WebDev Tip: Check Your Apache Logs CodeUnit 13 DEC 2009

apache_logoSo you’re a web developer right? Design and create great sites, earn a fortune and live like a rockstar, that kind of thing I’m sure? But here’s a question – how often do you investigate the web server logs during development phase?

Now I’m not talking about PHP log files, I’m sure you’re forever parsing through those to ensure that all warnings, errors and notices are taken care of, no, I’m talking specifically about the log files for the web server itself in this particular instance.

I recently, completely per chance (actually by accident) clicked on the apache error.log file sitting in the apacher server logs directory and was astonished to find a couple of “File does not exist” entries pointing directly to a project that has been running live for quite some time already! They related to conditional includes on a javascript file (I had mid-track switched to using a minified version and forgot to clean up on the subsequent script filename change) as well as some erroneously referenced image folders stemming from css file inclusions.

Had I never accidentally clicked on the web server log I would never have located these breaks and the system would have quietly run for years without anyone picking up on these errors that, although don’t break the system, do cost resource time in terms of missed hits etc.

So do yourself a favour in the future Mr. Web Developer. Add your web server error logs to the other log files that you keep a squint eye on from time to time – you’ll be quite surprised at what hidden gems it might throw up at you!

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.