How do I rotate log files?

by on April 4, 2006 · 14 comments· LAST UPDATED April 2, 2008

in , ,

Q. How do I rotate log files under Linux operating system?

A. You need use tool called logrotate, which is designed to ease administration of systems that generate large numbers of log files. It allows automatic rotation, compression, removal, and mailing of log files.

Each log file may be handled daily, weekly, monthly, or when it grows too large. With this tool you keep logs longer with less disk space.

Default configuration file

The default configuration file is /etc/logrotate.conf:
# see "man logrotate" for details
# rotate log files weekly
weekly
# keep 4 weeks worth of backlogs
rotate 4
# create new (empty) log files after rotating old ones
create
# uncomment this if you want your log files compressed
#compress
# RPM packages drop log rotation information into this directory
include /etc/logrotate.d
# no packages own wtmp -- we'll rotate them here
/var/log/wtmp {
monthly
create 0664 root utmp
rotate 1
}
Service or server specific configurations stored in /etc/logrotate.d directory, for example here is sample apache logrotate configuration file:# cat /etc/logrotate.d/httpdOutput:

/var/log/httpd/*.log {
 weekly
 rotate 52
 compress
  missingok
  notifempty
  sharedscripts
  postrotate
      /bin/kill -HUP `cat /var/run/httpd.pid 2>/dev/null` 2> /dev/null || true    endscript
}

Where,

  • weekly : Log files are rotated if the current weekday is less then the weekday of the last rotation or if more then a week has passed since the last rotation.
  • rotate 52 : Log files are rotated 52 times before being removed or mailed to the address specified in a mail directive. If count is 0, old versions are removed rather then rotated.
  • compress : Old versions of log files are compressed with gzip to save disk space.
  • missingok : If the log file is missing, go on to the next one without issuing an error message.
  • notifempty : Do not rotate the log if it is empty
  • sharedscripts : Normally, prerotate and postrotate scripts are run for each log which is rotated, meaning that a single script may be run multiple times for log file entries which match multiple files. If sharedscript is specified, the scripts are only run once, no matter how many logs match the wildcarded pattern. However, if none of the logs in the pattern require rotating, the scripts will not be run at all.
  • postrotate
    /bin/kill -HUP `cat /var/run/httpd.pid 2>/dev/null` 2> /dev/null || true
    endscript : The lines between postrotate and endscript (both of which must appear on lines by themselves) are executed after the log file is rotated. These directives may only appear inside a log file definition.

See complete working example: How to rotating logs with logrotate for Lighttpd web server.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ela October 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Am getting this problem very biggly

Please help me out

vi /etc/logrotate.conf
# see “man logrotate” for details
# rotate log files weekly
weekly

# keep 4 weeks worth of backlogs
rotate 4

# create new (empty) log files after rotating old ones
create

# uncomment this if you want your log files compressed
#compress

# RPM packages drop log rotation information into this directory
include /etc/logrotate.d

# no packages own wtmp — we’ll rotate them here
/var/log/wtmp {
monthly
minsize 1M
create 0664 root utmp
rotate 1
}

cat /etc/logrotate.d/httpd

/var/log/httpd/*log {
missingok
notifempty
sharedscripts
postrotate
/sbin/service httpd reload > /dev/null 2>/dev/null || true
endscript
}

My server is running nearly 10 sites and all those creating log files under statistics in vhosts.
it wil become more than 30 gb with in week. how to control it. please reply me

Reply

2 Anonymous June 29, 2010 at 5:33 pm

@Ela
Its always a good idea to rotate logs according to size instead of age when the logs are too big or too small. Rotating logs according to age favours for moderate logs only.

Reply

3 A Mukherjee November 9, 2009 at 3:48 am

Have you tried to install and run BleachBit?

Reply

4 Yogesh July 20, 2010 at 5:22 am
5 felipe1982 October 26, 2011 at 4:50 am

If I use

  sharedscripts
  postrotate
    do_something
   endscript

Isn’t this 100% the same as doing

  firstaction
    do_something
  endscript

Reply

6 felipe1982 October 26, 2011 at 5:01 am

sorry! Change

postrotate

to

prerotate

Reply

7 Suresh Soudherpally July 19, 2012 at 12:03 am

To rotate the httpd logs.

/var/log/httpd/*log {
missingok
noolddir
nomail
copytruncate
notifempty
rotate 1
size 1M
}

Reply

8 Mike November 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Where do you write this code?

Reply

9 Yogesh November 20, 2012 at 3:06 am

Create a new file under logrotate.d directory:
/etc/logrotate.d/httpd

Reply

10 Maryam September 30, 2012 at 6:33 am

Dear friends,
how can use this tool? it is downloadable tool??
i need it but i can not find any thing, is it a feature in linux of a tool which can download it?
would you please help me,
it’s very helpful to me ,
please

Reply

11 Anji October 29, 2012 at 7:16 am

Logrotate tool by default is included in the OS package itself, no need to download.

Reply

12 Raju October 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Hi all,

Can u please send me a configuration script to logrotate for below requirement

Log rotate and compression
Create archive of data older than 45 days and share it to rajcse09@gmail.com and delete It from existing log dir

Thanks and Regards,
Raju

Reply

13 Chiqo February 13, 2014 at 10:30 am

Hello,

I have an issue. I want to rotate log using compression. The thing is the filename:

/path/sessionId{blabla}

So I tried /path/* but doing that, every gz archive is compressed again into .gz.gz

Any idea?

Reply

14 lingtalfi October 28, 2014 at 6:09 am

Very informative thank you

Reply

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