/etc/cron.daily Directory: Explanation & Insights

Contains tasks run every day

The /etc/cron.daily directory is a special place in the Linux filesystem where you can store scripts that you want to run on a daily basis. These scripts are typically shell scripts, but they can be written in any language that can be executed by the shell.

cd /etc/cron.daily

Running the above commands in your terminal should list the scripts currently scheduled to run daily. The output might look something like this:


Each of these files is a script that the system will run once every day.

What It Is Used For

The main purpose of the /etc/cron.daily directory is to automate maintenance tasks that need to be performed on a regular basis, but not so often that they would need to be run every hour or every minute. Examples could include rotating log files with logrotate, updating the man-page database with man-db, or updating the password aging information with passwd.

Why It Is Important

Automating daily tasks is crucial to keeping a Linux server running smoothly and efficiently. By placing scripts in the /etc/cron.daily directory, system administrators can ensure that these tasks are performed consistently, even if they forget about them or are away from the server.

Relation to Other Directories/Commands/Files

The /etc/cron.daily directory is part of the larger cron system, which includes the /etc/crontab file as well as the /etc/cron.hourly, /etc/cron.weekly, and /etc/cron.monthly directories. These directories serve the same purpose as /etc/cron.daily, but for different time scales.

The execution of the scripts in the /etc/cron.daily directory is controlled by the cron daemon, which is started at boot time by the /etc/init.d/cron script.

Potential Problems and Pitfalls

One common problem that you might encounter with the /etc/cron.daily directory is that a script might not run when you expect it to. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as incorrect file permissions, errors in the script itself, or a misconfigured crontab file.

For example, the scripts in /etc/cron.daily need to be executable. You can make a script executable by using the chmod command:

chmod +x /etc/cron.daily/myscript

If a script is not running correctly, you can check the cron logs for any error messages:

grep CRON /var/log/syslog


The /etc/cron.daily directory is a powerful tool for automating daily tasks on a Linux server. By understanding what it is, how it works, and what potential problems to look out for, you can use it to keep your server running smoothly and efficiently.

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