I have issue with my crontab - cron is not launching one of my scripts

this is top part of my crontab (root)


# Items availability

# Daily offer import + daily sync everything
30 7 * * *      /var/www/import/download_offers.sh > /var/logs/download_offers_cron.log

# Updates availability
# 7:45 mass update happens
*/5 0-6 * * *   /var/www/import/check_availability.sh
0,5,10,15,20,25 7 * * * /var/www/import/check_availability.sh
*/5 8-23 * * * /var/www/import/check_availability.sh

# Sales import + sync

# Import EBAY + WWW sales. Run sales cleaner
*/15 * * * *    /var/www/import/import_all.sh
*/5 * * * *     /var/www/import/import_www.sh
55 13 * * *     /var/www/import/import_all.sh
58 13 * * *     /var/www/import/import_www.sh

... more stuff 7KB total ...

it used to work perfect for long time but after last week reboot this line

30 7 * * *      /var/www/import/download_offers.sh > /var/log/download_offers_cron.log

stopped working. contents of download_offers.sh:


echo "Working..."

echo "Download offers started" > /var/log/import/OFFER_START.log

... some private stuff ; just bunch of wget's and echo's ...

file /var/log/import/OFFER_START.log is not created

what I have tried so far

  • I changed time to 7:30, 8:00 (it used to be 7:45 originaly)
  • I added > /var/logs/download_offers_cron.log but file hasn't been created
  • I browsed root emails, all scripts are launched except that one
  • file is +x executable

is there some known bug? is there any other option to debug crontab except mails? why script doesn't launch at all? it used to work fine after last week reboot....

Please help I am losing my mind


I am using CentOS release 6.6 (Final)

this is /var/log/cron

Mar 10 07:30:01 serverpro1 CROND[11291]: (root) CMD (/var/www/import/download_offers.sh > /var/logs/download_offers_cron.log)

looks like cron entry is fine but there is no /var/log/download_offers_cron.log file anyway?

  • 3
    Run the scrip manually and see if there are any errors Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 11:59
  • @ManulaWaidyanatha it works fine
    – Peter
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 13:00
  • 3
    If you run it manually and it works, but doesn't work in cron, then there probably is an environment variable issue. Cron by default only provides a very minimal shell environment. Pay particular attention to PATH and perhaps LD_LIBRARY_PATH varaiables. Best to manually set all required variables in your script than depend on cron to provide. One way to tell what cron provides is to add a very simple cron entry 1 * * * * env > /tmp/cron.env (make sure you delete this entry after it's run as it will keep running at 1 minute after the hour forever if you don't)
    – Cosmo F
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 14:11
  • @CosmoF i dont think thats not a case, my "script" is just bunch of echos and wgets
    – Peter
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 15:32
  • 1
    NB: your crontab says SHELL=/bin/bash, then in your script you use #!/bin/sh. Your cron is really running as root so it can write to the directories where your logs go? Can you add a ( date ; set ) >>/tmp/cron.log as 2nd line to your script?
    – ott--
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 17:22

4 Answers 4


it magically works again

only thing i changed was

30 7 * * *      /var/www/import/download_offers.sh > /var/logs/download_offers_cron.log
                                                             ^^ here


30 7 * * *      /var/www/import/download_offers.sh > /var/log/download_offers_cron.log
                                                             ^^ here

why it caused error and script didnt work AT ALL? I dont know

and why script stopped works in first place is unsolved mystery

  • Because try running /var/www/import/download_offers.sh > /var/logs/download_offers_cron.log manually and you'll see it should fail with an error like "bash: /var/logs/download_offers_cron.log: No such file or directory".
    – iyrin
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 10:06
  • 3
    And the reason it fails is because the redirect operation > is performed before the command is executed. gnu.org/software/bash/manual/bashref.html#Shell-Operation
    – iyrin
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 10:08

Check what your /var/log/syslog file says about cron job. Grep the word "cron" from the logs and check what is the error. Use below command to check the same.

grep -i cron /var/log/syslog

Otherwise everything you mentioned is good.

  • i am using centos, I checked /var/log/messages but there is nothing there
    – Peter
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 13:03
  • Which version you are using ? Cron logs on CentOS 6 are located in /var/log/cron by default.
    – Nitesh B.
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 13:12
  • I am using CentOS release 6.6 (Final). see my edit
    – Peter
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 15:31

Your crontab says to use bash, but when you run you script you actually shell out again to the 'sh' shell, thus you lose all your environment variables. I just had this problem last week. My problem was I had no path variable when the script ran in cron, but the script ran fine when I ran it manually.

You can test this by doing this right at the top of your script, after the #!/bin/sh:

echo $PATH
echo $path
sleep 10

in your script when it is run by cron. I can't recall which path is used by 'sh' so echo both.

Maybe do not shell out to 'sh' in your script?

Or, for each utility you run, enter in the full path to the utility, each input, and each output file.

So if your script says:

wget ...

You would replace it with the full path:

/usr/bin/wget ...

or whatever the correct path is.

(I can't add comments yet so I won't be able to reply to comments. Sorry.)


It's seems to be a typo mistake.
In the first script you use /var/log but in the new one it's /var/logs. Log is the standard directory but you seems to use logs

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