AWS Systems Manager
User Guide

Reference: Cron and Rate Expressions for Systems Manager

When you create an AWS Systems Manager maintenance window or a State Manager association, you specify a schedule for when the window or the association should run. You can specify a schedule in the form of either a time-based entry, called a cron expression, or a frequency-based entry, called a rate expression. For maintenance windows, you can also specify a time stamp in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) format when you create a maintenance window so that it runs once at the specified time.

When you create either type of resource programmatically or by using a command line tool such as the AWS CLI, you must specify a schedule parameter with a valid cron or rate expression (or time stamp for maintenance windows) in the correct format.

When you use the AWS Systems Manager console to create a maintenance window or association, you can specify a schedule using a valid cron or rate expression. You can also use tools in the user interface that simplify the process of creating your schedule.

Maintenance Window Examples

To create maintenance windows using the AWS CLI, you include the --schedule parameter with a cron or rate expression or a time stamp. For example:

aws ssm create-maintenance-window --name "My-Cron-Maintenance-Window" --schedule "cron(0 16 ? * TUE *)" --schedule-timezone "America/Los_Angeles" --start-date 2019-01-01T00:00:00-08:00 --end-date 2019-06-30T00:00:00-08:00 --duration 4 --cutoff 1
aws ssm create-maintenance-window --name "My-Rate-Maintenance-Window" --schedule "rate(7 days)" --duration 4 --schedule-timezone "America/Los_Angeles" --cutoff 1
aws ssm create-maintenance-window --name "My-TimeStamp-Maintenance-Window" --schedule "at(2019-07-07T13:15:30)" --duration 4 --schedule-timezone "America/Los_Angeles" --cutoff 1

Association Examples

To create State Manager associations using the AWS CLI, you include the --schedule-expression parameter with a cron or rate expression. For example:

aws ssm create-association --association-name "My-Cron-Association" --schedule-expression "cron(0 0 2 ? * SUN *)" --targets Key=tag:ServerRole,Values=WebServer --name AWS-UpdateSSMAgent
aws ssm create-association --association-name "My-Rate-Association" --schedule-expression "rate(7 days)" --targets Key=tag:ServerRole,Values=WebServer --name AWS-UpdateSSMAgent

General Information About Cron and Rate Expressions

Cron expressions for Systems Manager have six required fields. A seventh field, the Seconds field (the first in a cron expression), is optional. Fields are separated by a space.

Cron Expression Examples

Minutes Hours Day of month Month Day of week Year Meaning
0 10 * * ? * Run at 10:00 am (UTC) every day
15 12 * * ? * Run at 12:15 PM (UTC) every day
0 18 ? * MON-FRI * Run at 6:00 PM (UTC) every Monday through Friday
0 8 1 * ? * Run at 8:00 AM (UTC) every 1st day of the month
0/15 * * * ? * Run every 15 minutes
0/10 * ? * MON-FRI * Run every 10 minutes Monday through Friday
0/5 8-17 ? * MON-FRI * Run every 5 minutes Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 5:55 PM (UTC)

Supported Values

The following table shows supported values for required cron entries.


Cron expressions for associations do not support all these values. For information, see Cron and Rate Expressions for Associations.

Supported Values for Cron Expressions

Field Values Wildcards
Minutes 0-59 , - * /
Hours 0-23 , - * /
Day-of-month 1-31 , - * ? / L W
Month 1-12 or JAN-DEC , - * /
Day-of-week 1-7 or SUN-SAT , - * ? / L
Year 1970-2199 , - * /


You cannot specify a value in the Day-of-month and in the Day-of-week fields in the same cron expression. If you specify a value in one of the fields, you must use a ? (question mark) in the other field.


The following table shows the wildcard values that cron expressions support.

Supported Wildcards for Cron Expressions

Wildcard Description
, The , (comma) wildcard includes additional values. In the Month field, JAN,FEB,MAR would include January, February, and March.
- The - (dash) wildcard specifies ranges. In the Day field, 1-15 would include days 1 through 15 of the specified month.
* The * (asterisk) wildcard includes all values in the field. In the Hours field, * would include every hour.
/ The / (forward slash) wildcard specifies increments. In the Minutes field, you could enter 1/10 to specify every tenth minute, starting from the first minute of the hour. So 1/10 specifies the first, 11th, 21st, and 31st minute, and so on.
? The ? (question mark) wildcard specifies one or another. In the Day-of-month field you could enter 7 and if you didn't care what day of the week the 7th was, you could enter ? in the Day-of-week field.
L The L wildcard in the Day-of-month or Day-of-week fields specifies the last day of the month or week.
W The W wildcard in the Day-of-month field specifies a weekday. In the Day-of-month field, 3W specifies the day closest to the third weekday of the month.


Cron expressions that lead to rates faster than five (5) minute are not supported. Support for specifying both a day-of-week and a day-of-month value is not complete. You must currently use the question mark (?) character in one of these fields.

For more information about cron expressions, see CRON expression at the Wikipedia website.

Rate Expressions

Rate expressions have the following two required fields. Fields are separated by white space.

Required Fields for Rate Expressions

Field Values


positive number, such as 1 or 15








If the value is equal to 1, then the unit must be singular. Similarly, for values greater than 1, the unit must be plural. For example, rate(1 hours) and rate(5 hour) are not valid, but rate(1 hour) and rate(5 hours) are valid.

Cron and Rate Expressions for Associations

This section includes examples of cron and rate expressions for State Manager associations. Before you create one of these expressions, be aware of the following restrictions.

  • Associations only support the following cron expressions: every 1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8, or 12 hours; every day or every week at a specific time.

  • Associations only support the following rate expressions: intervals of 30 minutes or greater and less than 31 days.

  • If you specify the optional Seconds field, its value can only be 0 (zero). For example: cron(0 */30 * * * ? *)

The following table presents cron examples for associations using the required six fields.

Cron Examples for Associations

Example Details

cron(0/30 * * * ? *)

Every 30 minutes

cron(0 0/1 * * ? *)

Every hour

cron(0 0/2 * * ? *)

Every 2 hours

cron(0 0/4 * * ? *)

Every 4 hours

cron(0 0/8 * * ? *)

Every 8 hours

cron(0 0/12 * * ? *)

Every 12 hours

cron(15 13 ? * * *)

Every day at 1:15 PM

cron(15 13 ? * MON *)

Every Monday at 1:15 PM

Here are some rate examples for associations.

Rate Examples for Associations

Example Details

rate(30 minutes)

Every 30 minutes

rate(1 hour)

Every hour

rate(5 hours)

Every 5 hours

rate(15 days)

Every 15 days

Cron and Rate Expressions for Maintenance Windows

This section includes examples of cron and rate expressions for maintenance windows.

Unlike State Manager associations, maintenance windows support all cron and rate expressions, including values other than 0 (zero) in the seconds field.

For example, the following 6-field cron expression runs a maintenance window at 9:30 AM every day:

cron(30 09 ? * * *)

By adding a value to the Seconds field, the following 7-field cron expression runs a maintenance window at 9:30:24 AM every day:

cron(24 30 09 ? * * *)

The following table provides additional 6-field cron examples for maintenance windows.

Cron Examples for Maintenance Windows

Example Details

cron(0 2 ? * THU#3 *)

02:00 AM the third Thursday of every month

cron(15 10 ? * * *)

10:15 AM every day

cron(15 10 ? * MON-FRI *)

10:15 AM every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

cron(0 2 L * ? *)

02:00 AM on the last day of every month

cron(15 10 ? * 6L *)

10:15 AM on the last Friday of every month

The following table provides rate examples for maintenance windows.

Rate Examples for Maintenance Windows

Example Details

rate(30 minutes)

Every 30 minutes

rate(1 hour)

Every hour

rate(5 hours)

Every 5 hours

rate(25 days)

Every 25 days