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Tech Term: Cron Job

A cron job is a script that runs on a web server to perform maintenance tasks on regularly scheduled intervals.

Sound fancy? It’s not. In fact, it’s totally mundane, not unlike brushing your teeth…

Do you brush your teeth everyday? Usually around 7 am and 11 pm? Do you do it to keep those pearlies white and tartar free?

Well, like you, web servers need to do weekly, daily, or even hourly, maintenance tasks. This helps them stay tartar free.

Cron jobs can do all sort of things. They can backup files or databases, they can clean up data, they can send emails, they can transfer data from one place to another, they can update information from external sources.

One of the most common cron jobs is a script that regularly logs onto the Internet and downloads all your email.

Did you think computers are just born knowing how to do that?

The only thing that all cron jobs share is that they are scripts that are run automatically on a set schedule.

Want to try your hand at creating a cron job? Read DIY’s guide on how to get started.

Cocktail Party Job

Cron jobs may sound raunchy, but the origin of their name is actually quite refined. The word cron is derived from the Greek word for time, chronos.