FreeBSD Log Files

Elvin Aslanov
1 min readJul 16, 2022

These are defined by system’s syslogd daemon in its syslog.conf configuration file.

  • messages: acting as a catch-all file (Facility: * all)
  • auth.log: sshd, sudo, proftpd (Facility: auth and authpriv)
    Called authlog and secure in OpenBSD, respectively.
  • maillog: postfix, sqlgrey (Facility: mail)
  • cron: cron (facility cron)
    Called log and put into /var/cron in OpenBSD.
  • debug.log: kernel, dovecot, rex (with -d option) (Facility: debug)
  • daemon.log: snmp_exporter, pdns, pdns_recursor(Facility: daemon)
    Calleddaemon in OpenBSD.
    Logging to this file was added with FreeBSD 13.0.
  • xferlog: ftpd, proftpd (Facility: ftp)

There are also FreeBSD log files not managed by the syslogd daemon and written into by programs.

  • userlog: pw (for groupadd, groupdel, groupmod,useradd, userdel usermod subcommands), adduser, rmuser
    and rmuser are pw front-end shell scripts
  • utx.log (binary): last
    see also the /var/run/ database used by w and who commands

The directory these files are put into is /var/loglocated within the system’s/var partition.

As seen already OpenBSD’s syslogd and it’s configuration differ slightly.



Elvin Aslanov

Unix and Open Source Software passionate. Currently working as Tech Support / System Administrator at a Web Hosting company.