Did you know that your server logs a lot of information, what is a server log you ask! A server log is a log file (or several files) that is automatically created by your server, the server log consist of a list of activities that being performed on your server.
A web server log for example maintains a history of page requests that includes client IP address, request date/time, page requested, HTTP code, bytes served, user agent, and referrer. These data can be combined into a single file, or separated into distinct logs, such as an access log, error log, or referrer log. However, server logs typically do not collect user-specific information.
What a lot of people do not know is that you can do statistical analysis of the server log, you can examine traffic patterns by time of day, day of week, referrer, or user agent. Efficient web site administration, adequate hosting resources can be aided by analysis of the web server logs. Marketing departments of any organization that owns a website should be trained to understand these powerful tools.
Access to server logs has tills now been limited to only the webmaster or other administrative person. It has changed and now their is a SaaS based service from Logentries available, which takes the mystique out of server logs.
Logentries has a free service to get started. The Logentries have an easy-to-use set of log management and analytics capabilities that enable troubleshooting in development, real-time performance monitoring and alerting of production systems, user behavior analytics, and assuring security compliance.
Setting up Logentries is easy if you have access to your server, you might have to ask your webmaster to do it for you, the instructions are very easy to follow on the Logentries website.
When you have Logentries setup – you dashboard will look something like this:
In the dashboard you have a list of logs, and from the graph you can see which specific log have activities in which you drill down and query the log for specific information.
If you upgrade to the premium version you get access to premium features, including:
- Custom tagging & real-time alerts: Easily highlight errors, warnings, exceptions, or business events
- Detailed visualization & easy click navigation: Interactive graphs, visualizations, and quick drill-down into system logs to immediately pinpoint log events in days, weeks, or months.
- Live Tail: View streaming logs in real-time and see important events highlighted within the live data.
- Log correlation: Dynamically group and correlate logs into a single dashboard, or aggregate logs from a particular system to give an end-to-end view.
It has worked well for my website, I combined the log entry data with my analytics, which gives me a nice picture on how well my website is doing.