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CRON for PHP: Calculate the next or previous run date and determine if a CRON expression is due
Latest commit 5b446e1 @mtdowling Merge pull request #95 from neslonso/patch-1
getMultipleRunDates of a "once cron expression"

PHP Cron Expression Parser

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The PHP cron expression parser can parse a CRON expression, determine if it is due to run, calculate the next run date of the expression, and calculate the previous run date of the expression. You can calculate dates far into the future or past by skipping n number of matching dates.

The parser can handle increments of ranges (e.g. */12, 2-59/3), intervals (e.g. 0-9), lists (e.g. 1,2,3), W to find the nearest weekday for a given day of the month, L to find the last day of the month, L to find the last given weekday of a month, and hash (#) to find the nth weekday of a given month.


Add the dependency to your project:

composer require mtdowling/cron-expression



require_once '/vendor/autoload.php';

// Works with predefined scheduling definitions
$cron = Cron\CronExpression::factory('@daily');
echo $cron->getNextRunDate()->format('Y-m-d H:i:s');
echo $cron->getPreviousRunDate()->format('Y-m-d H:i:s');

// Works with complex expressions
$cron = Cron\CronExpression::factory('3-59/15 2,6-12 */15 1 2-5');
echo $cron->getNextRunDate()->format('Y-m-d H:i:s');

// Calculate a run date two iterations into the future
$cron = Cron\CronExpression::factory('@daily');
echo $cron->getNextRunDate(null, 2)->format('Y-m-d H:i:s');

// Calculate a run date relative to a specific time
$cron = Cron\CronExpression::factory('@monthly');
echo $cron->getNextRunDate('2010-01-12 00:00:00')->format('Y-m-d H:i:s');

CRON Expressions

A CRON expression is a string representing the schedule for a particular command to execute. The parts of a CRON schedule are as follows:

*    *    *    *    *    *
-    -    -    -    -    -
|    |    |    |    |    |
|    |    |    |    |    + year [optional]
|    |    |    |    +----- day of week (0 - 7) (Sunday=0 or 7)
|    |    |    +---------- month (1 - 12)
|    |    +--------------- day of month (1 - 31)
|    +-------------------- hour (0 - 23)
+------------------------- min (0 - 59)


  • PHP 5.3+
  • PHPUnit is required to run the unit tests
  • Composer is required to run the unit tests


1.0.3 (2013-11-23)

  • Only set default timezone if the given $currentTime is not a DateTime instance (#34)
  • Fixes issue #28 where PHP increments of ranges were failing due to PHP casting hyphens to 0
  • Now supports expressions with any number of extra spaces, tabs, or newlines
  • Using static instead of self in CronExpression::factory
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