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MySQL 8.0 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Server Log Maintenance

5.4.7 Server Log Maintenance

As described in Section 5.4, “MySQL Server Logs”, MySQL Server can create several different log files to help you see what activity is taking place. However, you must clean up these files regularly to ensure that the logs do not take up too much disk space.

When using MySQL with logging enabled, you may want to back up and remove old log files from time to time and tell MySQL to start logging to new files. See Section 7.2, “Database Backup Methods”.

On a Linux (Red Hat) installation, you can use the mysql-log-rotate script for this. If you installed MySQL from an RPM distribution, this script should have been installed automatically. Be careful with this script if you are using the binary log for replication. You should not remove binary logs until you are certain that their contents have been processed by all slaves.

On other systems, you must install a short script yourself that you start from cron (or its equivalent) for handling log files.

Binary log files are automatically removed after the server's binary log expiration period. Removal of the files can take place at startup and when the binary log is flushed. The default binary log expiration period is 30 days. You can specify an alternative expiration period using the binlog_expire_logs_seconds system variable. If you are using replication, you should specify an expiration period that is no lower than the maximum amount of time your slaves might lag behind the master. To remove binary logs on demand, use the PURGE BINARY LOGS statement (see Section, “PURGE BINARY LOGS Syntax”).

You can force MySQL to start using new log files by flushing the logs. Log flushing occurs when you issue a FLUSH LOGS statement or execute a mysqladmin flush-logs, mysqladmin refresh, mysqldump --flush-logs, or mysqldump --master-data command. See Section, “FLUSH Syntax”, Section 4.5.2, “mysqladmin — Client for Administering a MySQL Server”, and Section 4.5.4, “mysqldump — A Database Backup Program”. In addition, the binary log is flushed when its size reaches the value of the max_binlog_size system variable.

FLUSH LOGS supports optional modifiers to enable selective flushing of individual logs (for example, FLUSH BINARY LOGS).

A log-flushing operation does the following:

  • If general query logging or slow query logging to a log file is enabled, the server closes and reopens the general query log file or slow query log file.

  • If binary logging is enabled, the server closes the current binary log file and opens a new log file with the next sequence number.

  • If the server was started with the --log-error option to cause the error log to be written to a file, the server closes and reopens the log file.

The server creates a new binary log file when you flush the logs. However, it just closes and reopens the general and slow query log files. To cause new files to be created on Unix, rename the current log files before flushing them. At flush time, the server opens new log files with the original names. For example, if the general and slow query log files are named mysql.log and mysql-slow.log, you can use a series of commands like this:

shell> cd mysql-data-directory
shell> mv mysql.log mysql.old
shell> mv mysql-slow.log mysql-slow.old
shell> mysqladmin flush-logs

On Windows, use rename rather than mv.

At this point, you can make a backup of mysql.old and mysql-slow.old and then remove them from disk.

A similar strategy can be used to back up the error log file, if there is one.

You can rename the general query log or slow query log at runtime by disabling the log:

SET GLOBAL general_log = 'OFF';
SET GLOBAL slow_query_log = 'OFF';

With the logs disabled, rename the log files externally (for example, from the command line). Then enable the logs again:

SET GLOBAL general_log = 'ON';
SET GLOBAL slow_query_log = 'ON';

This method works on any platform and does not require a server restart.


For the server to recreate a given log file after you have renamed the file externally, the file location must be writable by the server. This may not always be the case. For example, on Linux, the server might write the error log as /var/log/mysqld.log, where /var/log is owned by root and not writable by mysqld. In this case, the log-flushing operation will fail to create a new log file.

To handle this situation, you must manually create the new log file with the proper ownershiop after renaming the original log file. For example, execute these commands as root:

shell> mv /var/log/mysqld.log /var/log/mysqld.log.old
shell> install -omysql -gmysql -m0644 /dev/null /var/log/mysqld.log