# Log files

# Slow Query Log

The Slow Query Log consists of log events for queries taking up to long_query_time seconds to finish. For instance, up to 10 seconds to complete. To see the time threshold currently set, issue the following:

SELECT @@long_query_time;
| @@long_query_time |
|         10.000000 |

It can be set as a GLOBAL variable, in my.cnf or my.ini file. Or it can be set by the connection, though this is unusual. The value can be set between 0 to 10 (seconds). What value to use?

  • 10 is so high as to be almost useless;
  • 2 is a compromise;
  • 0.5 and other fractions are possible;
  • 0 captures everything; this could fill up disk dangerously fast, but can be very useful.

The capturing of slow queries is either turned on or off. And the file logged to is also specified. The below captures these concepts:

SELECT @@slow_query_log; -- Is capture currently active? (1=On, 0=Off)
SELECT @@slow_query_log_file; -- filename for capture. Resides in datadir
SELECT @@datadir; -- to see current value of the location for capture file

SET GLOBAL slow_query_log=0; -- Turn Off
-- make a backup of the Slow Query Log capture file. Then delete it.
SET GLOBAL slow_query_log=1; -- Turn it back On (new empty file is created)

For more information, please see the MySQL Manual Page The Slow Query Log (opens new window)

Note: The above information on turning on/off the slowlog was changed in 5.6(?); older version had another mechanism.

The "best" way to see what is slowing down your system:

turn on the slowlog
run for a few hours
turn off the slowlog (or raise the cutoff)
run pt-query-digest to find the 'worst' couple of queries.  Or mysqldumpslow -s t

# A List

  • General log - all queries - see VARIABLE general_log
  • Slow log - queries slower than long_query_time - slow_query_log_file
  • Binlog - for replication and backup - log_bin_basename
  • Relay log - also for replication
  • general errors - mysqld.err
  • start/stop - mysql.log (not very interesting) - log_error
  • InnoDB redo log - iblog*

See the variables basedir and datadir for default location for many logs

Some logs are turned on/off by other VARIABLES. Some are either written to a file or to a table.

(Note to reviewers: This needs more details and more explanation.)

Documenters: please include the default location and name for each log type, for both Windows and *nix. (Or at least as much as you can.)

# General Query Log

The General Query Log contains a listing of general information from client connects, disconnects, and queries. It is invaluable for debugging, yet it poses as a hindrance to performance (citation?).

An example view of a General Query Log is seen below:

enter image description here (opens new window)

To determine if the General Log is currently being captured:

SELECT @@general_log; -- 1 = Capture is active; 0 = It is not.

To determine the filename of the capture file:

SELECT @@general_log_file; -- Full path to capture file

If the fullpath to the file is not shown, the file exists in the datadir.

Windows example:

| @@general_log_file                                       |
| C:\ProgramData\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.7\Data\GuySmiley.log |


| @@general_log_file                |
| /var/lib/mysql/ip-ww-xx-yy-zz.log |

When changes are made to the general_log_file GLOBAL variable, the new log is saved in the datadir. However, the fullpath may no longer be reflected by examining the variable.

In the case of no entry for general_log_file in the configuration file, it will default to @@hostname.log in the datadir.

Best practices are to turn OFF capture. Save the log file to a backup directory with a filename reflecting the begin/end datetime of the capture. Deleting the prior file if a filesystem move did not occur of that file. Establish a new filename for the log file and turn capture ON (all show below). Best practices also include a careful determination if you even want to capture at the moment. Typically, capture is ON for debugging purposes only.

A typical filesystem filename for a backed-up log might be:


where the date and time are part to the filename as a range.

For Windows note the following sequence with setting changes.

SELECT @@general_log; -- 0. Not being captured
SELECT @@general_log_file; -- C:\ProgramData\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.6\Data\GuySmiley.log
SELECT @@datadir; -- C:\ProgramData\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.7\Data\
SET GLOBAL general_log_file='GeneralLogBegin_20160803_1420.log'; -- datetime clue
SET GLOBAL general_log=1; -- Turns on actual log capture. File is created under `datadir`
SET GLOBAL general_log=0; -- Turn logging off

Linux is similar. These would represent dynamic changes. Any restart of the server would pick up configuration file settings.

As for the configuration file, consider the following relevant variable settings:

general_log_file = /path/to/currentquery.log
general_log      = 1

In addition, the variable log_output can be configured for TABLE output, not just FILE. For that, please see Destinations (opens new window).

Please see the MySQL Manual Page The General Query Log (opens new window).

# Error Log

The Error Log is populated with start and stop information, and critical events encountered by the server.

The following is an example of its contents:

enter image description here (opens new window)

The variable log_error holds the path to the log file for error logging.

In the absence of a configuration file entry for log_error, the system will default its values to @@hostname.err in the datadir. Note that log_error is not a dynamic variable. As such, changes are done through a cnf or ini file changes and a server restart (or by seeing "Flushing and Renaming the Error Log File" in the Manual Page link at the bottom here).

Logging cannot be disabled for errors. They are important for system health while troubleshooting problems. Also, entries are infrequent compared to the General Query Log.

The GLOBAL variable log_warnings sets the level for verbosity which varies by server version. The following snippet illustrates:

SELECT @@log_warnings; -- make a note of your prior setting
SET GLOBAL log_warnings=2; -- setting above 1 increases output (see server version)

log_warnings as seen above is a dynamic variable.

Configuration file changes in cnf and ini files might look like the following.

log_error        = /path/to/CurrentError.log
log_warnings     = 2

MySQL 5.7.2 expanded the warning level verbosity to 3 and added the GLOBAL log_error_verbosity. Again, it was introduced (opens new window) in 5.7.2. It can be set dynamically and checked as a variable or set via cnf or ini configuration file settings.

As of MySQL 5.7.2:

log_error           = /path/to/CurrentError.log
log_warnings        = 2
log_error_verbosity = 3 

Please see the MySQL Manual Page entitled The Error Log (opens new window) especially for Flushing and Renaming the Error Log file, and its Error Log Verbosity section with versions related to log_warnings and error_log_verbosity.