How To See Ec2 Logs

How To Articles

Have you ever needed to troubleshoot an issue on your Amazon EC2 instance and wondered how to access the logs? As a cloud enthusiast and avid AWS user, I’ve had my fair share of encounters with log files on EC2 instances. In this article, I will guide you through the process of accessing and viewing EC2 logs, sharing some personal insights and tips along the way.

Introduction to EC2 Logs

Before we dive into the details, let’s first understand what logs are and why they are important. Logs are files that record events and activities happening on your EC2 instance. They contain valuable information such as system errors, application logs, and user activities. By analyzing these logs, you can gain insights into the health and performance of your instance and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Types of EC2 Logs

There are several types of logs available on an EC2 instance. Here are some of the most commonly used ones:

  • System logs: These logs, also known as system console output, contain messages from the instance’s operating system. They provide insights into system-level events, including boot messages, kernel messages, and hardware initialization data.
  • Application logs: Application logs are generated by the software running on your EC2 instance. They can include error logs, debug logs, and application-specific messages. Examples include Apache access logs or application-specific log files like Laravel’s storage/logs/laravel.log
  • Web server logs: If your EC2 instance is hosting a web application, you may have web server logs such as Apache or Nginx access logs. These logs record details about incoming requests, response codes, and server errors.
  • Database logs: If your EC2 instance hosts a database, such as MySQL or PostgreSQL, the database logs can provide insights into database activities, query performance, and errors.

Accessing EC2 Logs

Now that we have a good understanding of the types of EC2 logs let’s look at how we can access them.

Using SSH to Access Logs

The most common way to access EC2 logs is through SSH (Secure Shell). SSH allows secure remote access to your EC2 instance’s command line interface. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to access logs using SSH:

  1. Open your preferred SSH client (e.g., Terminal on macOS or PuTTY on Windows).
  2. Retrieve the SSH key pair you used to launch your EC2 instance.
  3. Locate the public IP address or DNS name of your EC2 instance.
  4. Establish an SSH connection using the following command:

ssh -i path/to/your/private/key.pem ec2-user@public-ip-or-dns

Replace path/to/your/private/key.pem with the actual path to your private key file and public-ip-or-dns with the IP address or DNS name of your EC2 instance.

Once you have successfully connected to your EC2 instance via SSH, you can navigate to the relevant log directories and view the log files using commands like cd and cat.

Using Amazon CloudWatch

Another powerful tool for accessing and managing EC2 logs is Amazon CloudWatch. CloudWatch provides a centralized platform for monitoring and collecting log data from your EC2 instances.

To access EC2 logs using CloudWatch, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the AWS Management Console and open the CloudWatch service.
  2. In the left navigation pane, click on “Logs” and then “Log groups”.
  3. Select the desired log group associated with your EC2 instance.
  4. Within the log group, you can view and filter log events based on various criteria.

CloudWatch also offers advanced features such as log streaming, log insights, and alarms, allowing for real-time log analysis and proactive monitoring of your EC2 instances.


Accessing EC2 logs is a crucial skill for any AWS user. Whether you choose to access logs directly via SSH or leverage the power of Amazon CloudWatch, having visibility into the inner workings of your EC2 instances can greatly assist with troubleshooting and optimizing performance.

I hope this article has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of how to see EC2 logs. By following the steps outlined here, you’ll be well-equipped to dive into the world of EC2 logs and extract valuable insights to enhance your AWS experience.