I have a script that runs in a loop. I can manually start the script from the command line easily enough with ./run_my_script but occasionally the script locks up and just needs a restart. So I ctrl-c and restart. Now I want to create a cron to just periodically stop and restart the script. So in my cron I put:

00 * * * * pkill -f ./run_my_script && /bin/sleep 15 && ./run_my_script

This doesn't work. It kills the script but doesn't restart it so I try:

00 * * * * pkill -f ./run_my_script
00 * * * * /bin/sleep 15 && ./run_my_script

This doesn't work either. It kills the script, but doesn't restart it. So I try:

00 * * * * pkill -f ./run_my_script
01 * * * * /bin/sleep 15 && ./run_my_script

And it works just fine. Problem is, I just need a few seconds between the kill and the restart, not a whole minute. How can I do it?

  • If you add pkill and sleep command in the script? May 6, 2019 at 11:04
  • Have you tried making a script that you call from cron instead of placing all the commands in cron? Unless I'm mistaken, cron runs something like sh -c "{commands}", so pkill -f matches your command sequence and kills it before it has a chance to start your service. May 6, 2019 at 14:39
  • If I understand your question correctly, there is a more elegant (?) approach.
    – Seamus
    May 6, 2019 at 14:41
  • 2
    Instead of pkill, which always has a risk of killing something else that accidentially has the same name, I'd rather use something like timeout 3590 ./run_my_script in a once-per-hour cron job so it stops just 10 seconds short of getting restarted. May 6, 2019 at 16:41
  • 00 * * * * timeout 3590 is a slick one-liner that works! I like it...
    – WesZ
    May 7, 2019 at 10:20

2 Answers 2


pkill only exits with a status of zero when "One or more processes matched the criteria". This means if ./run_my_script isn't already running, the first && in

pkill -f ./run_my_script && /bin/sleep 15 && ./run_my_script

will cause the rest not to run.

Using a semicolon rather than an and should work

pkill -f ./run_my_script ; /bin/sleep 15 && ./run_my_script
  • I'll try the semi-colon...
    – WesZ
    May 6, 2019 at 11:31
  • I was not able to get the semi-colon to work, I even changed sleep to to 45. I don't know why it didn't work. It worked off the console command line, just not in cron on the same line.... I have my crontab set to run some commands as well and have it setup as SHELL=/bin/bash So maybe that influences it?
    – WesZ
    May 6, 2019 at 12:24
  • Does it work if you encase the commands with sh? Like so: sh -c "pkill -f ./run_my_script ; /bin/sleep 15 && ./run_my_script". I would also be wary of making statements relative to the current working directory, you may want to specify absolute paths.
    – Torin
    May 6, 2019 at 13:26

So I tried this and it is working:

00 * * * * /bin/sleep 45 && pkill -f ./run_my_script
01 * * * * ./run_my_script

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