Monitoring Log files in Realtime on Unix

December 06, 2006

Here's a handy trick for monitoring log files on unix, linux or mac's.

SSH on to your server then type:

tail -f /var/log/httpd/access_log

The above command will show you the last few lines of the log file, this is no suprise if your fimiliar with tail command. However the -f option will print to your console any new lines added to the log file in realtime. So you can get a live view of the traffic on your server.

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Multitail <> is even more useful. It displays multiple logfiles in split windows on your console and can even merge several logfiles in one view or show you program output (eg. lsof -i) Give it a go!
I've also found it helpful to use grep if you want to filter your "realtime" tailed output by IP address, page name, etc. tail -f /var/log/httpd/access_log | grep ''
works on windows too, if you install cygwin and add C:\cygwin\bin to your path -
How do tail on a log file that will be created in the current working directory?
This is fantastic. Thanks for the tip :)
This doesnt work in case of rolling logs. As soon as the log is archieved , the command still keeps the pointer on the archieved file and not on the new file. the following script is good and can help monitoring rolling logs.

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