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7.4.5 The Slow Query Log

The slow query log consists of SQL statements that take more than long_query_time seconds to execute and require at least min_examined_row_limit rows to be examined. The slow query log can be used to find queries that take a long time to execute and are therefore candidates for optimization. However, examining a long slow query log can be a time-consuming task. To make this easier, you can use the mysqldumpslow command to process a slow query log file and summarize its contents. See Section 6.6.10, “mysqldumpslow — Summarize Slow Query Log Files”.

The time to acquire the initial locks is not counted as execution time. mysqld writes a statement to the slow query log after it has been executed and after all locks have been released, so log order might differ from execution order.

Slow Query Log Parameters

The minimum and default values of long_query_time are 0 and 10, respectively. The value can be specified to a resolution of microseconds.

By default, administrative statements are not logged, nor are queries that do not use indexes for lookups. This behavior can be changed using log_slow_admin_statements and log_queries_not_using_indexes, as described later.

By default, the slow query log is disabled. To specify the initial slow query log state explicitly, use --slow_query_log[={0|1}]. With no argument or an argument of 1, --slow_query_log enables the log. With an argument of 0, this option disables the log. To specify a log file name, use --slow_query_log_file=file_name. To specify the log destination, use the log_output system variable (as described in Section 7.4.1, “Selecting General Query Log and Slow Query Log Output Destinations”).


If you specify the TABLE log destination, see Log Tables and Too many open files Errors.

If you specify no name for the slow query log file, the default name is host_name-slow.log. The server creates the file in the data directory unless an absolute path name is given to specify a different directory.

To disable or enable the slow query log or change the log file name at runtime, use the global slow_query_log and slow_query_log_file system variables. Set slow_query_log to 0 to disable the log or to 1 to enable it. Set slow_query_log_file to specify the name of the log file. If a log file already is open, it is closed and the new file is opened.

The server writes less information to the slow query log if you use the --log-short-format option.

To include slow administrative statements in the slow query log, enable the log_slow_admin_statements system variable. Administrative statements include ALTER TABLE, ANALYZE TABLE, CHECK TABLE, CREATE INDEX, DROP INDEX, OPTIMIZE TABLE, and REPAIR TABLE.

To include queries that do not use indexes for row lookups in the statements written to the slow query log, enable the log_queries_not_using_indexes system variable. (Even with that variable enabled, the server does not log queries that would not benefit from the presence of an index due to the table having fewer than two rows.)

When queries that do not use an index are logged, the slow query log may grow quickly. It is possible to put a rate limit on these queries by setting the log_throttle_queries_not_using_indexes system variable. By default, this variable is 0, which means there is no limit. Positive values impose a per-minute limit on logging of queries that do not use indexes. The first such query opens a 60-second window within which the server logs queries up to the given limit, then suppresses additional queries. If there are suppressed queries when the window ends, the server logs a summary that indicates how many there were and the aggregate time spent in them. The next 60-second window begins when the server logs the next query that does not use indexes.

The server uses the controlling parameters in the following order to determine whether to write a query to the slow query log:

  1. The query must either not be an administrative statement, or log_slow_admin_statements must be enabled.

  2. The query must have taken at least long_query_time seconds, or log_queries_not_using_indexes must be enabled and the query used no indexes for row lookups.

  3. The query must have examined at least min_examined_row_limit rows.

  4. The query must not be suppressed according to the log_throttle_queries_not_using_indexes setting.

The log_timestamps system variable controls the time zone of timestamps in messages written to the slow query log file (as well as to the general query log file and the error log). It does not affect the time zone of general query log and slow query log messages written to log tables, but rows retrieved from those tables can be converted from the local system time zone to any desired time zone with CONVERT_TZ() or by setting the session time_zone system variable.

By default, a replica does not write replicated queries to the slow query log. To change this, enable the log_slow_replica_statements system variable. Note that if row-based replication is in use (binlog_format=ROW), these system variables have no effect. Queries are only added to the replica's slow query log when they are logged in statement format in the binary log, that is, when binlog_format=STATEMENT is set, or when binlog_format=MIXED is set and the statement is logged in statement format. Slow queries that are logged in row format when binlog_format=MIXED is set, or that are logged when binlog_format=ROW is set, are not added to the replica's slow query log, even if log_slow_replica_statements is enabled.

Slow Query Log Contents

When the slow query log is enabled, the server writes output to any destinations specified by the log_output system variable. If you enable the log, the server opens the log file and writes startup messages to it. However, further logging of queries to the file does not occur unless the FILE log destination is selected. If the destination is NONE, the server writes no queries even if the slow query log is enabled. Setting the log file name has no effect on logging if FILE is not selected as an output destination.

If the slow query log is enabled and FILE is selected as an output destination, each statement written to the log is preceded by a line that begins with a # character and has these fields (with all fields on a single line):

  • Query_time: duration

    The statement execution time in seconds.

  • Lock_time: duration

    The time to acquire locks in seconds.

  • Rows_sent: N

    The number of rows sent to the client.

  • Rows_examined:

    The number of rows examined by the server layer (not counting any processing internal to storage engines).

Enabling the log_slow_extra system variable causes the server to write the following extra fields to FILE output in addition to those just listed (TABLE output is unaffected). Some field descriptions refer to status variable names. Consult the status variable descriptions for more information. However, in the slow query log, the counters are per-statement values, not cumulative per-session values.

  • Thread_id: ID

    The statement thread identifier.

  • Errno: error_number

    The statement error number, or 0 if no error occurred.

  • Killed: N

    If the statement was terminated, the error number indicating why, or 0 if the statement terminated normally.

  • Bytes_received: N

    The Bytes_received value for the statement.

  • Bytes_sent: N

    The Bytes_sent value for the statement.

  • Read_first: N

    The Handler_read_first value for the statement.

  • Read_last: N

    The Handler_read_last value for the statement.

  • Read_key: N

    The Handler_read_key value for the statement.

  • Read_next: N

    The Handler_read_next value for the statement.

  • Read_prev: N

    The Handler_read_prev value for the statement.

  • Read_rnd: N

    The Handler_read_rnd value for the statement.

  • Read_rnd_next: N

    The Handler_read_rnd_next value for the statement.

  • Sort_merge_passes: N

    The Sort_merge_passes value for the statement.

  • Sort_range_count: N

    The Sort_range value for the statement.

  • Sort_rows: N

    The Sort_rows value for the statement.

  • Sort_scan_count: N

    The Sort_scan value for the statement.

  • Created_tmp_disk_tables: N

    The Created_tmp_disk_tables value for the statement.

  • Created_tmp_tables: N

    The Created_tmp_tables value for the statement.

  • Start: timestamp

    The statement execution start time.

  • End: timestamp

    The statement execution end time.

A given slow query log file may contain a mix of lines with and without the extra fields added by enabling log_slow_extra. Log file analyzers can determine whether a line contains the additional fields by the field count.

Each statement written to the slow query log file is preceded by a SET statement that includes a timestamp, which indicates when the slow statement began executing.

Passwords in statements written to the slow query log are rewritten by the server not to occur literally in plain text. See Section, “Passwords and Logging”.

Statements that cannot be parsed (due, for example, to syntax errors) are not written to the slow query log.