Log File Viewers

12 Best Free Linux Logfile Viewers

A server log is a log file which is created and updated by a server. A common example is an access log generated by Apache (open source web server software), which provides a history of web page requests. However, Apache does not only capture information to that access log. There is also information captured in its error log as well as a process id file, script log and a rewrite log.

These log files are everywhere. Applications capture an enormous amount of information to log files, especially as a server may generate multiple logs. It is important to review log files to obtain feedback about the activity and performance of the server, and to identify hints to solve any problems that may arise. However, the administrator of the system can suffer from information overload, and reviewing the log files in an efficient way can be a very time consuming task.

Here steps in the trusty logfile viewer; a small utility which filters out extraneous information generated in logfiles, identifying specific strings in real time. Logfile viewers used in conjunction with logfile analysers make a powerful combination.

For many years system and kernel logs were handled by a utility called syslogd. Most Linux-based operating systems have since moved to systemd, which has a journal. It’s a giant log file for the whole system. Various software and services write their log entries into systemd’s journalctl.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 12 useful Linux logfile viewers. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone needing to examine and process logfile data.

Logfile Viewers

Let’s explore the 12 logfile viewers at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources.

LogFile Viewers
QJournalctlGraphical User Interface for systemd’s journalctl
journalctlQuery and display messages from the journal
lnavCurses-based utility for viewing and analyzing log files.
KSystemLogSystem log viewer for KDE 4
XlogmasterGTK+ based program to keep track of logfiles and devices
MultiTailView multiple logfiles windowed on the console
gnome-logsView and search logs with this graphical utility
gloggQt graphical log explorer
logrifleDesigned to "rifle through" large logfiles
frontailStream logs to your web browser
logmaster-gtk-dLog viewer for Linux built with GTK and D
swatchLogfile viewer with regexp matching, highlighting & hooks

Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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