How to configure logging to syslog in Python?

Each Answer to this Q is separated by one/two green lines.

I can’t get my head around Python’s logging module. My needs are very simple: I just want to log everything to syslog. After reading documentation I came up with this simple test script:

import logging
import logging.handlers

my_logger = logging.getLogger('MyLogger')

handler = logging.handlers.SysLogHandler()


my_logger.debug('this is debug')
my_logger.critical('this is critical')

But this script does not produce any log records in syslog. What’s wrong?

Change the line to this:

handler = SysLogHandler(address="/dev/log")

This works for me

import logging
import logging.handlers

my_logger = logging.getLogger('MyLogger')

handler = logging.handlers.SysLogHandler(address="/dev/log")


my_logger.debug('this is debug')
my_logger.critical('this is critical')

You should always use the local host for logging, whether to /dev/log or localhost through the TCP stack. This allows the fully RFC compliant and featureful system logging daemon to handle syslog. This eliminates the need for the remote daemon to be functional and provides the enhanced capabilities of syslog daemon’s such as rsyslog and syslog-ng for instance. The same philosophy goes for SMTP. Just hand it to the local SMTP software. In this case use ‘program mode’ not the daemon, but it’s the same idea. Let the more capable software handle it. Retrying, queuing, local spooling, using TCP instead of UDP for syslog and so forth become possible. You can also [re-]configure those daemons separately from your code as it should be.

Save your coding for your application, let other software do it’s job in concert.

I found the syslog module to make it quite easy to get the basic logging behavior you describe:

import syslog
syslog.syslog("This is a test message")
syslog.syslog(syslog.LOG_INFO, "Test message at INFO priority")

There are other things you could do, too, but even just the first two lines of that will get you what you’ve asked for as I understand it.

Piecing things together from here and other places, this is what I came up with that works on unbuntu 12.04 and centOS6

Create an file in /etc/rsyslog.d/ that ends in .conf and add the following text

local6.*        /var/log/my-logfile

Restart rsyslog, reloading did NOT seem to work for the new log files. Maybe it only reloads existing conf files?

sudo restart rsyslog

Then you can use this test program to make sure it actually works.

import logging, sys
from logging import config

    'version': 1,
    'disable_existing_loggers': False,
    'formatters': {
        'verbose': {
            'format': '%(levelname)s %(module)s P%(process)d T%(thread)d %(message)s'
    'handlers': {
        'stdout': {
            'class': 'logging.StreamHandler',
            'stream': sys.stdout,
            'formatter': 'verbose',
        'sys-logger6': {
            'class': 'logging.handlers.SysLogHandler',
            'address': '/dev/log',
            'facility': "local6",
            'formatter': 'verbose',
    'loggers': {
        'my-logger': {
            'handlers': ['sys-logger6','stdout'],
            'level': logging.DEBUG,
            'propagate': True,


logger = logging.getLogger("my-logger")


I add a little extra comment just in case it helps anyone because I found this exchange useful but needed this little extra bit of info to get it all working.

To log to a specific facility using SysLogHandler you need to specify the facility value.
Say for example that you have defined:

local3.* /var/log/mylog

in syslog, then you’ll want to use:

handler = logging.handlers.SysLogHandler(address = ('localhost',514), facility=19)

and you also need to have syslog listening on UDP to use localhost instead of /dev/log.

Is your syslog.conf set up to handle facility=user?

You can set the facility used by the python logger with the facility argument, something like this:

handler = logging.handlers.SysLogHandler(facility=SysLogHandler.LOG_DAEMON)

import syslog
syslog.openlog(ident="LOG_IDENTIFIER",logoption=syslog.LOG_PID, facility=syslog.LOG_LOCAL0)
syslog.syslog('Log processing initiated...')

the above script will log to LOCAL0 facility with our custom “LOG_IDENTIFIER”…
you can use LOCAL[0-7] for local purpose.


# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

Implements a new handler for the logging module which uses the pure syslog python module.

@author:  Luis Martin Gil
@year: 2013
import logging
import syslog

class SysLogLibHandler(logging.Handler):
    """A logging handler that emits messages to syslog.syslog."""
    FACILITY = [syslog.LOG_LOCAL0,
    def __init__(self, n):
        """ Pre. (0 <= n <= 7) """
            syslog.openlog(logoption=syslog.LOG_PID, facility=self.FACILITY[n])
        except Exception , err:
                syslog.openlog(syslog.LOG_PID, self.FACILITY[n])
            except Exception, err:
                    syslog.openlog('my_ident', syslog.LOG_PID, self.FACILITY[n])
        # We got it

    def emit(self, record):

if __name__ == '__main__':
    """ Lets play with the log class. """
    # Some variables we need
    _id = 'myproj_v2.0'
    logFacilityLocalN = 1

    # Defines a logging level and logging format based on a given string key.
    LOG_ATTR = {'debug': (logging.DEBUG,
                          _id + ' %(levelname)-9s %(name)-15s %(threadName)-14s +%(lineno)-4d %(message)s'),
                'info': (logging.INFO,
                         _id + ' %(levelname)-9s %(message)s'),
                'warning': (logging.WARNING,
                            _id + ' %(levelname)-9s %(message)s'),
                'error': (logging.ERROR,
                          _id + ' %(levelname)-9s %(message)s'),
                'critical': (logging.CRITICAL,
                             _id + ' %(levelname)-9s %(message)s')}
    loglevel, logformat = LOG_ATTR[logStr]

    # Configuring the logger
    logger = logging.getLogger()

    # Clearing previous logs
    logger.handlers = []

    # Setting formaters and adding handlers.
    formatter = logging.Formatter(logformat)
    handlers = []
    for h in handlers:

    # Yep!
    logging.debug('test debug')'test info')
    logging.warning('test warning')
    logging.error('test error')
    logging.critical('test critical')

Here’s the yaml dictConfig way recommended for 3.2 & later.

In log cfg.yml:

version: 1
disable_existing_loggers: true

        format: "[%(process)d] %(name)s(%(funcName)s:%(lineno)s) - %(levelname)s: %(message)s"

        class: logging.handlers.SysLogHandler
        level: DEBUG
        formatter: default
        address: /dev/log
        facility: local0

        class: logging.handlers.RotatingFileHandler
        level: DEBUG
        formatter: default
        filename: rotating.log
        maxBytes: 10485760 # 10MB
        backupCount: 20
        encoding: utf8

    level: DEBUG
    handlers: [syslog, rotating_file]
    propogate: yes

        level: DEBUG
        handlers: [syslog, rotating_file]
        propogate: yes

Load the config using:

log_config = yaml.safe_load(open('cfg.yml'))

Configured both syslog & a direct file. Note that the /dev/log is OS specific.

I fix it on my notebook. The rsyslog service did not listen on socket service.

I config this line bellow in /etc/rsyslog.conf file and solved the problem:

$SystemLogSocketName /dev/log

I use JSON logging and wanted use SysLogHandler with UDP port 514. Eventually got JSON handler config working. In the handlers section, I have:

    "syslog": {
        "class": "logging.handlers.SysLogHandler",
        "address": ["", 514],
        "facility": "local6",
        "formatter": "syslog_fmt"

Didn’t find this anywhere else.

To be clearer about what is going on here: this is only for python code, and using python’s built in logging module. The module allows format and destination(s) of the log messages to be configured. One way to configure the log format and destination(s) is by using a JSON file that is used to configure the logging.

The above example allowed me to send log messages to a syslog daemon.

A complete example of such a file is included below.

    "version": 1,
    "disable_existing_loggers": "False",
    "formatters": {
        "verbose": {
            "format": "%(asctime)s:%(levelname)s:%(process)d:%(filename)s:%(funcName)s:L%(lineno)d:%(message)s"
        "syslog": {
            "format": "%(levelname)s:%(process)d:%(filename)s:%(funcName)s:L%(lineno)d:%(message)s"
    "handlers": {
        "console": {
            "formatter": "standard"
        "syslog": {
        "class": "logging.handlers.SysLogHandler",
        "address": ["", 514],
        "facility": "local6",
        "formatter": "syslog_fmt"
    "loggers": {
        "": {
            "handlers": ["console","syslog"],
            "level": "DEBUG",
            "propagate": "True"

The example above sends python log messages to both syslog and the console. The format of messages for destinations is different (syslog already prefixes each message with a timestamp). For the syslog destination, the log uses facility LOCAL6.

You can also add a file handler or rotating file handler to send your logs to a local file:

The answers/resolutions are collected from stackoverflow, are licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0 .

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