Module for running tasks with a standard cron timeschedule

v1.1.0 2014-11-20 01:20 UTC


This SilverStripe module provides developers the possibility to define tasks that can be triggered by cron jobs or other time based scripts.

What problem does module solve?

Sometimes you as a developer don't have access to a server. If you want to run a task at a set time, you will have to tell an server administrator what to execute and when. This can often means that you will have to wait for someone to jump on to the server and set this up for you. If you then wants to add, change or remove tasks or times you will have to contact the administrators again.

This modules aims are:

  • Make the server configuration a one off job for administrators
  • Give developers full control on what tasks and when to run them

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Add the following to your project's composer.json:

    "require": {
        "silverstripe/crontask": "*"

Run composer update (this will also install needed 3rd party libs in ./vendor)


Implement the CronTask interface on a new or already existing class:

class TestCron implements CronTask {

     * run this task every 5 minutes
     * @return string
    public function getSchedule() {
        return "*/5 * * * *";

     * @return void
    public function process() {
        echo 'hello';

Run ./framework/sake dev/build flush=1 to make SilverStripe aware of the new module.

Then execute the crontask controller, it's preferable you do this via the CLI since that is how the server will execute it.

./framework/sake dev/cron

Server configuration

Linux and Unix servers often comes installed with a cron daemon that are running commands according to a schedule. How to configure these can vary a lot but the most common way is by adding a file to the /etc/cron.d/ directory.

First find the correct command to execute, for example:

/usr/bin/php /path/to/silverstripe/docroot/framework/cli-script.php dev/cron

Then find out which user the webserver is running on, for example www-data.

Then create / edit the cron definition:

sudo vim /etc/cron.d/silverstripe-crontask

The content of that file should be:

* * * * * www-data /usr/bin/php /path/to/silverstripe/docroot/framework/cli-script.php dev/cron

This will run every minute as the www-data user and check if there are any outstanding tasks that needs to be executed.

Warning: Observe that the crontask module doesn't to any scheduling. If the run time is more than one minute, it might start another process that interferes with the still running process. You can either trigger the dev/cron task less often or use something like sera.

For more information on how to debug and troubleshoot cronjobs, see

The getSchedule() method

The crontask controller expects that the getSchedule returns a string as a cron expression.

Some examples:

  • * * * * * - every time
  • */5 * * * * - every five minute (00:05, 00:10, 00:15 etc)
  • 0 1 * * * - every day at 01:00
  • 0 0 2 * * - the 2nd of every month at 00:00
  • 0 0 0 ? 1/2 FRI#2 * - Every second Friday of every other month at 00:00


public function getSchedule() {
    return "0 1 * * *";

The process() method

The process method will be executed only when it's time for a task to run (according to the getSchedule method). What you do in here is up to you. You can either do work in here or for example execute BuildTasks run() methods.

public function process() {
    $task = FilesystemSyncTask::create();

CRON Expressions

A CRON expression is a string representing the schedule for a particular command to execute. The parts of a CRON schedule are as follows:

*    *    *    *    *    *
-    -    -    -    -    -
|    |    |    |    |    |
|    |    |    |    |    + year [optional]
|    |    |    |    +----- day of week (0 - 7) (Sunday=0 or 7)
|    |    |    +---------- month (1 - 12)
|    |    +--------------- day of month (1 - 31)
|    +-------------------- hour (0 - 23)
+------------------------- min (0 - 59)

For more information about what cron expression is allowed, see the Cron-Expression post from the creator of the 3rd party library.


Do you want to contribute? Great, please see the guide.


This module is released under the BSD 3-Clause License, see LICENSE.

Code of conduct

When having discussions about this module in issues or pull request please adhere to the SilverStripe Community Code of Conduct.


Thanks to Michael Dowling for doing the actual job of parsing cron expressions.

This module is just a thin wrapper around his code.