudo systemctl status cron or ps aux | grep cron.

If you want to know if your cron jobs are running, check /var/log/syslog with the process name cron. For example:

Apr 26 21:17:01 example CRON[18055]: (root) CMD (   cd / && run-parts --report /etc/cron.hourly)
  • Thanks buddy , i searc hed internet and they were sying the log file is /var/log/cron or cron.log , what is that file for
    – John
    Apr 28, 2010 at 1:19
  • 1
    It all depends on how syslog is configured. Some distributions/Unix will split everything out, other dump just about everything into one file.
    – David
    Apr 30, 2010 at 17:09
  • Just for the record: Any systemctl attempts will not work in (unprivileged) docker containers. Try the answer from Sean then.
    – phi
    Jan 30, 2022 at 10:41
  1. modify rsyslog config: open /etc/rsyslog.d/50-default.conf,remove # before cron.*
  2. restart rsyslog service: sudo service rsyslog restart
  3. restart cron service: service cron restart

now you can check cron log from file /var/log/cron.log

  • 2
    This is great. Saves searching through the syslog
    – phocks
    Jul 10, 2016 at 1:56
  • 1
    Best answer so far.
    – azeem
    Oct 4, 2016 at 10:45
  • 3
    Check /etc/rsyslog.conf if you're on an older system or if there's nothing in /etc/rsyslog.d
    – Wimateeka
    May 7, 2019 at 17:32
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    @Sean We can also restart the Cron service via sudo service cron restart apart from that your answer worked liked a Charm!!
    – Hussain7
    Nov 11, 2019 at 6:07
  • This worked for me, but I additionally had to install apt install rsyslog -y first. Then there was no file in rsyslog.d as Wimateeka mentioned, but I modified rsyslog.conf directly.
    – phi
    Jan 30, 2022 at 10:39

By default the cron log in Ubuntu is located at /var/log/syslog. Use the below command to check the cron entries in this file.

grep cron /var/log/syslog

  • 7
    Case insensitive search yields more comprehensive results. grep -i cron /var/log/syslog
    – Henry
    Oct 15, 2019 at 18:04

New information for 2020: cron is now a systemctl service, so you can have the logs of cron / anacron with:

journalctl -u cron.service

if you did install anacron, it is the same with:

journalctl -u anacron.service

(anacron is for desktop, when your computer is not garanteed to be always on. It enforce that even if your computer is down at 5'00, daily jobs are run when the computer has started up).

  • 1
    journalctl -u cron.service No journal files were found.<- -on Ubuntu 20.04 WSL2
    – relipse
    Dec 31, 2020 at 21:31
  • @relipse: I did try again, and it did work. Perhaps something is missing in your setup or in my explanation. If you find out, please complete this answer
    – jehon
    Jan 25, 2021 at 12:25

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