CRON for PHP: Calculate the next or previous run date and determine if a CRON expression is due
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PHP Cron Expression Parser

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NOTE This fork has been deprecated and development moved to More information can be found in the blog post here. tl;dr - v2.0.0 is a major breaking change, and @dragonmantank can better take care of the project in a separate fork.

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:

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


  • PHP 7.0+
  • PHPUnit is required to run the unit tests
  • Composer is required to run the unit tests