Omnibus GitLab Logs

GitLab includes an advanced log system where every service and component within GitLab will output system logs. Here are the Omnibus configuration settings and tools for managing these logs.

Tail logs in a console on the server

If you want to ‘tail’, i.e. view live log updates of GitLab logs you can use gitlab-ctl tail.

# Tail all logs; press Ctrl-C to exit
sudo gitlab-ctl tail

# Drill down to a sub-directory of /var/log/gitlab
sudo gitlab-ctl tail gitlab-rails

# Drill down to an individual file
sudo gitlab-ctl tail nginx/gitlab_error.log

Tail logs in a console and save to a file

Oftentimes, it is useful to both display the logs in the console and save them to a file for later debugging/analysis. You can use the tee utility to accomplish this.

# Use 'tee' to tail all the logs to STDOUT and write to a file at the same time
sudo gitlab-ctl tail | tee --append /tmp/gitlab_tail.log

Configure default log directories

In your /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb file, there are many log_directory keys for the various types of logs. Uncomment and update the values for all the logs you want to place elsewhere:

# For example:
gitlab_rails['log_directory'] = "/var/log/gitlab/gitlab-rails"
puma['log_directory'] = "/var/log/gitlab/puma"
registry['log_directory'] = "/var/log/gitlab/registry"

Run sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure to configure your instance with these settings.

runit logs

The runit-managed services in Omnibus GitLab generate log data using svlogd. See the svlogd documentation for more information about the files it generates.

You can modify svlogd settings via /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb with the following settings:

# Below are the default values
logging['svlogd_size'] = 200 * 1024 * 1024 # rotate after 200 MB of log data
logging['svlogd_num'] = 30 # keep 30 rotated log files
logging['svlogd_timeout'] = 24 * 60 * 60 # rotate after 24 hours
logging['svlogd_filter'] = "gzip" # compress logs with gzip
logging['svlogd_udp'] = nil # transmit log messages via UDP
logging['svlogd_prefix'] = nil # custom prefix for log messages

# Optionally, you can override the prefix for e.g. Nginx
nginx['svlogd_prefix'] = "nginx"


Omnibus GitLab includes a built-in logrotate service. This service will rotate, compress and eventually delete the log data that is not captured by runit, such as gitlab-rails/production.log and nginx/gitlab_access.log. You can configure logrotate via /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

# Below are some of the default settings
logging['logrotate_frequency'] = "daily" # rotate logs daily
logging['logrotate_maxsize'] = nil # logs will be rotated when they grow bigger than size specified for `maxsize`, even before the specified time interval (daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly)
logging['logrotate_size'] = nil # do not rotate by size by default
logging['logrotate_rotate'] = 30 # keep 30 rotated logs
logging['logrotate_compress'] = "compress" # see 'man logrotate'
logging['logrotate_method'] = "copytruncate" # see 'man logrotate'
logging['logrotate_postrotate'] = nil # no postrotate command by default
logging['logrotate_dateformat'] = nil # use date extensions for rotated files rather than numbers e.g. a value of "-%Y-%m-%d" would give rotated files like production.log-2016-03-09.gz

# You can add overrides per service
nginx['logrotate_frequency'] = nil
nginx['logrotate_size'] = "200M"

# You can also disable the built-in logrotate service if you want
logrotate['enable'] = false
Note: Currently the Gitaly-specific GitLab Shell log is not rotated by logrotate. See Issue #4938 for more details.

Run logrotate manually

Logrotate is a scheduled job but it can also be triggered on-demand.

To manually trigger GitLab log rotation with logrotate, use the following command:

/opt/gitlab/embedded/sbin/logrotate -fv -s /var/opt/gitlab/logrotate/logrotate.status /var/opt/gitlab/logrotate/logrotate.conf

UDP log forwarding

Omnibus GitLab can utilize the UDP logging feature in svlogd as well as sending non-svlogd logs to a syslog-compatible remote system using UDP. To configure Omnibus GitLab to send syslog-protocol messages via UDP, use the following settings:

logging['udp_log_shipping_host'] = '' # Your syslog server
# logging['udp_log_shipping_hostname'] = nil # Optional, defaults the system hostname
logging['udp_log_shipping_port'] = 1514 # Optional, defaults to 514 (syslog)
Note: Setting udp_log_shipping_host will add a svlogd_prefix for the specified hostname and service for each of the runit-managed services.

Example log messages:

Jun 26 06:33:46 ubuntu1204-test production.log: Started GET "/root/my-project/import" for at 2014-06-26 06:33:46 -0700
Jun 26 06:33:46 ubuntu1204-test production.log: Processing by ProjectsController#import as HTML
Jun 26 06:33:46 ubuntu1204-test production.log: Parameters: {"id"=>"root/my-project"}
Jun 26 06:33:46 ubuntu1204-test production.log: Completed 200 OK in 122ms (Views: 71.9ms | ActiveRecord: 12.2ms)
Jun 26 06:33:46 ubuntu1204-test gitlab_access.log: - - [26/Jun/2014:06:33:46 -0700] "GET /root/my-project/import HTTP/1.1" 200 5775 "" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_9_3) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/35.0.1916.153 Safari/537.36"
2014-06-26_13:33:46.49866 ubuntu1204-test sidekiq: 2014-06-26T13:33:46Z 18107 TID-7nbj0 Sidekiq::Extensions::DelayedMailer JID-bbfb118dd1db20f6c39f5b50 INFO: start
2014-06-26_13:33:46.52608 ubuntu1204-test sidekiq: 2014-06-26T13:33:46Z 18107 TID-7muoc RepositoryImportWorker JID-57ee926c3655fcfa062338ae INFO: start

Using a custom NGINX log format

By default the NGINX access logs will use a version of the ‘combined’ NGINX format, designed to hide potentially sensitive information embedded in query strings. If you want to use a custom log format string you can specify it in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb - see the NGINX documentation for format details.

nginx['log_format'] = 'my format string $foo $bar'
mattermost_nginx['log_format'] = 'my format string $foo $bar'

JSON logging

Structured logs can be exported via JSON to be parsed by Elasticsearch, Splunk, or another log management system. Beginning in Omnibus GitLab 12.0, the JSON format is enabled by default for all services that support it.

Note PostgreSQL does not support JSON logging without an external plugin. However, it does support logging in CSV format:
postgresql['log_destination'] = 'csvlog'
postgresql['logging_collector'] = 'on'

A restart of the database is required for this to take effect. For more details, see the PostgreSQL documentation.

Text logging

Customers with established log ingestion systems may not wish to use the JSON log format. Text formatting can be configured by setting the following in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb and then running gitlab-ctl reconfigure afterward:

gitaly['logging_format'] = ''
gitlab_shell['log_format'] = 'text'
gitlab_workhorse['log_format'] = 'text'
registry['log_formatter'] = 'text'
sidekiq['log_format'] = 'default'
gitlab_pages['log_format'] = 'text'
Note: There are a few variations in attribute names for the log format depending on the service involved (for example, Container Registry uses log_formatter, Gitaly and Praefect both use logging_format). See Issue #4280 for more details.