logrotate Man page

LOGROTATE(8) System Administrator’s Manual LOGROTATE(8)

NAME

logrotate ‐ rotates, compresses, and mails system logs

SYNOPSIS

logrotate [-dv] [-f|–force] [-s|–state file] config_file ..

DESCRIPTION

logrotate 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.

Normally, logrotate is run as a daily cron job. It will not modify a
log more than once in one day unless the criterion for that log is
based on the log’s size and logrotate is being run more than once each
day, or unless the -f or –force option is used.

Any number of config files may be given on the command line. Later con‐
fig files may override the options given in earlier files, so the order
in which the logrotate config files are listed is important. Normally,
a single config file which includes any other config files which are
needed should be used. See below for more information on how to use
the include directive to accomplish this. If a directory is given on
the command line, every file in that directory is used as a config
file.

If no command line arguments are given, logrotate will print version
and copyright information, along with a short usage summary. If any
errors occur while rotating logs, logrotate will exit with non-zero
status.

OPTIONS

-?, –help
Prints help message.

-d, –debug
Turns on debug mode and implies -v. In debug mode, no changes
will be made to the logs or to the logrotate state file.

-f, –force
Tells logrotate to force the rotation, even if it doesn’t think
this is necessary. Sometimes this is useful after adding new
entries to a logrotate config file, or if old log files have
been removed by hand, as the new files will be created, and log‐
ging will continue correctly.

-m, –mail
Tells logrotate which command to use when mailing logs. This
command should accept two arguments: 1) the subject of the mes‐
sage, and 2) the recipient. The command must then read a message
on standard input and mail it to the recipient. The default mail
command is /usr/bin/mail -s.

-s, –state
Tells logrotate to use an alternate state file. This is useful
if logrotate is being run as a different user for various sets
of log files. The default state file is /var/lib/logrotate/sta‐
tus.

–usage
Prints a short usage message.

-v, –verbose
Turns on verbose mode, ie. display messages during rotation.

CONFIGURATION FILE
logrotate reads everything about the log files it should be handling
from the series of configuration files specified on the command line.
Each configuration file can set global options (local definitions over‐
ride global ones, and later definitions override earlier ones) and
specify logfiles to rotate. A simple configuration file looks like
this:

# sample logrotate configuration file
compress

/var/log/messages {
rotate 5
weekly
postrotate
/usr/bin/killall -HUP syslogd
endscript
}

“/var/log/httpd/access.log” /var/log/httpd/error.log {
rotate 5
mail www@my.org
size 100k
sharedscripts
postrotate
/usr/bin/killall -HUP httpd
endscript
}

/var/log/news/* {
monthly
rotate 2
olddir /var/log/news/old
missingok
postrotate
kill -HUP `cat /var/run/inn.pid`
endscript
nocompress
}

~/log/*.log {}

The first few lines set global options; in the example, logs are com‐
pressed after they are rotated. Note that comments may appear anywhere
in the config file as long as the first non-whitespace character on the
line is a #.

The next section of the config file defines how to handle the log file
/var/log/messages. The log will go through five weekly rotations before
being removed. After the log file has been rotated (but before the old
version of the log has been compressed), the command /sbin/killall -HUP
syslogd will be executed.

The next section defines the parameters for both
/var/log/httpd/access.log and /var/log/httpd/error.log. Each is
rotated whenever it grows over 100k in size, and the old logs files are
mailed (uncompressed) to www@my.org after going through 5 rotations,
rather than being removed. The sharedscripts means that the postrotate
script will only be run once (after the old logs have been compressed),
not once for each log which is rotated. Note that log file names may
be enclosed in quotes (and that quotes are required if the name con‐
tains spaces). Normal shell quoting rules apply, with ‘, “, and \
characters supported.

The next section defines the parameters for all of the files in
/var/log/news. Each file is rotated on a monthly basis. This is con‐
sidered a single rotation directive and if errors occur for more than
one file, the log files are not compressed.

The last section uses tilde expansion to rotate log files in the home
directory of the current user. This is only available, if your glob
library supports tilde expansion. GNU glob does support this.

Please use wildcards with caution. If you specify *, logrotate will
rotate all files, including previously rotated ones. A way around this
is to use the olddir directive or a more exact wildcard (such as
*.log).

If the directory /var/log/news does not exist, this will cause logro‐
tate to report an error. This error cannot be stopped with the missin‐
gok directive.

Here is more information on the directives which may be included in a
logrotate configuration file:

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.

uncompresscmd
Specifies which command to use to uncompress log files. The
default is gunzip.

compressext
Specifies which extension to use on compressed logfiles, if com‐
pression 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 “-6” (biased
towards high compression at the expense of speed). If you use a
different compression command, you may need to change the com‐
pressoptions to match.

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 parse the file. When this option is used, the cre‐
ate option will have no effect, as the old log file stays in
place.

copytruncate
Truncate the original log file to zero size in place after cre‐
ating a copy, instead of moving the old log file and optionally
creating a new one. It can be used when some program cannot 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 truncat‐
ing it, so some logging 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, create 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), 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.

dateext
Archive old versions of log files adding a date extension like
YYYYMMDD instead of simply adding a number. The extension may be
configured using the dateformat and dateyesterday options.

dateformat format_string
Specify the extension for dateext using the notation similar to
strftime function. Only %Y %m %d and %s specifiers are
allowed. The default value is -%Y%m%d. Note that also the char‐
acter separating log name from the extension is part of the
dateformat string. The system clock must be set past Sep 9th
2001 for %s to work correctly. Note that the datestamps gener‐
ated by this format must be lexically sortable (i.e., first the
year, then the month then the day. e.g., 2001/12/01 is ok, but
01/12/2001 is not, since 01/11/2002 would sort lower while it is
later). This is because when using the rotate option, logrotate
sorts all rotated filenames to find out which logfiles are older
and should be removed.

dateyesterday
Use yesterday’s instead of today’s date to create the dateext
extension, so that the rotated log file has a date in its name
that is the same as the timestamps within it.

delaycompress
Postpone compression of the previous log file to the next rota‐
tion cycle. This only has effect when used in combination with
compress. It can be used when some program cannot be told to
close its logfile and thus might continue writing to the previ‐
ous log file for some time.

extension ext
Log files with ext extension can keep it after the rotation. If
compression is used, the compression extension (normally .gz)
appears after ext. For example you have a logfile named
mylog.foo and want to rotate it to mylog.1.foo.gz instead of
mylog.foo.1.gz.

hourly Log files are rotated every hour. Note that usually logrotate is
configured to be run by cron daily. You have to change this con‐
figuration and run logrotate hourly to be able to really rotate
logs hourly.

ifempty
Rotate the log file even if it is empty, overriding 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.

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).

maxage count
Remove rotated logs older than days. The age is only
checked if the logfile is to be rotated. The files are mailed to
the configured address if maillast and mail are configured.

maxsize size
Log files are rotated when they grow bigger than size bytes even
before the additionally specified time interval (daily, weekly,
monthly, or yearly). The related size option is similar except
that it is mutually exclusive with the time interval options,
and it causes log files to be rotated without regard for the
last rotation time. When maxsize is used, both the size and
timestamp of a log file are considered.

minsize size
Log files are rotated when they grow bigger than size bytes, but
not before the additionally specified time interval (daily,
weekly, monthly, or yearly). The related size option is similar
except that it is mutually exclusive with the time interval
options, and it causes log files to be rotated without regard
for the last rotation time. When minsize is used, both the size
and timestamp of a log file are considered.

missingok
If the log file is missing, go on to the next one without issu‐
ing 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. 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).

nodateext
Do not archive old versions of log files with date extension
(this overrides the dateext option).

nomail Do not mail old log files to any address.

nomissingok
If a log file does not exist, issue an error. This is the
default.

noolddir
Logs are rotated in the directory they normally reside in (this
overrides the olddir option).

nosharedscripts
Run prerotate and postrotate scripts for every log file which is
rotated (this is the default, and overrides the sharedscripts
option). The absolute path to the log file is passed as first
argument to the script. If the scripts exit with error, the
remaining actions will not be executed for the affected log
only.

noshred
Do not use shred when deleting old log files. See also shred.

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 overridden by the noolddir option.

postrotate/endscript
The lines between postrotate and endscript (both of which must
appear on lines by themselves) are executed (using /bin/sh)
after the log file is rotated. These directives may only appear
inside a log file definition. Normally, the absolute path to the
log file is passed as first argument to the script. If shared‐
scripts is specified, whole pattern is passed to the script.
See also prerotate. See sharedscripts and nosharedscripts for
error handling.

prerotate/endscript
The lines between prerotate and endscript (both of which must
appear on lines by themselves) are executed (using /bin/sh)
before the log file is rotated and only if the log will actually
be rotated. These directives may only appear inside a log file
definition. Normally, the absolute path to the log file is
passed as first argument to the script. If sharedscripts is
specified, whole pattern is passed to the script. See also
postrotate. See sharedscripts and nosharedscripts for error
handling.

firstaction/endscript
The lines between firstaction and endscript (both of which must
appear on lines by themselves) are executed (using /bin/sh) once
before all log files that match the wildcarded pattern are
rotated, before prerotate script is run and only if at least one
log will actually be rotated. These directives may only appear
inside a log file definition. Whole pattern is passed to the
script as first argument. If the script exits with error, no
further processing is done. See also lastaction.

lastaction/endscript
The lines between lastaction and endscript (both of which must
appear on lines by themselves) are executed (using /bin/sh) 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 a log
file definition. Whole pattern is passed to the script as first
argument. If the script exits with error, just an error message
is shown (as this is the last action). See also firstaction.

preremove/endscript
The lines between preremove and endscript (both of which must
appear on lines by themselves) are executed (using /bin/sh) once
just before removal of a log file. The logrotate will pass the
name of file which is soon to be removed. See also firstaction.

rotate count
Log files are rotated count times before being removed or mailed
to the address specified in a mail directive. If count is 0, old
versions are removed rather than rotated.

size size
Log files are rotated only if they grow bigger then size bytes.
If size is followed by k, the size is assumed to be in kilo‐
bytes. If the M is used, the size is in megabytes, and if G is
used, the size is in gigabytes. So size 100, size 100k, size
100M and size 100G are all valid.

sharedscripts
Normally, prerotate and postrotate scripts are run for each log
which is rotated and the absolute path to the log file is passed
as first argument to the script. That means a single script may
be run multiple times for log file entries which match multiple
files (such as the /var/log/news/* example). If sharedscripts is
specified, the scripts are only run once, no matter how many
logs match the wildcarded pattern, and whole pattern is passed
to them. However, if none of the logs in the pattern require
rotating, the scripts will not be run at all. If the scripts
exit with error, the remaining actions will not be executed for
any logs. This option overrides the nosharedscripts option and
implies create option.

shred Delete log files using shred -u instead of unlink(). This
should ensure that logs are not readable after their scheduled
deletion; this is off by default. See also noshred.

shredcycles count
Asks GNU shred to overwrite log files count times before
deletion. Without this option, shred’s default will be used.

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
rotate directive.

su user group
Rotate log files set under this user and group instead of using
default user/group (usually root). user specifies the user name
used for rotation and group specifies the group used for rota‐
tion. If the user/group you specify here does not have suffi‐
cient privilege to make files with the ownership you’ve speci‐
fied in a create instruction, it will cause an error.

tabooext [+] list
The current taboo extension list is changed (see the include
directive for information on the taboo extensions). If a + pre‐
cedes the list of extensions, the current taboo extension list
is augmented, otherwise it is replaced. At startup, the taboo
extension list contains .rpmsave, .rpmorig, ~, .disabled,
.dpkg-old, .dpkg-dist, .dpkg-new, .dpkg-bak, .dpkg-del,
.cfsaved, .ucf-old, .ucf-dist, .ucf-new, .rpmnew, .swp,
.cfsaved, .rhn-cfg-tmp-*

weekly Log files are rotated if the current weekday is less than the
weekday of the last rotation or if more than 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 logro‐
tate is not run every night.

yearly Log files are rotated if the current year is not the same as the
last rotation.

FILES
/var/lib/logrotate/status Default state file.
/etc/logrotate.conf Configuration options.

SEE ALSO

gzip

NOTES
The killall program in Debian is found in the psmisc package.

AUTHORS
Erik Troan, Preston Brown, Jan Kaluza.


Corrections and changes for Debian by Paul Martin

Linux Wed Nov 5 2002 LOGROTATE(8)

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