Where Are Docker Logs

Operating Systems

As a software developer, I often find myself working with Docker to deploy and manage applications. One of the common tasks when working with Docker is monitoring and troubleshooting application logs. In this article, I will delve into the details of where Docker logs are located, and I’ll share some personal insights and tips based on my own experiences.

Understanding Docker Logging

When running applications in Docker containers, it’s crucial to have access to the logs for troubleshooting, performance monitoring, and debugging. Docker provides several options for managing and accessing logs that include built-in logging drivers and commands to view container logs.

Default Logging Driver

Docker uses a default logging driver that captures the container’s STDOUT and STDERR streams. By default, Docker uses the json-file logging driver, which writes logs to JSON files on the Docker host. These log files are stored in a directory specific to each container.

Accessing Container Logs

To access the logs of a running container, I typically use the docker logs [container_name] command. This command allows me to view the STDOUT and STDERR output of the container in real-time, making it a valuable tool for troubleshooting and monitoring.

Customizing Logging in Docker

While the default logging driver works well for many use cases, Docker also provides the flexibility to customize logging based on specific requirements. Docker supports various logging drivers such as syslog, journald, fluentd, and more.

Using a Custom Logging Driver

When a custom logging driver is required, I configure it in the Docker run command using the --log-driver option. This allows me to route container logs to external logging systems or services, providing centralized log management and analysis.

Monitoring and Aggregating Logs

For more comprehensive log management, I often leverage tools like ELK Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) or Splunk to collect, index, and visualize Docker container logs. These tools enable me to monitor application behavior, analyze log data, and set up alerts for critical events.


Understanding where Docker logs are located and how to access them is a fundamental aspect of managing containerized applications. Whether using the default logging driver or customizing logging with external services, Docker provides a range of options for effective log management. By mastering Docker logging, developers and operators can gain valuable insights into application behavior and efficiently troubleshoot issues as they arise.