By default, crontab on, for example, Debian, will mail any output of a job in your crontab to that user. How would one go about disabling this functionality?

2 Answers 2


There are two main ways of doing this, as I discovered.

Either you set the MAILTO-variable to nothing at the start of the file:


or you redirect each cronjobs output to /dev/null:

<command> > /dev/null

The second having the advantage that output on stderr should still be mailed to you.

  • 3
    The second solution is much better, because that way you are still notified of any problems in crontab scripts.
    – sleske
    Jul 16, 2009 at 14:23
  • 5
    >> will append data of stdout to file. It cannot be used to redirect stderr. Use 2> to redirect stderr. Jul 16, 2009 at 14:43

To prevent output of both stdout and stderr use the following syntax:

<command> > /dev/null 2>&1 

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