How do I view the raw "access logs" and "error logs" for my website?

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If you're an advanced user and you would like to use your own Web statistics program, or you need to see the technical details of every connection made to your website for some other reason, you can access the "raw" log files yourself. These are the somewhat cryptic files generated by the Apache Web server that show each "hit" to your site.

The server generates "access logs" showing each "hit", and "error logs" showing error messages from the Web server and any script you install.

The access log files are generated daily, and are available for three years. The previous day's log files are usually available by 4 AM Pacific time. The error log files are generated live (in realtime), and are available for five days.

On this page:

Viewing logs in a Web browser

You can view some information about the logs in your Web browser. Our control panel includes:

To view or download these:

  1. Login to the “My Account” control panel (having trouble?)
  2. Click Statistics and Logs

Recent daily access log files are stored in gzip (.gz) format, and older monthly access log files are stored in bzip2 (.bz2) format for greater compression to minimize disk space usage. We keep raw log files for 3 years; you should make your own copies of them on your own computer or elsewhere if you need to access them for a longer period.

Gzip and bzip2 are standard Unix compression formats; you can decompress them with programs like WinZip or PKZIP on Windows or Stuffit Expander on the Macintosh. Many Web statistics programs are also able to work directly with gzip and bzip2 files, even if you don't decompress them.

Accessing the log files using other methods

Another way to get access to these files is to download them using an FTP program. To do so, create an additional FTP account that has access to your "Web server logs directory", then connect to our server using that FTP account.

Alternately, if you're installing your own statistics program as a CGI script on our server, the raw log files can be found in the "logs/web" directory of your home directory.

It's also possible to download the logs using SFTP or "scp", if you're familiar with those tools and comfortable making ssh connections.

Can I anonymize IP addresses in the logs?

If you need to anonymize or “pseudonymize” IP addresses in logs for legal/compliance reasons (such as for GDPR regulations), you can do so by creating an empty file named anonymize-ips in your logs directory (or asking us to do this for you). This shell command will do it:

touch /home/ex/example.com/logs/web/anonymize-ips

When you do this, we don’t record the full IP address in the logs. Instead, the last octet of an IPv4 address, or the last 80 bits of an IPv6 address, will be replaced with zeroes. For example, a visitor from IPv4 address 198.51.100.34 will be recorded as “198.51.100.0”, and a visitor from IPv6 address 2001:db8:1:2:3::4 will be recorded as “2001:db8:1::”.

This is similar to the way Google Analytics handles anonymized IP addresses, and meets the GDPR requirement that “the data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information”. (We don’t collect any additional information about your site’s visitors beyond what you see in the logs.)