Frequently Asked Questions

The NearlyFreeSpeech.NET FAQ (*)

Log Files (*)

What is the easiest way to make sense of my log files?

Do my site's log files count as space usage for billing purposes?

I've enabled log files, now where are they?

What are log files and how are they used?

There are three primary kinds of log files available at NearlyFreeSpeech.NET:

All three are (if enabled) found in the /home/logs directory of your site.

Access logs are the most common type. Each line in the access log represents one access to your website. It contains a variety of information, like what IP address accessed your site, what they accessed, what web browser they used, etc. This is the type of log file that is most commonly used by analytics programs like AWStats and analog.

Error logs contain information about problems with your site. Although they contain lots of generic information, like records of attempts to access pages that don't exist, they are most important to web developers and people with complex software loaded on their site. Whenever software running on a site has a problem, it should (but doesn't always) say something about the problem in the error log. Finding that message can save you fruitless hours of wondering what the heck is wrong with your site.

If you ask for help troubleshooting a problem, on our forum for example, the first thing people will typically ask is whether you have your site's error log enabled and, assuming you do, what it says. To save time, it's often helpful to make sure it's enabled, say so in your question, and include any relevant log entries from around the time the problem occurred.

The third type, rewrite logs, are a bit more special-purpose. Rewrite logs track internal changes made to URLs by Apache. They're generally only useful when debugging these changes if you've set up your own rewriting rules, because the time it takes to write rewrite logs to our disk can slow your site to a crawl if you use a lot of them. If you don't know what a rewrite is or why you'd want to log them, you should definitely leave this one turned off.

My log file is huge and I can't remove it. What do I do?

How does log rotation work?

How do I enable my log files?

Why aren't log files enabled by default?

The return code 304 shows up in my log files all the time. What is it?

How come the bytes in my site's access log file do not match the site's actual traffic?

How many old log files will be kept during log rotation?

What are each of the fields in the access log?

I rotated my log files, but the access_log.old file was not compressed. Why not?

What is the format of the error log?

What happens if I change log file compression techniques?