Log files – access.log and error.log

Apache in quite good in logging everything that happens on your webserver, from the initial request, through the URL mapping process, to the final resolution of the connection. Two types of log files are available: access.log and error.log. By default, Apache writes the transfer log to the /var/log/apache2/access.log file, and the error log file to /var/log/apache2/error.log. You can change the locations in your virtual host configuration files.

Apache also allows you to specify the level at which messages will be logged. The warn level is the default, but you can choose others like notice, info, debug, crit, alert, and emerg. To change the log level, the LogLevel directive can be used.

Here is an example event from the access.log file:

access log example

Perhaps you can guess what some fields in the output above mean. For example, the first field ( represents the IP address of the web client that requsted the list.html web page. You can also recognize the date, the browser and operating system used, and such.

error.log contains error events that Apache encounters in processing requests. This is the first place you should look when a problem occurs with starting the web server or with the operation of the server:

error log example

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