Nextcloud Crontab/Cronjob Settings

The best/clearest info I have seen for using a cronjob with the preview generator app:

$ sudo crontab -e -u www-data

then enter the code below at the bottom (runs every 15 minutes):

*/15  *  *  *  * php -f /var/www/nextcloud/cron.php

How to run a cron manually (the example below is for nextcloud):

$ sudo -u www-data php -f /var/www/html/nextcloud/cron.php

Setup Cron (or systemd timers) for the Nextcloud Preview Generator


Add or create a new cronjob for the Nextcloud user:

$ sudo crontab -e -u www-data

Using your favorite editor, add something like this, which will run the job at 04:00 (make sure to point to the correct directory of the ‘occ' file):

0 4 * * * /usr/bin/php -f /var/www/html/nextcloud/occ preview:pre-generate

Or using systemd timers

Systemd also has the possibility to run specific tasks at specific times or events. called Timers. You need to create 2 unit files:

File 1:

$ sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/nextcloud-preview-generator.service

and add this to the File 1:

Description=Nextcloud Preview Generator

ExecStart=/usr/bin/php -f /var/www/html/nextcloud/occ preview:pre-generate


File 2:

$ sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/nextcloud-preview-generator.timer

and add this to File 2:

Description=Run Nextcloud Preview Generator daily at 04:00

OnCalendar=*-*-* 4:00:00


systemd reload:

$ systemctl daemon-reload

activate the timer:

$ systemctl enable nextcloud-preview-generator.timer

start the timer:

$ systemctl start nextcloud-preview-generator.timer


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6 thoughts on “Nextcloud Crontab/Cronjob Settings

  1. Thanks for the article, and something you could add for the people that run nextcloud in docker:

    Command to call from Cron when running Nextcloud in Docker:
    docker exec –user www-data CONTAINER_ID php /var/www/html/cron.php

    and, for the Previews:
    docker exec –user www-data CONTAINER_ID php occ preview:pre-generate

  2. Hi, Thank you for the articale. I have followed your instruction, somehow the cron job still not working as it should. A few moments later, the status went back to “Background jobs Last job execution ran… Something seems wrong” Under http://localhost/ shows “{“data”:{“message”:”Backgroundjobs are using system cron!”},”status”:”error”}” even after I run the command “sudo -u www-data /usr/bin/php -f /var/www/nextcloud/cron.php”. Any help appreciated!

    1. Not sure what this might be but first you would want to 1) check the logs at ‘Settings > Logging’, and 2) double check your cron time settings while verifying that the path to Nextcloud is correct (which it seems it is if you got the “Last job ran” message).

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