Posts Tagged ‘website programmers’

Apache disable requests to not log to access.log Logfile through SetEnvIf and dontlog httpd variables

Monday, October 11th, 2021


Logging to Apache access.log is mostly useful as this is a great way to keep log on who visited your website and generate periodic statistics with tools such as Webalizer or Astats to keep track on your visitors and generate various statistics as well as see the number of new visitors as well most visited web pages (the pages which mostly are attracting your web visitors), once the log analysis tool generates its statistics, it can help you understand better which Web spiders visit your website the most (as spiders has a predefined) IP addresses, which can give you insight on various web spider site indexation statistics on Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. . Sometimes however either due to bugs in web spiders algorithms or inconsistencies in your website structure, some of the web pages gets double visited records inside the logs, this could happen for example if your website uses to include iframes.

Having web pages accessed once but logged to be accessed twice hence is erroneous and unwanted, and though that usually have to be fixed by the website programmers, if such approach is not easily doable in the moment and the website is running on critical production system, the double logging of request can be omitted thanks to a small Apache log hack with SetEnvIf Apache config directive. Even if there is no double logging inside Apache log happening it could be that some cron job or automated monitoring scripts or tool such as monit is making periodic requests to Apache and this is garbling your Log Statistics results.

In this short article hence I'll explain how to do remove certain strings to not get logged inside /var/log/httpd/access.log.

1. Check SetEnvIf is Loaded on the Webserver

On CentOS / RHEL Linux:

# /sbin/apachectl -M |grep -i setenvif
AH00558: httpd: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using localhost.localdomain. Set the 'ServerName' directive globally to suppress this message
 setenvif_module (shared)

On Debian / Ubuntu Linux:

/usr/sbin/apache2ctl -M |grep -i setenvif
AH00548: NameVirtualHost has no effect and will be removed in the next release /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf:1
 setenvif_module (shared)

2. Using SetEnvIf to omit certain string to get logged inside apache access.log

SetEnvIf could be used either in some certain domain VirtualHost configuration (if website is configured so), or it can be set as a global Apache rule from the /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf 

To use SetEnvIf  you have to place it inside a <Directory …></Directory> configuration block, if it has to be enabled only for a Certain Apache configured directory, otherwise you have to place it in the global apache config section.

To be able to use SetEnvIf, only in a certain directories and subdirectories via .htaccess, you will have defined in <Directory>

AllowOverride FileInfo

The general syntax to omit a certain Apache repeating string from keep logging with SetEnvIf is as follows:

SetEnvIf Request_URI "^/WebSiteStructureDirectory/ACCESS_LOG_STRING_TO_REMOVE$" dontlog

General syntax for SetEnvIf is as follows:

SetEnvIf attribute regex env-variable

SetEnvIf attribute regex [!]env-variable[=value] [[!]env-variable[=value]] …

Below is the overall possible attributes to pass as described in mod_setenvif official documentation.

  • Host
  • User-Agent
  • Referer
  • Accept-Language
  • Remote_Host: the hostname (if available) of the client making the request.
  • Remote_Addr: the IP address of the client making the request.
  • Server_Addr: the IP address of the server on which the request was received (only with versions later than 2.0.43).
  • Request_Method: the name of the method being used (GET, POST, etc.).
  • Request_Protocol: the name and version of the protocol with which the request was made (e.g., "HTTP/0.9", "HTTP/1.1", etc.).
  • Request_URI: the resource requested on the HTTP request line – generally the portion of the URL following the scheme and host portion without the query string.

Next locate inside the configuration the line:

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined

To enable filtering of included strings, you'll have to append env=!dontlog to the end of line.


CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined env=!dontlog


You might be using something as cronolog for log rotation to prevent your WebServer logs to become too big in size and hard to manage, you can append env=!dontlog to it in same way.

If you haven't used cronolog is it is perhaps best to show you the package description.

server:~# apt-cache show cronolog|grep -i description -A10 -B5
Version: 1.6.2+rpk-2
Installed-Size: 63
Maintainer: Debian QA Group <>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: perl:any, libc6 (>= 2.4)
Description-en: Logfile rotator for web servers
 A simple program that reads log messages from its input and writes
 them to a set of output files, the names of which are constructed
 using template and the current date and time.  The template uses the
 same format specifiers as the Unix date command (which are the same
 as the standard C strftime library function).
 It intended to be used in conjunction with a Web server, such as
 Apache, to split the access log into daily or monthly logs:
   TransferLog "|/usr/bin/cronolog /var/log/apache/%Y/access.%Y.%m.%d.log"
 A cronosplit script is also included, to convert existing
 traditionally-rotated logs into this rotation format.

Description-md5: 4d5734e5e38bc768dcbffccd2547922f
Tag: admin::logging, devel::lang:perl, devel::library, implemented-in::c,
 implemented-in::perl, interface::commandline, role::devel-lib,
 role::program, scope::utility, suite::apache, use::organizing,
Section: web
Priority: optional
Filename: pool/main/c/cronolog/cronolog_1.6.2+rpk-2_amd64.deb
Size: 27912
MD5sum: 215a86766cc8d4434cd52432fd4f8fe7

If you're using cronolog to daily rotate the access.log and you need to filter out the strings out of the logs, you might use something like in httpd.conf:


CustomLog "|/usr/bin/cronolog –symlink=/var/log/httpd/access.log /var/log/httpd/access.log_%Y_%m_%d" combined env=!dontlog


3. Disable Apache logging access.log from certain USERAGENT browser

You can do much more with SetEnvIf for example you might want to omit logging requests from a UserAgent (browser) to end up in /dev/null (nowhere), e.g. prevent any Website requests originating from Internet Explorer (MSIE) to not be logged.

SetEnvIf User_Agent "(MSIE)" dontlog

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined env=!dontlog

4. Disable Apache logging from requests coming from certain FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) localhost or concrete IP / IPv6 address

SetEnvIf Remote_Host "$" dontlog

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined env=!dontlog

Of course for this to work, your website should have a functioning DNS servers and Apache should be configured to be able to resolve remote IPs to back resolve to their respective DNS defined Hostnames.

SetEnvIf recognized also perl PCRE Regular Expressions, if you want to filter out of Apache access log requests incoming from multiple subdomains starting with a certain domain hostname.


SetEnvIf Remote_Host "^example" dontlog

– To not log anything coming from localhost.localdomain address ( ) as well as from some concrete IP address :

SetEnvIf Remote_Addr "127\.0\.0\.1" dontlog

SetEnvIf Remote_Addr "192\.168\.1\.180" dontlog

– To disable IPv6 requests that be coming at the log even though you don't happen to use IPv6 at all

SetEnvIf Request_Addr "::1" dontlog

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined env=!dontlog

– Note here it is obligatory to escape the dots '.'

5. Disable robots.txt Web Crawlers requests from being logged in access.log

SetEnvIf Request_URI "^/robots\.txt$" dontlog

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined env=!dontlog

Using SetEnvIfNoCase to read incoming useragent / Host / file requests case insensitve

The SetEnvIfNoCase is to be used if you want to threat incoming originators strings as case insensitive, this is useful to omit extraordinary regular expression SetEnvIf rules for lower upper case symbols.

SetEnvIFNoCase User-Agent "Slurp/cat" dontlog
SetEnvIFNoCase User-Agent "Ask Jeeves/Teoma" dontlog
SetEnvIFNoCase User-Agent "Googlebot" dontlog
SetEnvIFNoCase User-Agent "bingbot" dontlog
SetEnvIFNoCase Remote_Host "$" dontlog

Omit from access.log logging some standard web files .css , .js .ico, .gif , .png and Referrals from own domain

Sometimes your own site scripts do refer to stuff on your own domain that just generates junks in the access.log to keep it off.

SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI "\.(gif)|(jpg)|(png)|(css)|(js)|(ico)|(eot)$" dontlog


SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "www\.myowndomain\.com" dontlog

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined env=!dontlog


6. Disable Apache requests in access.log and error.log completely

Sometimes at rare cases the produced Apache logs and error log is really big and you already have the requests logged in another F5 Load Balancer or Haproxy in front of Apache WebServer or alternatively the logging is not interesting at all as the Web Application served written in ( Perl / Python / Ruby ) does handle the logging itself. 
I've earlier described how this is done in a good amount of details in previous article Disable Apache access.log and error.log logging on Debian Linux and FreeBSD

To disable it you will have to comment out CustomLog or set it to together with ErrorLog to /dev/null in apache2.conf / httpd.conf (depending on the distro)

CustomLog /dev/null
ErrorLog /dev/null

7. Restart Apache WebServer to load settings

An important to mention is in case you have Webserver with multiple complex configurations and there is a specific log patterns to omit from logs it might be a very good idea to:

a. Create /etc/httpd/conf/dontlog.conf / etc/apache2/dontlog.conf
add inside all your custom dontlog configurations
b. Include dontlog.conf from /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf / /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Finally to make the changes take affect, of course you will need to restart Apache webserver depending on the distro and if it is with systemd or System V:

For systemd RPM based distro:

systemctl restart httpd

or for Deb based Debian etc.

systemctl apache2 restart

On old System V scripts systems:

On RedHat / CentOS etc. restart Apache with:

/etc/init.d/httpd restart

On Deb based SystemV:

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

What we learned ?

We have learned about SetEnvIf how it can be used to prevent certain requests strings getting logged into access.log through dontlog, how to completely stop certain browser based on a useragent from logging to the access.log as well as how to omit from logging certain requests incoming from certain IP addresses / IPv6 or FQDNs and how to stop robots.txt from being logged to httpd log.

Finally we have learned how to completely disable Apache logging if logging is handled by other external application.

How to tune MySQL Server to increase MySQL performance using and

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

MySQL Easy performance tuning with and scripts

Improving MySQL performance is crucial for improving a website responce times, reduce server load and improve overall work efficiency of a mysql database server.

I’ve seen however many Linux System administrators who does belittle or completely miss the significance of tuning a newly installed MySQL server installation.
The reason behind that is probably caused by fact that many people think MySQL config variables, would not significantly improve performance and does not pay back for optimization efforts. Moreover there are a bunch of system admins who has to take care for numerous services so they don’t have time to get good knowledge to optimize MySQL servers.
Thus many admins and webmasters nowdays, think optimizations depend mostly on the side of the website programmers.
It’s also sometimes falsely believed that optimizing a MySQL server could reduce the overall server stability.

With the boom of Internet website building and internet marketing, many webmasters emerged and almost anybody with almost no knowledge on GNU/Linux or minimal or no knowledge on PHP can start his Online store, open a blog or create a website powered by some CMS like joomla.
Thus nowdays many servers even doesn’t have a hired system administrators but are managed by people whose knowledge on *Nix is almost next to zero, this is another reason why dozens of MySQL installations online are a default ones and are not taking a good advantage of the server hardware.

The incrase of website visitors leads people servers expectations for hardware also to grow, thus many companies simply buy a new hardware instead of taking the few time to investigate on how current server hardware can be utilized better.
In that manner of thought I though it will be a good idea to write this small article on Tuning mysql servers with two scripts and
The scripts are ultra easy to use and does not require only a minimal knowledge on MySQL, Linux or (*BSD *nix if sql is running on BSD). and are therefore suitable for a quick MySQL server optimizations to even people who are no computer experts.

I use this two scripts for MySQL server optimizations on almost every new configured GNU/Linux with a MySQL backend.
Use of the script comes to simply download with wget, lynx, curl or some other web client and execute it on the server host which is already running the MySQL server.

Here is an example of how simple it is to run the scripts to Optimize MySQL:

debian:~# perl
>> MySQLTuner 1.2.0 - Major Hayden ><
>> Bug reports, feature requests, and downloads at
>> Run with '--help' for additional options and output filtering

——– General Statistics ————————————————–
[–] Skipped version check for MySQLTuner script
[OK] Currently running supported MySQL version 5.1.49-3
[OK] Operating on 64-bit architecture

——– Storage Engine Statistics ——————————————-
[–] Status: +Archive -BDB -Federated +InnoDB -ISAM -NDBCluster
[–] Data in MyISAM tables: 6G (Tables: 952)
[!!] InnoDB is enabled but isn’t being used
[!!] Total fragmented tables: 12

——– Security Recommendations ——————————————-
[OK] All database users have passwords assigned

——– Performance Metrics ————————————————-
[–] Up for: 1d 2h 3m 35s (68M q [732.193 qps], 610K conn, TX: 49B, RX: 11B)
[–] Reads / Writes: 76% / 24%
[–] Total buffers: 512.0M global + 2.8M per thread (2000 max threads)
[OK] Maximum possible memory usage: 6.0G (25% of installed RAM)
[OK] Slow queries: 0% (3K/68M)
[OK] Highest usage of available connections: 7% (159/2000)
[OK] Key buffer size / total MyISAM indexes: 230.0M/1.7G
[OK] Key buffer hit rate: 97.8% (11B cached / 257M reads)
[OK] Query cache efficiency: 76.6% (46M cached / 61M selects)
[!!] Query cache prunes per day: 1822075
[OK] Sorts requiring temporary tables: 0% (1K temp sorts / 2M sorts)
[!!] Joins performed without indexes: 63635
[OK] Temporary tables created on disk: 1% (26K on disk / 2M total)
[OK] Thread cache hit rate: 99% (159 created / 610K connections)
[!!] Table cache hit rate: 4% (1K open / 43K opened)
[OK] Open file limit used: 17% (2K/16K)
[OK] Table locks acquired immediately: 99% (36M immediate / 36M locks)

——– Recommendations —————————————————–
General recommendations:
Add skip-innodb to MySQL configuration to disable InnoDB
Run OPTIMIZE TABLE to defragment tables for better performance
Enable the slow query log to troubleshoot bad queries
Increasing the query_cache size over 128M may reduce performance
Adjust your join queries to always utilize indexes
Increase table_cache gradually to avoid file descriptor limits
Variables to adjust:
query_cache_size (> 256M) [see warning above] join_buffer_size (> 256.0K, or always use indexes with joins) table_cache (> 7200)

You see there are plenty of things, the script reports, for the unexperienced most of the information can be happily skipped without need to know the cryptic output, the section of importance here is Recommendations for some clarity, I’ve made this section to show up bold.

The most imporant things from the Recommendations script output is actually the lines who give suggestions for incrase of certain variables for MySQL.In this example case this are the last three variables:
join_buffer_size and

All of these variables are tuned from /etc/mysql/my.cnf (on Debian) and derivatives distros and from /etc/my.cnf on RHEL, CentOS, Fedora and the other RPM based Linux distributions.

On some custom server installs my.cnf is also located in /usr/local/mysql/etc/ or some other a bit more unstandard location 😉

Anyways now having the Recommendation from the script, it’s necessery to edit my.cnf and try to double the values for the suggested variables.

First, I check if all the suggested variables are existent in my config with grep , if they’re not then I’ll simply add the variable with doubled size of the suggested values.
P.S: One note here is sometimes some values which are configured, are the default value for the MySQL server and does not have a record in my.cnf

debian:~# grep -E 'query_cache_size|join_buffer_size|table_cache' /etc/mysql/my.cnf table_cache = 7200
query_cache_size = 256M
join_buffer_size = 262144

All of my variables are in the config so, now edit my.cnf and set values to:
table_cache = 14400
query_cache_size = 512M
join_buffer_size = 524288

I always, however preserve the old variable’s value, because sometimes raising the value might create problem and the MySql server might be unable to restart properly.
Thus before going with adding the new values make sure the old ones are commented with # , e.g.:
#table_cache = 7200
#query_cache_size = 256M
#join_buffer_size = 262144

I would recommend vim as editor of choice while editing my.cnf as vim completely rox 😉 If you’re not acquainted to vim use nano or mcedit or your editor of choice 😉 :

debian:~# vim /etc/mysql/my.cnf

Assuming that the changes are made, it’s time to restart MySQL to make sure the new values are read by the SQL server.

debian:~# /etc/init.d/mysql restart
* Stopping MySQL database server mysqld [ OK ]
* Starting MySQL database server mysqld [ OK ]
Checking for tables which need an upgrade, are corrupt or were not closed cleanly.

If mysql server fails, however to restart, make sure immediately you reverse back the changed variables to the commented values and restart once again via mysql init script to make server load.

Afterwards start adding the values one by one until find out which one is causing the mysqld to fail.

Now the second script ( is also really nice for MySQL performance optimizations are necessery. However it’s less portable (as it’s written in bash scripting language).
Consider running this script among different GNU/Linux distributious (especially the newer ones) might produce errors. requires some minor code changes to be able to run on FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD *nices.

The way works is precisely like , one runs it it gives some info about current running MySQL server and based on certain factors gives suggestions on how increasing or decresing certain my.cnf variables could reduce sql query bottlenecks, solve table locking issues as well as generally improve INSERT, UPDATE query times.

Here is an example output from run on another server:

server:~# wget
server:~# sh
- By: Matthew Montgomery -

MySQL Version 5.0.51a-24+lenny5 x86_64

Uptime = 8 days 10 hrs 19 min 8 sec
Avg. qps = 179
Total Questions = 130851322
Threads Connected = 1

Server has been running for over 48hrs.
It should be safe to follow these recommendations

To find out more information on how each of these
runtime variables effects performance visit:

Current long_query_time = 1 sec.
You have 16498 out of 130851322 that take longer than 1 sec. to complete
The slow query log is NOT enabled.
Your long_query_time seems to be fine

Current max_connections = 2000
Current threads_connected = 1
Historic max_used_connections = 85
The number of used connections is 4% of the configured maximum.
Your max_connections variable seems to be fine.

Current thread_cache_size = 128
Current threads_cached = 84
Current threads_per_sec = 0
Historic threads_per_sec = 0
Your thread_cache_size is fine

MEMORY USAGE line 994: let: expression expected
Max Memory Ever Allocated : 741 M
Configured Max Memory Limit : 5049 M
Total System Memory : 23640 M

Current MyISAM index space = 1646 M
Current key_buffer_size = 476 M
Key cache miss rate is 1 / 56
Key buffer fill ratio = 90.00 %
You could increase key_buffer_size
It is safe to raise this up to 1/4 of total system memory;
assuming this is a dedicated database server.

Query cache is enabled
Current query_cache_size = 64 M
Current query_cache_used = 38 M
Current Query cache fill ratio = 59.90 %

Current sort_buffer_size = 2 M
Current record/read_rnd_buffer_size = 256.00 K
Sort buffer seems to be fine

Current join_buffer_size = 128.00 K
You have had 111560 queries where a join could not use an index properly
You have had 91 joins without keys that check for key usage after each row
You should enable “log-queries-not-using-indexes”
Then look for non indexed joins in the slow query log.
If you are unable to optimize your queries you may want to increase your
join_buffer_size to accommodate larger joins in one pass.

Current table_cache value = 3600 tables
You have a total of 798 tables
You have 1904 open tables.
The table_cache value seems to be fine

Current tmp_table_size = 128 M
1% of tmp tables created were disk based
Created disk tmp tables ratio seems fine

Current read_buffer_size = 128.00 K
Current table scan ratio = 797 : 1
read_buffer_size seems to be fine

Current Lock Wait ratio = 1 : 1782
You may benefit from selective use of InnoDB.

As seen from script output, there are certain variables which might be increased a bit for better SQL performance, one such variable as suggested is key_buffer_size(You could increase key_buffer_size)

Now the steps to make the tunings to my.cnf are precisely the same as with, e.g.:
1. Preserve old config variables which will be changed by commenting them
2. Double value of current variables in my.cnf suggested by script
3. Restart Mysql server via /etc/init.d/mysql restart cmd.
4. If mysql runs fine monitor mysql performance with mtop or mytop for at least 15 mins / half an hour.

if all is fine run once again the tuning scripts to see if there are no further improvement suggestions, if there are more follow the 4 steps described procedure once again.

It’s also a good idea that these scripts are periodically re-run on the server like once per few months as changes in SQL queries amounts and types will require changes in MySQL operational variables.
The authors of these nice scripts has done great job and have saved us a tons of nerves time, downtimes and money spend on meaningless hardware. So big thanks for the awesome scripts guys 😉
Finally after hopefully succesful deployment of changes, enjoy the incresed SQL server performance 😉