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Revision as of 20:19, 1 July 2019 by Kewl (talk | contribs) (→‎Usage: logrotate runs through service rather than cron nowadays)
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From https://github.com/logrotate/logrotate:

The logrotate utility is designed to simplify the administration of log files on a system which generates a lot of log files. Logrotate allows for the automatic rotation compression, removal and mailing of log files. Logrotate can be set to handle a log file daily, weekly, monthly or when the log file gets to a certain size.

By default, logrotate's rotation consists of renaming existing log files with a numerical suffix, then recreating the original empty log file. For example, /var/log/syslog.log is renamed /var/log/syslog.log.1. If /var/log/syslog.log.1 already exists from a previous rotation, it is first renamed /var/log/syslog.log.2. (The number of backlogs to keep can be configured.)


Logrotate can be installed with the logrotate package. It is installed by default as it is member of the base group.

By default, logrotate runs daily using a systemd timer: logrotate.timer.


The primary configuration file for logrotate which sets default parameters is /etc/logrotate.conf; additional application-specific configuration files are included from the /etc/logrotate.d directory. Values set in application-specific configuration files override those same parameters in the primary configuration file. See logrotate.conf(5) for configuration examples and a reference of available directives.

To verify if logrotate works correctly, run it in debug mode, in this mode it does nothing except producing debug output:

logrotate --debug /etc/logrotate.conf


logrotate is usually run through the systemd service: logrotate.service.

To run logrotate manually:

logrotate /etc/logrotate.conf

To rotate a single log file:

logrotate /etc/logrotate.d/mylog

To simulate running your configuration file (dry run):

logrotate --debug /etc/logrotate.d/mylog

To force running rotations even when conditions are not met, run:

logrotate -vf /etc/logrotate.d/mylog

See logrotate(8) for more details.


exim log not rotated

If you have set the olddir variable in /etc/logrotate.conf, you will get a message such as:

error: failed to rename /var/log/exim/mainlog to /var/log/old/mainlog.1: Permission denied

To fix this, add the user exim to the group log. Then change the group of the olddir, usually /var/log/old, to log instead of the default root.

Check logrotate status

Logrotate rotations are usually logged to /var/lib/logrotate.status (the -s option allows you to specify another state file):

"/var/log/mysql/query.log" 2016-3-20-5:0:0
"/var/log/samba/samba-smbd.log" 2016-3-21-5:0:0
"/var/log/httpd/access_log" 2016-3-20-5:0:0

Skipping log because parent directory has insecure permission

Set in the config which user and which group has to job /etc/logrotate.d/job to be run with:

file-to-be-rotated {
    su user group
    rotate 4

See also