5 Server Logs You Should Routinely Check

One of the important things you can do with a dedicated server is to check it to ensure it is running smoothly and not experiencing any hidden problems. On Linux and Unix servers, log files can provide vital information about key components of your server. The following log files are ones you should routinely check:

  1. Web server /var/log/httpd/ – For Apache web server, there is a directory that contains access logs, error logs, and possibly others. For other web servers, see your software’s documentation for the exact location of the logs.
  2. Mail server /var/log/maillog – Normally, the mail log will not give you any vital information, but if you are trying to track down a spammer or someone attempting to execute a brute force attack using your mail server, this log may help.
  3. Authentication /var/log/auth.log – When users login or even attempt logins, the authentication log will keep track of it. Your server may also have vital login information in /var/log/secure.
  4. Kernel /var/log/kern.log – The kernel is the single most important component of your server, and whenever there are important kernel events, this log will list them. Under normal use, you should not see much activity in this log, but if you have issues with a hard drive or other hardware, this log might reveal important information.
  5. MySQL /var/log/mysqld.log – Your databases likely hold the majority of data for your websites. As such, it is important to monitor this log for any unusual events.