If you manage your own website you will inevitably run into problems related to its online availability or the proper functioning of its dynamic parts (online form, payments processing functionality, etc.). These problems may arise either from problems with the server where your site is hosted or from internal glitches in the platform it is built on. Whatever the reason, you will need to keep track of all those issues in order to react accordingly and eliminate them before it is too late and you lose your visitors.
What are log files?
Luckily, the Apache web server, lying in the basis of most of the websites today online, ensures a very efficient way for monitoring every single error or inconsistency arising on your site during its normal operational online condition. The server has the capability to keep record of all important activities on the site and store them as special log files like error logs, access logs, etc. These log files are presented to the users in a comprehensive, readable way, so they know what's going on their sites and take certain corrective actions if necessary.
What is an error log file?
Of all types of log files, the error log files are most important, since they can act as an indicator for any irregular performance of your site. The error log file records any errors that the server encounters in processing requests i.e. when your site is not able to respond to your visitors. The recorded comprehensive information contains details of what exactly went wrong, so you can find a way to fix it immediately.
Error log file contents
The error logs represent normal descriptive files, known as error_log files on Unix or error.log files on Windows and OS/2. Their exact format may vary from a system to system but they all contain similar information, including the date and time of the error entry, the seriousness of the reported error, the IP address of the client that has located the error, followed by details of the message itself and the file-system address of the requested document.
Example of an error log entry:[Tue Jun 11 17:32:52 2009] [error] [client 126.96.36.199] client denied by server: /export/home/live/ap/htdocs/testdoc
The errors recorded in the log file may be of different nature, which explains the variety of messages that can appear in the error log. Whatever the message, you can expect it to be written as in the example above. Apart from errors in processing request, the error log files can also contain debugging outputs generated by CGI scripts.
What is an Error Log Viewer?
For the important information they carry the error logs must be the first thing to check when a problem with your site occurs. To monitor your error logs you will need to have an Error Log Viewer tool at hand. The easiest way to get one is by asking your present or potential host whether an error log monitoring option is provided with their service. Most self-respected hosts offer an advanced, user-friendly error log tool integrated into their end-customer web hosting Control Panel.
An Error Log Viewer with NTC Hosting
If you are a customer of NTC Hosting, you will have the option to use a comprehensive, easy-to-read Error Log Viewer, integrated into the Access&Error logs section of your hosting Control Panel. The tool shares one interface with the Access Log Viewer tool where the information is conveniently organized and regularly actualized. Combining the two most important log report types in one interface, the Access & Error logs section will keep you updated in real time on how your site is performing in response to the customers' requests.
Mind to regularly check your Error Log Viewer statistics, even if no problem has been detected, so you can ensure a safe and efficient operation of your overall web presence round the clock.