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Author: Joel Gray Published: 6 December 2022 Read Time: ~2 minutes

Run a timed service on Linux using Systemd

To run a timed service on Linux using systemd, you can use the systemd-timer unit, which is a built-in feature of systemd that allows you to schedule tasks to run automatically at a specified time or interval.

To use systemd-timer, you need to create a systemd service that contains the command or script that you want to run. You can then create a systemd-timer unit that specifies when and how often the service should be run.

Here’s an example of how to create a systemd-timer unit that runs a service every hour:

First let’s make a service

You can checkout my indepth blog about creating a systemd service here: How to run anything as a service on Linux or view a summary below.

Create a systemd service file for the service that you want to run. The service file should be named <name>.service and should be placed in the /etc/systemd/system directory. The file should contain the following sections:

[Unit]
Description=<Description of the service>

[Service]
Type=simple
ExecStart=<command or script to run>

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

For example, to create a service that runs a script named myscript.sh, you can create a file named myscript.service with the following content:

[Unit]
Description=MyScript Service

[Service]
Type=simple
ExecStart=/path/to/myscript.sh

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Next lets make a timer for that service!

Create a systemd timer file for the systemd-timer unit. The timer file should be named <name>.timer and should be placed in the /etc/systemd/system directory. The file should contain the following sections:

[Unit]
Description=<Description of the timer unit>

[Timer]
OnCalendar=<time or interval when the timer should run>

[Install]
WantedBy=timers.target

For example, to create a systemd-timer unit that runs the myscript.service service every hour, you can create a file named myscript.timer with the following content:

[Unit]
Description=MyScript Timer

[Timer]
OnCalendar=hourly

[Install]
WantedBy=timers.target

This timer file specifies that the myscript.service service should be run every hour.

Enable and start the systemd-timer unit. Once you have created the systemd service and timer files, you can enable and start the systemd-timer unit by running the following commands:

systemctl enable myscript.timer
systemctl start myscript.timer

These commands will enable the myscript.timer unit to start automatically when the system boots, and will start the unit immediately.

Check the status of the systemd-timer unit. You can use the systemctl status myscript.timer command to check the status of the myscript.timer unit and see when it is scheduled to run next.

For more detailed instructions and examples, you can refer to the systemd documentation for your Linux distribution. You can also search online for tutorials and guides that can help you use systemd-timer to run timed services on Linux.

Written by Joel Gray

06/12/2022

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