How to run PHP scripts from cron jobs

This article describes how to run PHP scripts from cron jobs.

Running PHP scripts from cron jobs

A common method for running PHP scripts from a cron job is to use a command-line program such as curl or wget. For example, the cron job runs a command similar to the following command:


In this command, curl retrieves the web page, which then runs the PHP script.

However, there is a better way to run PHP scripts on your web site from cron jobs. You can run the script directly by using the PHP command-line interpreter. This method is just as effective, and usually faster. The following command shows how to run a script using the PHP command-line interpreter:

/usr/local/bin/php -q ${HOME}/public_html/script.php

In this example, the PHP command-line interpreter runs the script.php file in the user's public_html directory. The -q option enables quiet mode, which prevents HTTP headers from being displayed.

Depending on the code in your PHP script, it may only run correctly when called from a specific directory. For example, if the script uses relative paths to include files, it will only run if it is called from the correct directory. The following command shows how to call a PHP script from a specific directory:

cd ${HOME}/public_html/; /usr/local/bin/php -q script.php

If your script requires special configuration options, you can use a custom php.ini file. The -c option allows you to call a PHP script using a custom php.ini file:

/usr/local/bin/php -c ${HOME}/php.ini ${HOME}/public_html/script.php

More Information

For information about how to use cPanel to create a cron job, please see this article.

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