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If you have a Apache hosting server with a log of traffic you might find your logs grow over time even to the point of filling up the whole volume and causing a system outage. One way around this is to set up log rotation on the log files so that (depending on your settings) will compress the log file to reduce the size.

First step is to edit the /etc/logrotate.d/apache file and append the log file location with the options you desire:

Note: Change path of first line to reflect the location of the log file

Options

  • compress = Old versions of log files are compressed with gzip by default. See also nocompress.
  • compresscmd = Specifies which command to use to compress log files. The default is gzip. See also compress.
  • uncompress = Specifies which command to use to uncompress log files. The default is gunzip.
  • compressext = Specifies which extension to use on compressed logfiles, if compression is enabled. The default follows that of the configured compression command.
  • compressoptions = Command line options may be passed to the compression program, if one is in use. The default, for gzip, is “-9” (maximum compression).
  • copy = Make a copy of the log file, but don’t change the original at all. This option can be used, for instance, to make a snapshot of the current log file, or when some other utility needs  to truncate or pare the file. When this option is used, the create option will have no effect, as the old log file stays in place
  • copytruncate = Truncate  the  original log file in place after creating a copy, instead of moving the old log file and optionally creating a new one,  It  can be used when some program can not be told to close its logfile and thus might continue writing (appending)  to  the previous log file forever.  Note that there is a very small time slice between copying the file and truncating it, so  some  log-ging  data  might be lost.  When this option is used, the create option will have no effect, as the old log file stays in  place.
  • create mode owner group = Immediately after rotation (before the postrotate script is run) the log file is created (with the same name as the log file just rotated). mode specifies the mode for the log file in octal (the same as chmod(2)), owner specifies the user name  who  will own the log  file, and group specifies the group the log file will belong to. Any of the log file attributes may  be  omitted, in which case those attributes for the new file will use the same values as the original log file for the omitted attributes. This option can be disabled using the nocreate option.
  • daily = Log files are rotated every day
  • delaycompress ext = Postpone  compression of the previous log file to the next rotation cycle. This has only effect when used in combination  with compress. It can be used when some program can not be told to close its logfile and thus might continue writing to the  previous log file for some time.
  • extension = Log  files  are given the final extension ext after rotation. If compression is used, the compression  extension  (normally  .gz) appears after ext.
  • ifempty = Rotate  the  log  file  even  if  it  is  empty,  overiding  the notifempty option (ifempty is the default).
  • include file_or_directory = Reads the file given as an argument as if it was included inline where  the  include  directive appears. If a directory is given, most of the files in that directory are read in alphabetic order before  processing  of  the  including  file continues. The only files which are ignored are files which are  not  regular  files (such  as directories and named pipes) and files whose names end with one of the taboo extensions, as specified by  the  tabooext directive.  The include directive may not appear inside of a log file definition.
  • mail address = When a log is rotated out-of-existence, it is mailed to address. If  no  mail should be generated by a particular log, the nomail directive may be used.
  • mailfirst = When using the mail command, mail the just-rotated file, instead of the about-to-expire file.
  • maillast = When  using  the  mail  command,  mail the about-to-expire file, instead of the just-rotated file (this is the default).
  • missingok = If the log file is missing, go on to the next one without  issuing an error message. See also nomissingok.
  • monthly = Log files are rotated the first time logrotate is run in a month (this is normally on the first day of the month).
  • nocompress = Old versions of log files are not compressed with gzip. See also compress.
  • nocopy = Do  not copy the original log file and leave it in place.  (this overrides the copy option).
  • nocopytruncate = Do not truncate the original log file in place after creating  a copy (this overrides the copytruncate option).
  • nocreate = New  log  files  are  not  created  (this  overrides  the create option).
  • nodelaycompress = Do not postpone compression of the previous log file to the next rotation cycle (this overrides the delaycompress option).
  • nomail = Don’t mail old log files to any address.
  • nominningok = If  a  log  file  does  not  exist,  issue an error. This is the default.
  • noolddir = Logs are rotated in the same directory the log normally  resides in (this overrides the olddir option).
  • nosharedscripts = Run  prerotate  and postrotate scripts for every script which is rotated (this is the default, and  overrides  the  sharedscripts option).
  • notifempty = Do not rotate the log if it is empty (this overrides the ifempty option).
  • olddir directory = Logs are moved into directory for rotation. The  directory  must be  on  the  same physical device as the log file being rotated,  and is assumed to be relative to the directory holding  the  log file unless an absolute path name is specified. When this option is used all old versions of the log end up in  directory.   This option may be overriden by the noolddir option.
  • postrotate/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 of a log file definition.  See prerotate as well.
  • prerotate/endscript = The lines between prerotate and endscript (both  of  which  must appear  on lines by themselves) are executed before the log file is rotated and only if the log will actually be  rotated.  These directives may only appear inside of a log file definition.  See postrotate as well.
  • firstrotate/endscript = The lines between firstaction and endscript (both of which  must appear  on lines by themselves) are executed once before all log files that match the wildcarded pattern are rotated, before pre-rotate  script is run and only if at least one log will actually be rotated. These directives may only appear  inside  of  a  log file definition. See lastaction as well.
  • lastaction/endscript = The  lines  between lastaction and endscript (both of which must appear on lines by themselves) are executed once after  all  log files  that  match  the  wildcarded  pattern  are rotated, after postrotate script is run  and  only  if  at  least  one  log  is rotated.  These  directives may only appear inside of a log file definition. See lastaction as well.
  • rotate = Log files are rotated <count>  times  before  being  removed  or mailed to the address specified in a mail directive. If 0, old versions are removed rather then rotated.
  • size = Log files are rotated when they grow bigger then size bytes.  If size  is  followed by M, the size if assumed to be in megabytes. If the k is used, the size is in kilobytes. So  size  100,  size 100k, and size 100M are all valid.
  • sharedscripts = Normally,  prescript and postscript 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 (such as the /var/log/news/* example). 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. This option overrides the nosharedscripts option and  implies  create option.
  • start count = This is the number to use as the base for rotation. For example, if you specify 0, the logs will be created with a  .0  extension as they are rotated from the original log files.  If you specify 9, log files will be created with a  .9,  skipping  0-8.   Files will  still  be  rotated  the number of times specified with the count directive.
  • tabooext = The current taboo extension list is  changed  (see  the  include directive  for information on the taboo extensions). If a + precedes the list of extensions, the current taboo  extension  list is  augmented,  otherwise  it is replaced. At startup, the taboo extension list contains .rpmorig, .rpmsave, ,v,  .swp,  .rpmnew, and ~.
  • 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. This is normally the same as rotating logs on the first day of the week, but it works better if logrotate is not run every night.

Force Manual Logrotate

Once you have all the files you wish to rotate, you can run logrotate manually to start rotating the files. This is non disruptive but before you do this, ensure you have enough space available as it will start writing .gz files to disk!

  • logrotate -v -f /etc/logrotate.d/apache2

-v is verbose mode

-f is to force the logrotate

Other Logs to Rotate

This is an example for Apache however there are other logs that can fill up, the procedure is exactly the same except the log rotate configuration file is different, they are held at the same location as the Apache configuration file is. There are standard ones that come with Linux and very dependant on distribution, an example of the configuration files on a Debian Squeeze (6) server are:

  • apache2
  • apt
  • aptitude
  • dpkg
  • exim4-base
  • exim4-paniclog
  • rsyslog

Should you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to comment below. If you like what you have read, please share it on your favourite social media medium.

Specifies which command to use to compress log files. The default is gzip. See also compress.

Should you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to comment below. If you like what you have read, please share it on your favourite social media medium.

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