Server Cron Jobs
WP-Cron is how WordPress handles scheduling time-based tasks in WordPress. Several WordPress core features, such as checking for updates and publishing scheduled posts, utilize WP-Cron.
WP-Cron executes on every page load. If there is a long-running process that gets triggered by WP-Cron, it will delay page loading for the user.
Cron has a specific syntax that needs to be followed and contains the following parts:
Day of month
Day of week
Command to execute
Why use WP-Cron?
WordPress core and many plugins need a scheduling system to perform time-based tasks. However, many hosting services are shared and do not provide access to the system scheduler.
Using the WordPress API is a simpler method for setting scheduled tasks than going outside of WordPress to the system scheduler.
With the system scheduler, if the time passes and the task did not run, it will not be re-attempted. With WP-Cron, all scheduled tasks are put into a queue and will run at the next opportunity (meaning the next page load). So while you can’t be 100% sure when your task will run, you can be 100% sure that it will run eventually.
Using crontab, WP-cron is run by an independent PHP process. Thus not interfering with any visitors’ page requests. Because of this, we highly recommend running wp-cron via Linux crontab rather than WordPress’s default way, irrespective of the size or traffic of your site.
We will first need to disable WordPress default wp-cron behaviour by adding the following line to the wp-config.php file:
Setting up a real cron job
From your Linux terminal, first, open crontab:
Then add a line like below in it.
*/5 * * * * curl http://example.com/wp-cron.php?doing_wp_cron > /dev/null 2>&1
The above command uses PHP-FPM (or PHP-CGI).
*/5 * * * * cd /var/www/example.com/htdocs; php /var/www/example.com/htdocs/wp-cron.php?doing_wp_cron > /dev/null 2>&1
The above command uses PHP-CLI. CLI scripts do not have time limits. Depending on your setup, it may be desirable or undesirable.
Please make sure you use the correct path to wp-cron.php.
Alternately, you can also use WP-CLI
*/5 * * * * cd /var/www/example.com/htdocs; wp cron event run --due-now > /dev/null 2>&1
Above will run wp-cron every 5 minutes. You can change */5 to */10 to make it run every 10 minutes.
Note: You can request your host to set up the CRON jobs for your website or create a cron job directly from your host’s account page. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up a cron job for your websites on the Cloudways Platform.
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