I have about 50,000 contacts to update and I have a scheduled update greeting job set up (based on this post Update addressee values for all contacts after modifying Addressee Type Options - thanks Sean!)

If I run the scheduled job, it never completes (it hits a max execution time limit.) I did find that I can limit the number of contacts (to say 2500) with the limit parameter, and the job will complete. But my assumption is that if I run the job again it just updates my first 2500 contacts over again. Is that a correct assumption?

Is there another way I can update the contact.addressee token in batches to avoid hitting the max execution time?

1 Answer 1


There are several solutions. I'll go from least to most work - though the "least work" solutions generally need a level of expertise that the "most work" solutions don't.

  • You can edit your max_execution_time in php.ini.
  • The default execution time when running from the command line is unlimited. So you could run cv api Job.update_greeting or the equivalent using drush or wp-cli if you don't have cv installed.
  • Greetings are updated whenever a record is updated. An easy way to batch update records is to import a list of all the contact IDs you want to update with no other info. This will force an update and thus a greeting update.
  • You can delete all your addressee values that need updating (or all of them!) through MySQL/phpMyAdmin, then use "Update Greetings" with a limit of 2500 and set force equal to 0. With force equal to zero, only contacts without addressees will be updated, so you won't do the same 2500 every time.
  • Thanks for the detailed listing. The second option is appealing - I don't have cv installed but am running on Drupal. Do I need anything extra installed to use the Drush method?
    – RayWright
    Aug 30, 2018 at 17:01
  • Nope - you might want to confirm that PHP has an unlimited max_execution_time on command-line, but assuming so, the command is just drush civicrm api Job.update_greeting. Aug 31, 2018 at 16:09
  • 1
    We opted to try the drush option first - and it worked!! Some random tidbits for anyone that might happen across this post. I had to run the drush command as apache, it also required me to add the ct and gt parameters. My final command was(after telling it to run as apache) /path/to/drush civicrm-api Job.update_greeting ct=Individual gt=addressee force=1
    – RayWright
    Sep 14, 2018 at 14:37

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