Get a real-time view of the Apache error log

Photo by CR

I spend a lot of time developing on a remote server through an SSH connection, and I’ve found it tough to keep an eye on the error log file. Typically I’ve been running the tail unix command to look at the last 10 lines, but this only gives you a snapshot of the errors at that instant. If I wanted to see more, I had to run tail again. I knew there had to be a better way, something I was missing since I couldn’t imagine unix wizards putting up with this. Luckily I was right. If you pass the -f or –follow option to tail it will continuously update, so you can see errors in real-time as the lines are written to the log file. This is perfect, I can see at a glance what’s going on.

To do the same, just open an SSH session to your remote server, and then type in the following command:

tail -f /var/log/httpd/error_log

The log file location varies on different flavors of Linux, and if you have access problems, make sure the logged-in user has high enough permissions to see it.

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