rsyslog Cookbook

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Installs and configures rsyslog to replace syslogd for client and/or server use. By default, the service will be configured to log to files on local disk. See the Recipes and Examples sections for other uses.


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  • CentOS 7+ (incl. Rocky & Alma)
  • Debian 10+
  • Fedora
  • OpenSUSE Leap
  • SmartOS / OmniOS
  • Ubuntu 18.04+


  • Chef 15.3+


To use the recipe[rsyslog::client] recipe, you'll need to set up the rsyslog.server_search or rsyslog.server_ip attributes. See the Recipes and Examples sections below.


See attributes/default.rb for default values.

  • node['rsyslog']['log_dir'] - If the node is an rsyslog server, this specifies the directory where the logs should be stored.
  • node['rsyslog']['working_dir'] - The temporary working directory where messages are buffered
  • node['rsyslog']['working_dir_mode'] - The temporary working directory access mode
  • node['rsyslog']['server'] - Determined automatically and set to true on the server.
  • node['rsyslog']['server_ip'] - If not defined then search will be used to determine rsyslog server. Default is nil. This can be a string or an array.
  • node['rsyslog']['server_search'] - Specify the criteria for the server search operation. Default is role:loghost.
  • node['rsyslog']['protocol'] - Specify whether to use udp or tcp for remote loghost. Default is tcp. To use both specify both in a string e.g. 'udptcp'.
  • node['rsyslog']['bind'] - Specify the address to which the server should be listening; only use with node['rsyslog']['protocol'] = 'udp' because the feature does not work with the tcp protocol (more info (opens in a new tab)).
  • node['rsyslog']['port'] - Specify the port which rsyslog should connect to a remote loghost.
  • node['rsyslog']['remote_logs'] - Specify whether to send all logs to a remote server (client option). Default is true.
  • node['rsyslog']['per_host_dir'] - "PerHost" directories for template statements in 35-server-per-host.conf. Default value is the previous cookbook version's value, to preserve compatibility. See server recipe below.
  • node['rsyslog']['priv_seperation'] - Whether to use privilege separation or not.
  • node['rsyslog']['priv_user'] - User to run as when using privilege separation. Defult is node['rsyslog']['user']
  • node['rsyslog']['priv_group'] - Group to run as when using privilege separation. Defult is node['rsyslog']['group']
  • node['rsyslog']['max_message_size'] - Specify the maximum allowed message size. Default is 2k. Specifying 'nil' or 'false' will not generate the associated directive in the configuration at all.
  • node['rsyslog']['user'] - Who should own the configuration files and directories
  • node['rsyslog']['group'] - Who should group-own the configuration files and directories
  • node['rsyslog']['dir_owner'] - Who should own the log directories
  • node['rsyslog']['dir_group'] - Who should group-own the log directories
  • node['rsyslog']['config_dir']['mode'] - Mode that should be set when creating the configuration directory
  • node['rsyslog']['file_create_mode'] - Mode that should be set when creating log files
  • node['rsyslog']['dir_create_mode'] - Mode that should be set when creating log directories
  • node['rsyslog']['umask'] - Specify the processes umask
  • node['rsyslog']['defaults_file'] - The full path to the defaults/sysconfig file for the service.
  • node['rsyslog']['package_name'] - Specify rsyslog package name
  • node['rsyslog']['service_name'] - The platform-specific name of the service
  • node['rsyslog']['preserve_fqdn'] - Value of the $PreserveFQDN configuration directive in /etc/rsyslog.conf. Default is 'off' for compatibility purposes.
  • node['rsyslog']['high_precision_timestamps'] - Enable high precision timestamps, instead of the "old style" format. Default is 'false'.
  • node['rsyslog']['repeated_msg_reduction'] - Value of $RepeatedMsgReduction configuration directive in /etc/rsyslog.conf. Default is 'on'
  • node['rsyslog']['logs_to_forward'] - Specifies what logs should be sent to the remote rsyslog server. Default is all ( . ).
  • node['rsyslog']['default_log_dir'] - log directory used in 50-default.conf template, defaults to /var/log
  • node['rsyslog']['default_facility_logs'] - Hash containing log facilities and destinations used in 50-default.conf template.
  • node['rsyslog']['default_file_template'] - The name of a pre-defined log format template (ie - RSYSLOG_FileFormat), used for local log files.
  • node['rsyslog']['default_remote_template'] - The name of a pre-defined log format template (ie - RSYSLOG_FileFormat), used for sending to remote servers.
  • node['rsyslog']['templates'] - Allows a user to specify a dynamic filename and the format of the logs
  • node['rsyslog']['rate_limit_interval'] - Value of the $SystemLogRateLimitInterval configuration directive in /etc/rsyslog.conf. Default is nil, leaving it to the platform default.
  • node['rsyslog']['rate_limit_burst'] - Value of the $SystemLogRateLimitBurst configuration directive in /etc/rsyslog.conf. Default is nil, leaving it to the platform default.
  • node['rsyslog']['action_queue_max_disk_space'] - Max amount of disk space the disk-assisted queue is allowed to use (more info (opens in a new tab)).
  • node['rsyslog']['enable_tls'] - Whether or not to enable TLS encryption. When enabled, forces protocol to tcp. Default is false.
  • node['rsyslog']['tls_driver'] - Defaults to ossl.
  • node['rsyslog']['tls_ca_file'] - Path to TLS CA file. Required for both server and clients.
  • node['rsyslog']['tls_certificate_file'] - Path to TLS certificate file. Required for server, optional for clients.
  • node['rsyslog']['tls_key_file'] - Path to TLS key file. Required for server, optional for clients.
  • node['rsyslog']['tls_auth_mode'] - Value for $InputTCPServerStreamDriverAuthMode/$ActionSendStreamDriverAuthMode, determines whether client certs are validated. Defaults to anon (no validation).
  • node['rsyslog']['tls_permitted_peer'] - Value for ActionSendStreamDriverPermittedPeer, it narrows the list of the allowed hosts. Works with TLS only. Defaults to nil.
  • node['rsyslog']['use_local_ipv4'] - Whether or not to make use the remote local IPv4 address on cloud systems when searching for servers (where available). Default is 'false'.
  • node['rsyslog']['allow_non_local'] - Whether or not to allow non-local messages. If 'false', incoming messages are only allowed from Default is 'false'.
  • node['rsyslog']['custom_remote'] - Array of hashes for configuring custom remote server targets
  • node['rsyslog']['additional_directives'] - Hash of additional directives and their values to place in the main rsyslog config file
  • node['rsyslog']['local_host_name'] - permits to overwrite the system hostname with the one specified in the directive
  • node['rsyslog']['default_conf_file'] - If false it skips the creation of default configuration file 50-default.conf
  • node['rsyslog']['server_per_host_template'] - Template to use in the rsyslog::server recipe when creating the 35-server-per-host.conf file
  • node['rsyslog']['server_per_host_cookbook'] - Cookbook name to get the node['rsyslog']['server_per_host_template'] template from
  • node['rsyslog']['imfile']['KEY'] - Set imfile module parameters of label KEY to value. e.g. PollingInterval. Consult rsyslog documentation for valid entries.



Installs the rsyslog package, manages the rsyslog service and sets up basic configuration for a standalone machine.


Includes recipe[rsyslog].

Uses node['rsyslog']['server_ip'] or Chef search (in that precedence order) to determine the remote syslog server's IP address. If search is used, the search query will look for the first ipaddress returned from the criteria specified in node['rsyslog']['server_search'].

You can use node['rsyslog']['custom_config'] to define custom entries for sending logs to remote servers. Available attributes:

    'server': Ip/hostname of remote syslog server (Required)
    'port': Port to send logs to
    'logs': Syslog log facilities to send (auth, authpriv, daemon, etc)
    'protocol': Can be tcp or udp
    'remote_template': Rsyslog template used for the messages


node['rsyslog']['custom_remote'] = [
  { 'server' => '', 'port' => '567', 'logs' => 'auth.*,mail.*', 'protocol' => 'udp', 'remote_template' => 'RSYSLOG_SyslogProtocol23Format'},
  { 'server' => '', 'port' => '555', 'logs' => 'authpriv,daemon.*' }

The server key is required; if other keys are left out, the default global values will be used (eg node['rsyslog']['port'] will be used if 'port' is omitted)

If the node itself is a rsyslog server ie it has rsyslog.server set to true then the configuration is skipped.

If the node had an /etc/rsyslog.d/35-server-per-host.conf file previously configured, this file gets removed to prevent duplicate logging.

Any previous logs are not cleaned up from the log_dir.


Configures the node to be a rsyslog server. The chosen rsyslog server node should be defined in the server_ip attribute or resolvable by the specified search criteria specified in node['rsyslog']['server_search] (so that nodes making use of the client recipe can find the server to log to).

The server recipe will create the logs in attribute node['rsyslog']['log_dir'], and the configuration in /etc/rsyslog.d/server.conf. This recipe also removes any previous configuration to a remote server by removing the file /etc/rsyslog.d/49-remote.conf.

The cron job used in the previous version of this cookbook is removed, but it does not remove any existing cron job from your system (so it doesn't break anything unexpectedly). We recommend setting up logrotate for the logfiles instead.

The log_dir will be concatenated with per_host_dir to store the logs for each client. Modify the attribute to have a value that is allowed by rsyslogs template matching values, see the rsyslog documentation for this.

Directory structure:

<%= @log_dir %>/<%= @per_host_dir %>/"logfile"

For example for the system with hostname www:


For example, to change this to just the hostname, set the attribute node['rsyslog']['per_host_dir'] via a role:

"rsyslog" => { "per_host_dir" => "%HOSTNAME%" }

At this time, the server can only listen on UDP or TCP.



Configures a text file input monitor (opens in a new tab) to push a log file into rsyslog. Rsyslog must be installed to use this custom resource either using your own wrapper cookbook or the rsyslog::default recipe.


  • name: name of the resource, also used for the syslog tag. Required.
  • file: file path for input file to monitor. Required.
  • priority: config order priority. Defaults to 99.
  • severity: syslog severity. Must be one of emergency, alert, critical, error, warning, notice, info or debug. If undefined, rsyslog interprets this as notice.
  • facility: syslog facility. Must be one of auth, authpriv, daemon, cron, ftp, lpr, kern, mail, news, syslog, user, uucp, local0, ... , local7. If undefined, rsyslog interprets this as local0.
  • cookbook_source: cookbook containing the template. Defaults to rsyslog.
  • template_source: template file source. Defaults to file-input.conf.erb


Use recipe[rsyslog] to install and start rsyslog as a basic configured service for standalone systems.

Use recipe[rsyslog::client] to have nodes log to a remote server (which is found via the server_ip attribute or by the recipe's search call -- see client)

Use recipe[rsyslog::server] to set up a rsyslog server. It will listen on node['rsyslog']['port'] protocol node['rsyslog']['protocol'].

If you set up a different kind of centralized loghost (syslog-ng, graylog2, logstash, etc), you can still send log messages to it as long as the port and protocol match up with the server software. See Examples

Use rsyslog_file_input within your recipes to forward log files to your remote syslog server.


A base role (e.g., roles/base.rb), applied to all nodes so they are syslog clients:

name "base"
description "Base role applied to all nodes"

Then, a role for the loghost (should only be one):

name "loghost"
description "Central syslog server"

By default this will set up the clients search for a node with the loghost role to talk to the server on TCP port 514. Change the protocol and port rsyslog attributes to modify this.

If you want to specify another syslog compatible server with a role other than loghost, simply fill free to use the server_ip attribute or the server_search attribute.

Example role that sets the per host directory:

name "loghost"
description "Central syslog server"
  "rsyslog" => { "per_host_dir" => "%HOSTNAME%" }

Default rsyslog options are rendered for RHEL family platforms, in /etc/rsyslog.d/50-default.conf with other platforms using a configuration like Debian family defaults. You can override these log facilities and destinations using the rsyslog['default_facility_logs'] hash.

name "facility_log_example"
  "rsyslog" => {
    "default_facility_logs" => {
      '*.info;mail.none;authpriv.none;cron.none' => "/var/log/messages",
      'authpriv' => '/var/log/secure',
      'mail.*' => '-/var/log/maillog',
      '*.emerg' => '*'


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