I have a cron that checks if there are pending mails to be sent each minute:

*/1 * * * * /usr/bin/curl http://localhost/path/application.php >> /var/log/application.log

This script is working for years without problems. Yesterday I added a echo in the first line of the application.php file and got this log:

10:34:05 Launching application...
10:34:17 Launching application...
10:34:44 Launching application...
10:35:07 Launching application...
10:35:18 Launching application...
10:35:43 Launching application...
10:35:58 Launching application...

It is, the script is launched 3/4 times each minute.

My root crontab only contains the above line and the crontab of the unique user I'm using is empty. No other computer can access to my localhost server (I have double checked that it is isolated).

In order to check that the problem is the root cron I've commented the unique crontab line and, surprise! a similar log is generated.

So the question is: what's happening? is there any cron log or similar?

  • Look at /var/log/cron Sometimes cron executions is logged there, if the file does not exist, check other important logs in /var/log – Adrian Perez Jan 19 '13 at 23:38
  • What operating system / Linux distribution you are running? – grassroot Jan 20 '13 at 7:37

I'm all but sure that what you need is

/etc/init.d/cron reload

  • Did this solution really help? It sounds really odd that reloading the cron-daemon would have such an effect. – grassroot Jan 20 '13 at 23:20

You need to look further, on many systems cron entries "hide" under the /etc/cron.d directory.

You'll need to check these out as well.


There are few places where the cron entries can be listed. You may search for it by issuing:

grep "application.php" /var/spool/cron/crontabs/* /etc/crontab /etc/cron.*/*

This must be run with root privileges, so prefix it with sudo if you are in Ubuntu or similar.

The cron logging is controlled by the Syslog. (Unless you happen to have syslog-ng which has a bit different way to control things,) you may again grep where cron is logged.

grep -i 'cron' /etc/*syslog.*/* /etc/*syslog.*

/var/log/cron.logis the most obvious choice.

Hopefully this helps you forward.

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