edit

Scheduled jobs

This page provides instructions on setting up scheduled jobs to run automatically.

More info in the User Guide

See the scheduled jobs page in the User Guide to learn more about how scheduled jobs work and why they are important.

Process overview

A typical CiviCRM installation uses the following process to execute scheduled jobs:

  1. A CiviCRM administrative user configures scheduled jobs via CiviCRM's UI.
  2. A cron job (outside of CiviCRM) executes CiviCRM's Job.execute API call regularly (e.g. every 5 minutes).
  3. The Job.execute API call runs all the configured scheduled jobs which are necessary at that point in time.
  4. Each scheduled job executes its own API call (e.g. Job.geocode) and passes any parameters to this call as configured in the UI.

Setup overview

To get scheduled jobs working you'll need to perform the following setup tasks:

  1. Configure and enable at least one scheduled job from within the UI. (Instructions in the User Guide)

    • For example, a default job exists in new CiviCRM installations called "CiviCRM Update Check" which runs Job.version_check. This is an easy job to use while testing your schedule jobs setup. For the purposes of testing your setup, it will be helpful to modify the frequency of this job so that it runs every time cron runs.
  2. Manually execute your scheduled job from within the UI to ensure that it completes without error. View the job log if necessary. (Instructions in the User Guide)

  3. Choose a method of executing the Job.execute API call from the command line. (Instructions below)

    1. Test that this method works by running the command manually and viewing the job log again.
  4. Set up a cron job to run the command regularly. (Instructions below)

    1. Test that your cron job works by viewing the job log after it should have run.
  5. Choose more scheduled jobs to enable to meet your needs. (Instructions in the User Guide)

Preparing

Choosing a command

Due to the flexibility of CiviCRM's API, there are several different methods (listed below) for executing the Job.execute API call from the command line. You will need to choose one.

Choosing an OS user

When you run one of the commands below to execute Job.execute, it's important to pay attention to the file permission of the operating system user that the command runs as. Typically you'll want to run the command as the same user as Apache (i.e. www-data, apache, or nobody are the most likely candidates).

CiviCRM needs read and write access to some directories to operate normally, and can experience issues if "run" by multiple users simultaneously. If your CiviCRM runs on the web as user www-data, you need either to execute CiviCRM CLI tasks as the same user or to make special provision to ensure filesystem permissions do not interfere with normal operation. See this StackExchange question for more discussion on this.

Choosing a CMS user

Some of these methods require a valid username and password (for a CMS user who has adequate permissions for the job or jobs being run).

  • Make sure there that there are no reserved or unsafe URL characters in your username or password. These include spaces as well as the following characters:

    & = + $ ? % , / : { } | ' #
    
  • Make sure that the user that is referred in commands below has correct permissions. At minimum those are:

    • View all contacts
    • Access CiviCRM
    • Access CiviMail

Commands to call Job.execute

cv method

cv is a CLI utility for CiviCRM, like drush is to Drupal, wp-cli to WordPress, and Joomlatools Console to Joomla. Once you have cv installed, you can execute CiviCRM's scheduled jobs with this command:

cv api --user=admin job.execute

Drush method

$ drush \
  -r /var/www/example.org \
  -l https://example.org \
  -u myusername \
  civicrm-api job.execute

Notes:

  • drush only works for Drupal sites.
  • See drush.org for more info about this tool.
  • If successful, this command will output a key/value array with a error = 0.
  • The final step to adding a Drush command to your system cron is to add the --quiet option to Drush. This is to suppress the non-error output that would otherwise fill up your cron mail feedback.

wp-cli method

$ /path/to/wp-cli \
  --user=myusername \
  --url=http://example.org \
  --path=/var/www/example.org/ \
  civicrm api job.execute auth=0

Notes:

  • wp-cli only works for WordPress
  • See wp-cli.org for more info about this tool.
  • Add the --skip-plugins=<plugin> option to stop a plugin from loading. This is needed if a certain plugin causes the cron job to fail.
  • Add the --timezone=<timezone_identifier> option to control the timezone. If you don't do this, then wp-cli will use the timezone set in your wordpress site. Here are the valid timezone identifiers.

cli.php method

$ /path/to/php /path/to/civcrm/bin/cli.php \
  -s example.org \
  -u myusername \
  -p mypassword \
  -e Job \
  -a execute

Notes:

  • The -s parameter is the site name, and defaults to localhost. It should be set to the FQDN (fully qualified domain name) of your site (eg, example.org). Some jobs rely on this being set (in certain cases, the CiviMail mailing scheduler uses this FQDN to generate absolute URLs when relative URLs are in the email).

HTTP method

If you don't have command line access to the server running CiviCRM, then you can set up a separate system to make HTTP requests to your server in order to execute the Job.execute API call.

You can use either the REST interface (as documented in the Developer Gude) or the cron.php (as documented below).

URL to cron.php

The URL you need to call depends on the CMS you are using. In the examples below, replace <cron-url> with one of the following (using http or https as appropriate).

  • Drupal:

    https://example.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/bin/cron.php
    
  • Joomla:

    https://example.org/administrator/components/com_civicrm/civicrm/bin/cron.php
    
  • WordPress:

    https://example.org/<CONTENT-DIR>/plugins/civicrm/civicrm/bin/cron.php
    

    (Make sure to replace <CONTENT-DIR> with your own value.)

Parameters to pass to cron.php

You will need to pass the following parameters to cron.php. Replace as appropriate in the examples below.

GET vs POST

The GET method is slightly easier to configure, but may be considered less secure since authentication information is included in the command line, and therefore may be visible to other users with sufficient permissions on your server.

Calling cron.php with wget

When calling these urls using wget, enclose the url in single quotes, like so:

$ wget -O - -q -t 1 '<cron-url>?name=<username>&pass=<password>&key=<site-key>'

Use wget to send queued CiviMail mailings:

  1. Create a file named civicrm-wgetrc that contains this line:

    post-data=name=<username>&pass=<password>&key=<site-key>&job=process_mailing
    
  2. Create a script that contains these lines:

    export WGETRC=civicrm-wgetrc
    wget -O - -q -t 1 <cron-url>
    

Calling cron.php with curl

Use curl to send queued CiviMail mailings

  1. Create a file named civicrm-curl that contains this line:

    name=<username>&pass=<password>&key=<site-key>&job=process_mailing
    
  2. Create a script that contains this command:

    curl --data @civicrm-curl <cron-url>
    

Alternative curl calling syntax

CIVI_USER=<username>
CIVI_PASS=<password>
SITE_KEY=<site-key>

CIVI_CRON="<cron-url>"
POST_AUTH="-d name=${CIVI_USER} -d pass=${CIVI_PASS} -d key=${SITE_KEY}"
POST_JOBS="-d job=process_mailing"

curl -s -o civicrm.cronjob.out ${POST_AUTH} ${POST_JOBS} ${CIVI_CRON}

Check the curl documentation for information about logging and console output options.

Cron setup

In order for the scheduled jobs configured within the CiviCRM UI to run automatically, you'll need to configure a cron job which executes the Job.execute API call.

Note

The System Status screen /civicrm/a#/status will only report "Cron running OK" if your cron job invokes Job.execute. The System Status page will complain that cron is "not running" if your cron only invokes particular jobs such as process_mailing or fetch_bounces.

crontab

  1. Make sure you have chosen (and tested) one of the commands to call Job.execute. In the following examples, we will refer to your command as <command>.
  2. Run the following command to edit your crontab:

    $ crontab -e
    
  3. Place the following line in your crontab to run your command every 5 minutes.

    */5 * * * * <command>
    

webcron

Another way to set up your cron job is to use a webcron like easycron.

  1. Sign up an account on https://www.easycron.com.

  2. In the URL field of the Create Cron Job form, enter the URL for your CMS. For example for Drupal:

    http://example.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/bin/cron.php
    
  3. In the POST field, enter:

    name=<username>&pass=<password>&key=<site-key>&job=process_mailing
    
    (replacing <username>, <password> and <site-key> with the actual values)

Aegir

If you are using the Aegir hosting environment, with the provision_civicrm sub-module, you can automate the installation of a new cron for each site using the hosting_civicrm_cron module. You can also use the Drush method below to call CiviCRM cron tasks.

Running specific jobs via cron

In the commands section above, we describe the various methods for executing the Job.execute API call, which in turn runs all the scheduled jobs necessary at that moment.

But if you want more control over the scheduling of your jobs you can use software like crontab to execute specific jobs. For example, maybe you want to run Job.mail_report on the first Monday of the month. CiviCRM's Scheduled Jobs interface does not allow this level of granularity and control.

With all of the commands above, you can replace Job.execute with the API of the job of your choosing. Refer to the list of all jobs in the User Guide to find the right API call.

When using cron.php you can only execute API from "job" entity. This means that if an extension has defined an API action like Foo.process you won't be able to call this action from cron.php because its entity is Foo instead of Job.

Troubleshooting

DB Error: Connect failed

The connect failed error message means that CiviCRM was not able to connect to the SQL database at all. Theproblem may be in connecting to the CiviCRM database OR with the Drupal/Joomla/WordPress database. If your CiviCRM installationis otherwise working, the most likely cause is the connection to the Drupal/Joomla/WordPress database, which is accessed much less frequently.

The most likely cause is incorrect username, password, or other settings in the civicrm.settings.php file. Search the settings file for CIVICRM_UF_DSN — your setting may have been incorrect for some time and enabling the cron process is only now exposing the problem.

DB Error: no such table

A common cause of this problem is if your Drupal installation has a table prefix. To validate the connection, CiviCRM looks at the users table while initializing the cron job. The specific name of the users table is set in yourpath/civicrm/admin/setting/uf (or via the UI in Administer > System Settings > CMS database integration). If the setting for the users table name does not match the actual table name in your Drupal MySQL database, you will get the 'no such table' error. Check your Drupal table prefix in settings.php (usually in sites/default) - look for a setting like $db_prefix = 'dru_';. In yourpath/civicrm/admin/setting/uf change the "Drupal Users Table Name" to match–for instance, if your prefix is dru_, change the table name to dru_users. See CRM-7471 for more info on this error.

Wrong permissions for cli.php

If you are running cli.php directly via cron job you may need to change permissions of cli.php to allow it to execute. Depending on how cron runs and the owner of cli.php you might try one of these options.

chmod +x cli.php

Running cli.php via php (recommended) will also solve this problem.

  • Use this:

    php /your/directory/structure/sites/all/modules/civicrm/bin/cli.php -u user -p password -e Job -a execute
    
  • Rather than this:

    /your/directory/structure/sites/all/modules/civicrm/bin/cli.php -u user -p password -e Job -a execute
    

Also, some systems will require the cli version (e.g. /usr/bin/php-cli vs /usr/bin/php)

Using the URL method with https and cron fails silently

If your server has an older version of wget installed and you are trying to connect via https there are a couple of problems that can cause wget to exit.

The solution is to upgrade wget to a version with the proper https support. A workaround is to use the flag --no-check-certificate in your wget call.

wget --no-check-certificate -O - -q -t 1 '<cron-url>?name=<username>&pass=<password>&key=<site-key>'