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syslog-ng Premium Edition 7.0.12 - Administration Guide

Preface Introduction to syslog-ng The concepts of syslog-ng Installing syslog-ng The syslog-ng PE quick-start guide The syslog-ng PE configuration file Collecting log messages — sources and source drivers
How sources work default-network-drivers: Receive and parse common syslog messages internal: Collecting internal messages file: Collecting messages from text files wildcard-file: Collecting messages from multiple text files network: Collecting messages using the RFC3164 protocol (network() driver) osquery: Collect and parse osquery result logs pipe: Collecting messages from named pipes program: Receiving messages from external applications python: writing server-style Python sources python-fetcher: writing fetcher-style Python sources snmptrap: Read Net-SNMP traps sun-streams: Collecting messages on Sun Solaris syslog: Collecting messages using the IETF syslog protocol (syslog() driver) system: Collecting the system-specific log messages of a platform systemd-journal: Collecting messages from the systemd-journal system log storage systemd-syslog: Collecting systemd messages using a socket tcp, tcp6, udp, udp6: Collecting messages from remote hosts using the BSD syslog protocol unix-stream, unix-dgram: Collecting messages from UNIX domain sockets windowsevent: Collecting Windows event logs
Sending and storing log messages — destinations and destination drivers
elasticsearch: Sending messages directly to Elasticsearch version 1.x elasticsearch2: Sending messages directly to Elasticsearch version 2.0 or higher file: Storing messages in plain-text files hdfs: Storing messages on the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) http: Posting messages over HTTP kafka: Publishing messages to Apache Kafka logstore: Storing messages in encrypted files mongodb: Storing messages in a MongoDB database network: Sending messages to a remote log server using the RFC3164 protocol (network() driver) pipe: Sending messages to named pipes program: Sending messages to external applications python: writing custom Python destinations smtp: Generating SMTP messages (e-mail) from logs splunk-hec: Sending messages to Splunk HTTP Event Collector sql: Storing messages in an SQL database syslog: Sending messages to a remote logserver using the IETF-syslog protocol syslog-ng: Forwarding messages and tags to another syslog-ng node tcp, tcp6, udp, udp6: Sending messages to a remote log server using the legacy BSD-syslog protocol (tcp(), udp() drivers) unix-stream, unix-dgram: Sending messages to UNIX domain sockets usertty: Sending messages to a user terminal — usertty() destination Client-side failover
Routing messages: log paths, flags, and filters Global options of syslog-ng PE TLS-encrypted message transfer Advanced Log Transfer Protocol Reliability and minimizing the loss of log messages Manipulating messages parser: Parse and segment structured messages Processing message content with a pattern database Correlating log messages Enriching log messages with external data Monitoring statistics and metrics of syslog-ng Multithreading and scaling in syslog-ng PE Troubleshooting syslog-ng Best practices and examples The syslog-ng manual pages About us

unix-stream() and unix-dgram() source options

These two drivers behave similarly: they open an AF_UNIX socket and start listening on it for messages. The following options can be specified for these drivers:

Type: yes or no
Default: no

Description: Enable creating non-existing directories when creating the socket files.

Type: string

Description: Specifies the characterset (encoding, for example UTF-8) of messages using the legacy BSD-syslog protocol. To list the available character sets on a host, execute the iconv -l command. For details on how encoding affects the size of the message, see Message size and encoding.

Type: assume-utf8, empty-lines, expect-hostname, kernel, no-hostname, no-multi-line, no-parse, sanitize-utf8, store-legacy-msghdr, store-raw-message, syslog-protocol, validate-utf8
Default: empty set

Description: Specifies the log parsing options of the source.

  • assume-utf8: The assume-utf8 flag assumes that the incoming messages are UTF-8 encoded, but does not verify the encoding. If you explicitly want to validate the UTF-8 encoding of the incoming message, use the validate-utf8 flag.

  • empty-lines: Use the empty-lines flag to keep the empty lines of the messages. By default, syslog-ng PE removes empty lines automatically.

  • expect-hostname: If the expect-hostname flag is enabled, syslog-ng PE will assume that the log message contains a hostname and parse the message accordingly. This is the default behavior for TCP sources. Note that pipe sources use the no-hostname flag by default.

  • kernel: The kernel flag makes the source default to the LOG_KERN | LOG_NOTICE priority if not specified otherwise.

  • no-hostname: Enable the no-hostname flag if the log message does not include the hostname of the sender host. That way syslog-ng PE assumes that the first part of the message header is ${PROGRAM} instead of ${HOST}. For example:

    source s_dell {
  • no-multi-line: The no-multi-line flag disables line-breaking in the messages: the entire message is converted to a single line. Note that this happens only if the underlying transport method actually supports multi-line messages. Currently the file() and pipe() drivers support multi-line messages.

  • no-parse: By default, syslog-ng PE parses incoming messages as syslog messages. The no-parse flag completely disables syslog message parsing and processes the complete line as the message part of a syslog message. The syslog-ng PE application will generate a new syslog header (timestamp, host, and so on) automatically and put the entire incoming message into the MESSAGE part of the syslog message (available using the ${MESSAGE} macro). This flag is useful for parsing messages not complying to the syslog format.

    If you are using the flags(no-parse) option, then syslog message parsing is completely disabled, and the entire incoming message is treated as the ${MESSAGE} part of a syslog message. In this case, syslog-ng PE generates a new syslog header (timestamp, host, and so on) automatically. Note that since flags(no-parse) disables message parsing, it interferes with other flags, for example, disables flags(no-multi-line).

  • dont-store-legacy-msghdr: By default, syslog-ng stores the original incoming header of the log message. This is useful if the original format of a non-syslog-compliant message must be retained (syslog-ng automatically corrects minor header errors, for example, adds a whitespace before msg in the following message: Jan 22 10:06:11 host program:msg). If you do not want to store the original header of the message, enable the dont-store-legacy-msghdr flag.

  • sanitize-utf8: When using the sanitize-utf8 flag, syslog-ng PE converts non-UTF-8 input to an escaped form, which is valid UTF-8.

  • store-raw-message: Save the original message as received from the client in the ${RAWMSG} macro. You can forward this raw message in its original form to another syslog-ng node using the syslog-ng() destination, or to a SIEM system, ensuring that the SIEM can process it. Available only in 7.0.9 and later.

  • syslog-protocol: The syslog-protocol flag specifies that incoming messages are expected to be formatted according to the new IETF syslog protocol standard (RFC5424), but without the frame header. Note that this flag is not needed for the syslog driver, which handles only messages that have a frame header.

  • validate-utf8: The validate-utf8 flag enables encoding-verification for messages formatted according to the new IETF syslog standard (for details, see IETF-syslog messages). If theBOM1character is missing, but the message is otherwise UTF-8 compliant, syslog-ng automatically adds the BOM character to the message.

Type: string
Default: root

Description: Set the gid of the socket.

Type: string

Description: Replaces the ${HOST} part of the message with the parameter string.

Type: yes or no
Default: yes

Description: Selects whether to keep connections open when syslog-ng is restarted, cannot be used with unix-dgram().

Type: yes or no
Default: yes

Description: Specifies whether syslog-ng should accept the timestamp received from the sending application or client. If disabled, the time of reception will be used instead. This option can be specified globally, and per-source as well. The local setting of the source overrides the global option if available.


To use the S_ macros, the keep-timestamp() option must be enabled (this is the default behavior of syslog-ng PE).

Type: number
Default: 10

Description: The maximum number of messages fetched from a source during a single poll loop. The destination queues might fill up before flow-control could stop reading if log-fetch-limit() is too high.

Type: number
Default: 100

Description: The size of the initial window, this value is used during flow control. For details on flow control, see Managing incoming and outgoing messages with flow-control.

Type: number (bytes)
Default: Use the global log-msg-size() option, which defaults to 65536.

Description: Maximum length of a message in bytes. This length includes the entire message (the data structure and individual fields). The maximal value that can be set is 268435456 bytes (256MB). For messages using the IETF-syslog message format (RFC5424), the maximal size of the value of an SDATA field is 64kB.

In most cases, it is not recommended to set log-msg-size() higher than 10 MiB.

For details on how encoding affects the size of the message, see Message size and encoding.

Uses the value of the global option if not specified.

log-prefix() (DEPRECATED)
Type: string

Description: A string added to the beginning of every log message. It can be used to add an arbitrary string to any log source, though it is most commonly used for adding kernel: to the kernel messages on Linux. NOTE: This option is deprecated. Use program-override() instead.

Type: number (simultaneous connections)
Default: 256

Description: Limits the number of simultaneously open connections. Cannot be used with unix-dgram().

Type: yes or no

Description: Instruct syslog-ng to ignore the error if a specific source cannot be initialized. No other attempts to initialize the source will be made until the configuration is reloaded. This option currently applies to the pipe(), unix-dgram, and unix-stream drivers.

Type: string
Default: root

Description: Set the uid of the socket.

Type: number
Default: 0

Description: Specifies input padding. Some operating systems (such as HP-UX) pad all messages to block boundary. This option can be used to specify the block size. The syslog-ng PE application will pad reads from the associated device to the number of bytes set in pad-size(). Mostly used on HP-UX where /dev/log is a named pipe and every write is padded to 2048 bytes. If pad-size() was given and the incoming message does not fit into pad-size(), syslog-ng will not read anymore from this pipe and displays the following error message:

Padding was set, and couldn't read enough bytes
Type: number (octal notation)
Default: 0666

Description: Set the permission mask. For octal numbers prefix the number with '0', for example: use 0755 for rwxr-xr-x.

Type: string

Description: Replaces the ${PROGRAM} part of the message with the parameter string. For example, to mark every message coming from the kernel, include the program-override("kernel") option in the source containing /proc/kmsg.

Type: yes or no
Default: no

Description: Enables keep-alive messages, keeping the socket open. This only effects TCP and UNIX-stream sockets. For details, see the socket(7) manual page.

Type: number
Default: 0

Description: Specifies the size of the socket receive buffer in bytes. For details, see the socket(7) manual page.


When receiving messages using the UDP protocol, increase the size of the UDP receive buffer on the receiver host (that is, the syslog-ng PE server or relay receiving the messages). Note that on certain platforms, for example, on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, even low message load (~200 messages per second) can result in message loss, unless the so-rcvbuf() option of the source is increased. In such cases, you will need to increase the net.core.rmem_max parameter of the host (for example, to 1024000), but do not modify net.core.rmem_default parameter.

As a general rule, increase the so-rcvbuf() so that the buffer size in kilobytes is higher than the rate of incoming messages per second. For example, to receive 2000 messages per second, set the so-rcvbuf() at least to 2 097 152 bytes.

Type: string

Description: Label the messages received from the source with custom tags. Tags must be unique, and enclosed between double quotes. When adding multiple tags, separate them with comma, for example tags("dmz", "router"). This option is available only in syslog-ng 3.1 and later.

Type: name of the timezone, or the timezone offset

Description: The default timezone for messages read from the source. Applies only if no timezone is specified within the message itself.

The timezone can be specified as using the name of the (for example time-zone("Europe/Budapest")), or as the timezone offset in +/-HH:MM format (for example +01:00). On Linux and UNIX platforms, the valid timezone names are listed under the /usr/share/zoneinfo directory.

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