Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to Server Log Format

Posted by S. Y. on

What format does AOLServer use for it's server logs and does it conform to one of these formats?

I don't remember what format AOLserver nslog defaults to, but you can certainly set it explicitly under the nslog section of your nsd.tcl file.

    ns_section "ns/server/yourserver/module/nslog"
    ns_param logcombined true

which corresponds to NCSA combined log format.

I'm currently running Apache and freeware Webalizer and there's no need to copy server log files to a web-accessible area of the html document root. My log analysis cron job runs as root, so it really doesn't matter where the output files land. With Apache, you can alias directories (e.g., /usr/local/webalizer/htdocs is aliased as "/usage/" for the web server). I forget if AOLserver can do this, but you can always symlink to the target directory 9 (i.e., ln -s /web/yourserver/www/admin/monitor/webalizer /usr/local/webalizer/htdocs).

Any hints for tracking visitors coming to our site?

You will have to diddle with the settings yourself. You may want to group everything from the * domain. There are probably sections for ignoring *.jpg, *.gif, and *.css files. You may need to ignore certain referrers (e.g., localhost, if you do development and production on the same box or if you run a search engine like htdig). You may want to ignore certain IP addresses and hosts (e.g., your company's firewall, your home DSL box, etc.).

The best is to set it up, let it run, and tweak the configuration over a week or two until you're getting the kind of reports that you/your client wants. Run the log analysis when traffic is lowest (for me, that's 4 A.M. Pacific Time).

Good luck.