One of the most important task if you are a webmaster or a business website owner is to constantly update the website as well as perform routine tasks. Certain tasks such as running scripts, sending e-mails to a mailing list, or updating a database involve daily attention. However, there are times when you may fail to perform the task on hand at the right time. At time, some tasks may be too difficult for you to handle that they might take up a lot of your time and effort. You certainly can’t afford to miss performing certain tasks on time if you own a website that has a considerable number of visitors or subscribers consequences of which may result in loss and damaged company reputation for inability to deliver services on time.
You have a forum on your website and you wish to have a setting on it which should automatically delete account holders that have not been active for say last 100 days. Instead of manually sending a notification to each and every member, why not use a cron to make the task much more easier for you? With a cron job, you can easily monitor the inactive accounts and who among your members will automatically receive an e-mail reminder after exactly 100 days.
Cron jobs are automated programs created for Unix and Linux platforms. Their job is to complete the tasks by following the particular commands a web developer has assigned them to execute at the exact time and given date. For example, if you wish to send a group e-mail every morning at 7.00 or on the 3rd day of every month. With the help of Cron Job, you don’t have to to wake up yourself at 7.00 just to write the content of the group e-mail and send it to all members. All you need to do is set the time and date of the message delivery using the crontab.
A crontab is the file where cron settings are found. It contains the following fields: commands, minutes, hours, days, months, and weekdays. You can fill these fields with the information that will suit your needs or preferences. In case one option is not applicable like the minutes field, all you need to do is place an asterisk (*) instead. The actual crontab is presented through a text file that will require you to write complex codes or syntax. To make it more convenient to use, most web hosting providers nowadays offer a user-friendly version of a crontab. It’s now in the form of a web control panel that is fairly easy to configure.