I have a Linux server that's only needed at workdays in work hours. There's no point having it powered on all the time.

How can I make a Linux system suspend and resume on set times and days without any supervision?

  • 1
    Basically, you are creating points of failure and more maintenance shutdowning down and booting it. The boot process might also use up more energy than leaving it on at night, I suspect. If you make a point of turning it off, I would do it only on weekends. – Rui F Ribeiro May 20 at 8:05
  • @Rui this is using suspend and resume, so the boot process is very short (there effectively isn’t one). I do something similar on a few systems, including some with hardware RAID etc. which take ages to boot normally, and resuming is instantaneous and doesn’t use much power at all. – Stephen Kitt May 21 at 12:45

I've created a shell script for this purpose using systemctl suspend and rtcwake commands to manage the power.

When run, it'll work in a loop (15 minute cycles):

  • checking what time and day of week it is,

  • determining when it should wake up

  • checking if it should suspend right now


while [ 1=1 ]; do # repeat forever


        echo "Updated: $(date '+%F %T')"

        echo "### TIME SECTION"

        SLEEP_H=18 # What hour should the system suspend at?
        WAKE_H=8 # What hour should the system wake up at?

        # check what day of the week it is now
        DOW=$(date +%w) #  1 = monday, 5 = friday etc.

        echo "Day of week: $DOW"

        # check what time is it now
        H=$(date +%H)
        M=$(date +%M)

        NOW_S=$(date +%s)

        echo "Hour: $H, minute: $M"

        #date +%s --date "tomorrow 8:00"

        if [[ $DOW -lt 5 ]]; then
                echo "It's Monday to Thursday!"
                WAKE="tomorrow $WAKE_H:00"
                echo "It's Friday to Sunday!"
                WAKE="monday $WAKE_H:00"

        WAKE_S="$(date --date "$WAKE" +%s)"

        WAKE_SR=$(( $WAKE_S - $NOW_S))

        echo "Wake: $WAKE"
        echo "Wake relative seconds: $WAKE_SR"
        rtcwake -m no -s "$WAKE_SR"

        # sleep section

        sleep 15m

        echo "### SLEEP SECTION"

        if [[ $H -gt $SLEEP_H ]]; then # sleep if the hour is right
                systemctl suspend
                echo "It's too early to sleep"

        if [[ $DOW -gt 5 ]]; then # sleep if it's saturday or sunday
                systemctl suspend
                echo "It's not weekend - gotta stay up!"


This script is set to make the system wake up between Monday to Friday at 8 AM, and fall asleep at 6 PM.

It'll sleep during weekends and nights. Feel free to modify it to your needs.

I keep this script in /root/power-schedule.sh. Make sure it's executable: `sudo chmod +x /root/power-schedule.sh'

Also put the script in crontab with the @reboot time to make sure that a sudden power outage will not interrupt your schedule.


sudo crontab -e

And add this line:

@reboot         exec /root/power-schedule.sh

You might also want to configure the UEFI/BIOS so that the machine will power on when it detects AC power - this will cause it to boot up after a power outage (instead of staying off - which is usually the default behaviour).

  • I’m curious: why don’t you use a crontab entry to suspend? – Stephen Kitt May 21 at 12:46
  • Becasue despite many tries I was unable to get cron on this system to execute commands at specified time. It operates in it's own time zone. So I had to come up with a different solution. – unfa May 22 at 13:16

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