Apache2 vhost combined log files

Recently I’ve been fighting with memory consumption on my server and have been looking for ways that I can reduce the overall load. After some research I found that Apache opens up a file descriptor for each VHosts log file, and keeps this descriptor open all the time. So when I had a bunch of sites that I didn’t mind if their log files were combined, I did some work.

I verified that first, my /etc/apache2/apache2.conf file had a CustomLog entry for vhost_combined:

LogFormat "%v:%p %h %l %u %t "%r" %>s %O "%{Referer}i" "%{User-Agent}i"" vhost_combined

Once this was confirmed I went into each of the config files in the sites-available directory and modified a single line:

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/groupofsites-access.log vhost_combined

Notice that I added that ‘vhost_combined’ to the end of this line, meaning that it will use the log format from above and for each vhost assigned to use this log file, only keep 1 file descriptor open instead of 6.

So far I’ve actually noticed a quicker response from my webserver as well as lower memory usage. Hopefully this helps you out as well!


Chris Klosowski is the Co-Lead Developer of Easy Digital Downloads. He's the founding developer of WP-Push, providing Push Notifications for WordPress as well as Post Promoter Pro, the most effective way to promote your WordPress Content. Connect with Chris on Google+, and Twitter

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Israel says:

    Good post Chris! Viva Arizona, thanx from Brussels – Belgium.

    They key has been the LogFormat line for vhost_combined in the apache2.conf file

    Now I can keep my virtualhosts in each site-available. Cheers!

  2. rater says:

    i am having the same problem but when i add your logformat code into my apache config apache wont start

    • Chris says:


      Do you have a specific error that would show up in your /var/log/messages or Apache logs?

      I’ve moved to a different configuration since this original post, but if you have specific error messages that might help you discover why this isn’t working for you.

Leave a Reply


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: