Script in cron cannot find command

I have a script which dumps out database and uploads the SQL file to Swift. I’ve run into the issue where the script runs fine in terminal but fails in cron.

A bit of debugging and I found that the /usr/local/bin/swift command is not found in the script.

Here’s my crontab entry:

*/2 * * * * . /etc/profile; bash /var/lib/postgresql/scripts/backup  

Here’s what I’ve tried:

  1. Using full path to swift as /usr/local/bin/swift
  2. Executing the /etc/profile script before executing the bash script.

How do I solve this?

Asked By: An SO User


Cron doesn’t run with the same environment as a user. If you do the following you will see what I mean:

type env from your terminal prompt and make note of the output.

Then set a cron job like this and compare it’s output to the previous:

*/5 * * * * env > ~/output.txt 

You will find that the issue is likely because crontab does not have the same PATH variable as your user. As a solution to this you can (from your postgres user) echo $PATH and then copy the results of that to the first line of your crontab (something like this)


Or if you want to be more specific you can simply add the following:


However I normally always put my user’s PATH in crontab because I haven’t yet heard a good reason not to do so and you will likely run into this issue again if you don’t.

Answered By: jesse_b

You made one of the most common cron mistakes.
If you using specific environment add path to $PATH:

# User specific environment and startup programs
export PATH

Also check your cron log (/var/log/cron or /var/log/syslog).
And check user’s permission for binary files.

Answered By: Quarind
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