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Web Server Log File Analysis with Analog continued...

What is a Log File?

A web server log is a plain text file. Each entry is one line apiece, each recording the access of just one of your documents by a visitor's browser.

The format of the entries in the file is different, depending both on the web server software you use, and the server's configuration.

Here are a couple of log entries from my current log file, which was created by the Apache web server that my hosting service uses. The entry lines are too long to fit nicely in this page, so I've broken each one up over several lines:

219-88-44-141.dialup.xtra.co.nz - - [01/Nov/2004:00:04:15 -0800] "GET /tips/getting-started/article.css HTTP/1.1" 304 - "http://www.goingware.com/tips/getting-started/byteorder.html" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.23 [en]" 163.232.8.191 - - [01/Nov/2004:00:04:36 -0800] "GET /tips/legal-downloads.html HTTP/1.0" 200 77223 "http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=free+music+downloads" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; Central TAFE; .NET CLR 1.0.3705)"

The information given in each of the lines is:

The Internet address may be given as a numerical IP address or as a domain name. This depends on the configuration of your server; either it may not have been able to resolve the domain name, or the server might be configured for performance reasons to not look up the domain name.

The HTTP GET request is used to fetch an entire document. The filename is taken from the document's URL with the protocol (http:) and domain name (//www.goingware.com) stripped off.

In the first line, the GET is requesting a CSS stylesheet located at:

http://www.goingware.com/tips/getting-started/article.css.

The 304 status code in the first log entry indicates that article.css has not been modified since it was last fetched by the client browser. No file data is sent with a 304 response, so the number of file bytes transferred is given as "-".

The second log entry has a status code of 200, meaning "OK"; the entire file at the requested location is transferred, with the number of bytes given being the size of the file.

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